Beckford, Doyley in 24-man Reggae Boyz squad
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Jermaine Beckford of Huddersfield Town and Lloyd Doyley of Watford FC in England have been named in a 24-man Reggae Boyz squad for Jamaica men senior football team for upcoming World Cup Qualifying games against Panama and Costa Rica.
Beckford could finally make his international debut after missing the opening game against Mexico in the CONCACAF final last month. The Huddersfield striker pulled out because of an injury sustained in a league game, after being named for the Mexico match. The 29-year-old England-born player is on loan from Leicester City.
Doyley, a 30 year-old defender who is capable of playing in any position in defence, is also in line for his first international cap. He is the longest-serving current player for Watford Football Club. Doyley is expected to play in the right back position.
Also named in the 24-man squad is Jamaica's all-time leading goalscorer Luton Shelton, who also missed the game against Mexico due to an injury. Shelton, who plays as a striker or winger for Turkish club Karabukspor, has scored 36 times for the Reggae Boyz in 70 games since making his debut in 2004.
After that historic 0-0 scoreline at the feared Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, the Jamaican team will now focus its attention on the next game against Panama on Friday, March 22 at the National Stadium, starting at 8:30 p.m. Then four days later, they will face Costa Rica away in the third of 10 games in the final-round qualifying.
"Our next two games are indeed our focus. We will take it one game at a time and do all we can to pick up as many points as we can. Our eyes are fixed on Panama, it will be very tough, but so is life. We respect every team in the campaign, but we have confidence in our ability to achieve our goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," Theodore Whitmore, national senior team coach, told the gathering at a press conference yesterday at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) office in New Kingston.
With regard to the 24-man squad called for the next two games in the CONCACAF WCQ, Whitmore said: "We have 24 players and each player has a chance to be included in the starting line-up. We (the coaching staff) will come up with the best possible 11 from the group selected."
Whitmore also lauded the sponsors for their support.
"As a player, I am very cognisant of the role that sponsors play. Their contribution serves as a source of inspiration for the team," he said.
"With this in mind, the mandate is to arrive in Brazil in 2014 for the World Cup finals. Whatever difference of opinion we have at the moment is not significant enough to distract us from the mission."
Among the sponsors of the programme are Digicel, Kappa, Stewart's Auto, Courts, Coca-Cola, Wata, Bigga, and others.
The full squad is: Donovan Ricketts, Dwayne Miller, Duwayne Kerr, Jermaine Taylor, Nyron Nosworthy, Adrian Mariappa, Omar Daley, Demar Phillips, Rodolph Austin, Marvin Elliott, Lloyd Doyley, Dane Richards, Joel McAnuff, Jermaine Johnson, Garath McCleary, Theo Robinson, Je-Vaughn Watson, Tramaine Stewart, Ryan Johnson, Jermaine Beckford, Luton Shelton. Alvas Powell, André Lewis and Jermaine Hue.
Tickets for the game on March 22 will cost $1,500 to enter the bleachers, while grandstand category one will be $5,500 and for category two the price is $4,500 per person.
Meanwhile, a charter flight will leave for the game in Costa Rica on March 23 and return immediately after the game on March 26. The package will cost between US$1,500 and $1,700.