'I didn't understand it' - West Ham star Antonio was left confused by JFF snub in 2012

By Sports Desk December 29, 2021

West Ham striker Michail Antonio was eager to represent Jamaica’s national team almost a decade ago but was overlooked for players in England football’s lower leagues.

Earlier this year, the England-born player was approached by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), regarding the prospect of representing the Caribbean nation, and agreed to switch nationalities.  Antonio qualifies to represent Jamaica, as both his parents were born on the island.

The striker, now 31, has confirmed, however, that it was not the country’s first attempt to recruit him and that he had in fact been contacted by the JFF while playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 2012.

“When I was 22, the manager of the Reggae Boyz, I can’t remember the name of him, came to Sheffield Wednesday to speak to players saying, ‘would you want to play for Jamaica?’ I said yes, I will come and play 100 percent,” Antonio said during an interview with Sport Bible.

“He said ok, I’ll give you a call, give you some information, bla, bla, bla.  He came and watched me play against Leeds that weekend.  I’m a very honest person, I had a stinker and I’m not going to lie, but I was an established Championship player.  I played in the Championship from 19 through to 25.  The next international break they were calling up players from League One and League 2, wingers, over me, which I didn’t understand,” he added.

In 2012, then president of the JFF captain Horace Burrell travelled to England along with head coach Theodore Whitmore and assistant coach Alfredo Montesso on a scouting mission to recruit players of Jamaican heritage.  Interestingly, Antonio played under Whitmore earlier this year, before the coach was fired in November.  

The player also dismissed reports that he was approached by the federation three years later while playing for Nottingham Forrest.  Insisting that neither he nor his agent ever received an offer at that point, despite claims to the contrary.

Antonio has been an instant hit since donning the country’s national colours, scoring twice in three games, which includes a 30-yard belter against the United States.  Despite the move coming late on in his career and leaving the England national team selection pool, he insists there are no regrets.

“It got to a stage where I just thought, ‘I'm not going to get called up’. I didn’t believe I was going to get the call.  There's loads of quality young strikers out there, he’s trying to build a team for the future. And that Tammy Abraham is young, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is young and Harry Kane is still quite young,” he added.

 “My mum was born in Jamaica and my dad was born in Jamaica. I went to Jamaica all the time when I was younger.  Why not try and see if we can get Jamaica to a World Cup after they’ve not been there for 20 years.

“No regrets whatsoever, I'm enjoying my football with them. And the difference with Jamaica, with England they got to the Euros final and stuff like that but with Jamaica, every achievement is a massive achievement.”  

Related items

  • 'Girlz held hostage?' - Former national coach Blaine believes program beholden to outside benefactors 'Girlz held hostage?' - Former national coach Blaine believes program beholden to outside benefactors

    Former Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine has expressed concern that the women’s national program is heavily beholden to an outside benefactor.

    Earlier this week, Blaine stepped down from the post after just six months in charge of the national team.  During his tenure at the helm, the coach found himself at loggerheads with members of the national team, 19 of whom had sent and signed a letter to the JFF questioning the coach’s training methods.

    Blaine, however, continues to believe the players were influenced by external forces who will continue to hold plenty of sway with both a large swath of the team’s senior players and the federation itself.

    “A lot of people might not want me to say it but definitely that’s what it is,” Blaine told the SportMax Zone,  when asked whether he thought the national program was being held, hostage.

    “That’s from my perspective and that’s one of the reasons I decided to part ways and let them have the program.  Hopefully, I wish them all the best.  I hold no ill will towards anyone,” he added.

    “It’s my country but it’s just that at this moment I have decided that this is what is best for me and the program.”

    The JFF will now begin the search for a new head coach, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in July.

     

     

  • Valencia report death threats made to president Murthy to police Valencia report death threats made to president Murthy to police

    Valencia have reported death threats made to president Anil Murthy to the police.

    Murthy, members of his family and employees at the LaLiga club have also been targeted by fans.

    Valencia revealed back in October 2019 that the club had informed police of death threats made to Murthy.

    With Jose Bordalas' side 11th in LaLiga and losing to Real Betis on penalties in the Copa del Rey final, supporters are alleged to have crossed the line again.

    A club statement said: "Valencia CF, through the club's legal services, are compiling all death threats, insults and other actions against president Anil Murthy, his relatives and club employees.

    "This Wednesday morning, these actions have been reported to the police, and in the coming days an update of the complaint will be carried out, including reporting demonstrations of hatred and threats of acts of violence carried out on social networks.

    "This type of behaviour is not acceptable in society, it does not represent any of the values of Valencia CF and may lead to legal consequences."

    The club earlier this month called on their supporters to respect Bordalas as they condemned "the harassment" of the coach and his players.

    Bordalas was appointed as Valencia before the start of the 2021-22 campaign, just two days after departing Getafe following a successful five-season spell.

    The 58-year-old was chosen by Valencia owner Peter Lim as the successor to Javi Gracia, who became the 11th coach to leave the club in the past nine years.

  • Tuchel confirms Christensen opted out of FA Cup final for 'private' reasons Tuchel confirms Christensen opted out of FA Cup final for 'private' reasons

    Thomas Tuchel has no idea if Andreas Christensen will play for Chelsea again after the defender ruled himself out of the FA Cup final for "private" reasons.

    Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

    The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

    Blues boss Tuchel on Wednesday confirmed the centre-back told him he was unavailable on the morning of the game.

    Tuchel is unsure if Christensen will play in the London club's two remaining Premier League games against Leicester City on Thursday and Watford three days later, as they strive to secure third place. 

    Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

    "Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

    "He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

    "We thought that we are in a good progression and good development because he played very strong in the match before the final against Leeds but the conversation took place and we have to respect it and we of course respected it and he has our support.

    "It is unlikely for the weekend, it was on very short notice before the cup final and other matches in the weeks before. So no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow and the weekend."

    Timo Werner will miss the clash with Leicester due to a thigh injury, while Kai Havertz also has a thigh problem and will be monitored ahead of the game.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.