Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Despite failing to net his two big targets in Marlon King and Raheem Sterling, Jamaica Football Federation president, Captain Horace Burrell, is promising the announcement of at least six "exciting players" upon his return to the island on Sunday.
Burrell, along with head coach Theodore Whitmore and assistant coach Alfredo Montesso, left the island on November 1 to try and convince King to rejoin the programme and Sterling to opt for the country of his birth over England.
King has, however, retired from international football, while Burrell has given up on Sterling after being informed by England manager, Roy Hodgson, that the 17-year-old is a part of England's plans. Sterling, on Wednesday, earned his first England cap, making his debut in a friendly international against Sweden.
"I have made contact and we got at least six exciting players - five that ply their trade in England and one that plays in another European country," Burrell disclosed to The Gleaner. "I am currently in London continuing to tie up the finer details with agents and these new players."
While Burrell and his senior coaching staff were busy seeking to bring new players to the programme, at least two of the teams that the country will compete with for a place at the 2014 World Cup were involved in high-profile friendlies. On Wednesday, the United States played to a 2-2 away draw against ninth-ranked FIFA team Russia, while Panama lost at home 5-1 to world number one, Spain.
STRAPPED FOR CASH
"Panama had to put up millions of US dollars to get a game against Spain, so let's get real, Jamaica does not have that kind of money," Burrell said. "So unless we are able to come up with millions, we won't be able to host the likes of Spain. If we had finances, we would definitely be playing in Kingston, but we don't have the kind of money, so we just have to work within our means."
Burrell believes Jamaica is among the poorest of the six teams in the final stage of qualifying in CONCACAF, and reiterated the need for the various stakeholders to come on board if the team is to realise its dream of qualifying for football's greatest stage.
"I am calling on corporate Jamaica, as well as all of our stakeholders, to join hands with the federation and help," said. "We are going to rely on corporate Jamaica, the Government and the fans to help support the programme or it will not work, because we are at a serious disadvantage financially."