JFF hunting matches for Boyz
General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, says that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still targeting at least one friendly international for the senior men’s team in the available...
General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, says that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still targeting at least one friendly international for the senior men’s team in the available windows before Jamaica’s two major assignments this year, the Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.
The Reggae Boyz last played in November in a two-game international series against Saudi Arabia, with the majority of the team comprising overseas-based players. The JFF has, however, been in discussions for the next international window, which is next month.
Wint confirmed that the Catalonia friendly that they have been hoping would take place since last year is off as well as a potential game in Bermuda as they are awaiting official approval from the Ministry of Sport to resume group training at the University of West Indies/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.
Nevertheless, he expects that the federation will be able to tentatively name an opponent shortly.
“The Catalonia friendly will not happen. I can say that definitively, but the Bermuda game has to be put off because we are still awaiting the approval for the camp situation, and we can’t go into that game unprepared,” Wint told The Gleaner. “[But] we will definitely be announcing a name at least by the end of the week.”
MUST FOLLOW PROTOCOL
The camp, which was convened in January for local players, drew the ire of health officials and Sport Minister Olivia Grange, who said that the get-together had not been authorised by her office and must follow the process outlined by the Government regarding the restarting of sporting activities.
March and June are the only windows available to Jamaica to stage friendly matches before the Gold Cup, which is scheduled for July and the final round of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which start in September.
Wint says that the federation is likely to play overseas again because of the evolving health situation at home but hopes to have at least one match per window.
“The protocols now as it stands is difficult to get games here in Jamaica. So our next bet is to look at games overseas, but what we are committed to doing is to ensure that we have at least one match in all of the windows that we have available to us,” Wint said.
Meanwhile, former national assistant coach Bradley Stewart says that the challenge for the administration is to be able to book solid opposition for the team as well as navigate the respective restrictions in place.
However, he says that it is imperative that Jamaica not go into the final round of qualifiers unprepared.
“Let’s hope something can work for us because we can’t go into a World Cup qualification without adequate preparation. That’s a no-no at this stage of our development,” Stewart said.