Thu | Dec 3, 2020

JFF outlines Saudi safety plan - ... Multiple COVID-19 tests for Boyz ahead of back-to-back friendlies

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2020 | 2:31 PMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Wint
Wint
Reggae Boyz striker Leon Bailey (left) celebrates with  Devon Williams (partially hidden) and Shamar Nicholson during Jamaica’s Concacaf Nations League match against Antigua and Barbuda at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Friday, September 6, 2019. Jama
Reggae Boyz striker Leon Bailey (left) celebrates with Devon Williams (partially hidden) and Shamar Nicholson during Jamaica’s Concacaf Nations League match against Antigua and Barbuda at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Friday, September 6, 2019. Jamaica won 6-0.
1
2

General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Dalton Wint says that the members of the Reggae Boyz contingent to next month’s two friendly internationals against Saudi Arabia will be subjected to COVID-19 tests before their departure for the assignments.

Both matches will take place at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 14 and November 17.

Wint, who told The Gleaner that the local-based members of the travelling party would be tested at least three times prior to their departure for Saudi Arabia, made the revelation after Reggae Boyz captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake expressed concerns over international travel during the current health crisis.

“They all have to be tested before we depart the island,” said Wint. “The local players will be tested before they go into camp, and they will be tested during camp, and they will be tested within three days of leaving Jamaica for Saudi Arabia.”

“This will be excellent for us because we want to ensure that all our players will be going there with a clean bill of health,” Wint added.

As for the overseas-based players, Wint underscored that their clubs would be asked to provide the JFF with their latest COVID-19 test results prior to their selection to the team.

“Their club will have to provide us with the scope of their testing within this period, but we know that they are tested regularly,” he said.

“This makes us very happy that we will be able to get through this and to kick-start our (World Cup) campaign and to show the world that we are ready for this and to show that we can co-exist in this pandemic,” Wint said.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE

He emphasised that the testing of the players and technical staff is going to cost the federation a great deal of money, but despite this, they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the players are fit and healthy to compete at the highest level.

“It is severe times now because it is not business as usual, and so it is going to cost us some money for everyone to do the test, but we haven’t worked out the amount of money it would cost. This is something new for them, but like I have said before, this is an official kick-off for the campaign, and so this is one of the ways in which we are moving forward,” he said.

Sports medicine specialist Dr Paul Wright welcomed the JFF’s plans to test the players multiple times before their departure for the Asian continent, describing it is as an excellent move by the federation.

“I think this is a good move by the JFF, but everybody is going to still be nervous about this thing (COVID-19) because you are going to be travelling with people who you don’t know their status, and the only way you can avoid this is unless you are travelling in a private plane,” he said.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com