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Nicholson to miss upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Published:Friday | January 14, 2022 | 12:09 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer

National striker Shamar Nicholson could be absent from the Reggae Boyz’s squad for the next three Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.

The Gleaner has been reliably informed that Nicholson has turned down the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) call-up for World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica.

The Reggae Boyz will face the Mexicans on January 27 at the National Stadium before tackling hosts Panama three days later in Panama City.

They will round out their three-match series in the next international break against Costa Rica, on February 2 at the National Stadium.

It is understood that Nicholson turned down the JFF’s invitation because he needed more time to settle in at his new club Spartak Moscow in Russia, following his move from Belgian club Charleroi earlier this month.

Spartak Moscow are currently ninth in the Russian Premier League, with 23 points from 18 games.

When contacted, Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson said he will not be commenting on the matter and calls to JFF’s General Secretary Dalton Wint on his mobile phone went unanswered.

The 24-year-old Nicholson, who last represented the Reggae Boyz in November against the United States, has scored 29 goals in 29 appearances for the national team.

He is the joint leading scorer for Jamaica in the World Cup qualifiers. Nicholson and Michail Antonio have scored two goals each.

It is also understood midfielder Kaheem Parris, who plies his trade in Slovenia for FC Koper, has turned down the JFF’s invitation to represent the country in their friendly international against Peru on January 20.

Parris, 22, who is a former Dinthill Technical High School and Cavalier player, has scored five goals in 14 appearances for Koper this season. He has made four appearances for the Reggae Boyz so far.

The Reggae Boyz are currently sixth in the Concacaf eight-team final round, with seven points from eight matches.

When contacted yesterday, Kevin Cowan, who is the agent for both players, said he was in a meeting.

The table is led by Canada on 16 points, with the United States next on 15 while Mexico and Panama round out the top four with 14 points each. Costa Rica are just ahead of the Reggae Boyz on nine points.

The top three countries from Concacaf qualify automatically to the FIFA World Cup. The fourth-placed country will enter a play-off for the final berth.