The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has hailed former national striker for being a man that played the sport played the sport with his heart and soul and one that has gone too soon.

Shelton, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2018, died on Friday after being found unresponsive at his home.  He was 35-year-old.

Shelton, who was a prolific goal scorer for the country’s national team, holds the record for the most goals after registering 35 goals in 75 appearances.  32 of his goals came in matches that the team won. The deceased player began his career for the national team against Saint-Martin in 2005 and created history by being the first man to score four goals on debut.  His final goal for Jamaica came against Guatemala in 2012.

 “Shelton was a goalscorer of repute on who Jamaica depended on for many victories,” the release read.

“The Jamaica Football Federation like the rest of the country was saddened when he was diagnosed with ALS and many hoped and prayed for a miraculous recovery. He played with his heart and soul for Jamaica as well as for his school and clubs and he will always be remembered for that.

The JFF extends heartfelt condolences to his family and to the KSAFA family in this difficult time.”

Reggae Boyz manager Roy Simpson is to meet with representatives with midfielder Ravel Morrison after the player’s recent departure from Dutch club ADO Den Haag by mutual consent.

General secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, has claimed the unusual situations emanating from the coronavirus pandemic complicated the association’s planning efforts for the recent tour of Saudi Arabia.

The JFF came under heavy criticism from head coach Theodore Whitmore, team captain Damion Lowe and a host of others for a wide range of issues that occured on the team’s middle east tour.  Some of the problems included the unavailability of players due to coronavirus testing, unpaid match fees, and incorrect seat bookings.

In arguing the JFF’s case, however, Wint pointed to the peculiarity of the current situation surrounding travel and restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

“We thought we were at a stage to have the proposals signed, but unfortunately they came back with some concerns.  I think some part of it was reasonable because they were going into an environment which was not a usual situation, where the match fees that we generally agree to we did not agree to because the fact is that we were going into Saudi Arabia during the COVID pandemic, which put another spin on the issue,” Wint said in a recent interview with the SportsMax Zone.

While insisting he understood the coach's situation, with not having some key members of the team available in time for the first match, Wint pointed out that in some regards the JFF was in uncharted territory.

“During the time of COVID, it’s not a perfect situation.  You are encounter things you never encountered before.  The fact is that we had players reaching days late, because of the fact that flights had to be changed, they had to re-do their COVID tests and all different issues because borders were closed left right and centre."

The Jamaica national team lost the first game 3-0, before rebounding with a 2-1 win in the second.

The Covid-19 virus continues to sweep through the Reggae Boyz camp in Saudi Arabia as the the Jamaica Football Federation is reporting that a member of the administrative staff has tested positive for the virus.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. A disappointing start for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz both on and off the field!

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were poor in their first international match since the Covid-19 lockdown and it ended in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday. It is evident that off-the-field issues has seeped onto the field with the number of careless errors displayed in the match.

 Prior to the first friendly, Covid-19 infections within the Reggae Boyz delegation were a huge blow to the Theodore Whitmore-coached squad.  In addition to 30-year-old goalkeeper Dennis Taylor, who was travelling with the Reggae Boyz delegation testing positive for the virus while en route to Riyadh, another player and a member of the Jamaica Football Federation administration fell victim to the disease. In addition, two other players are under investigation with the JFF declining to name them.

The Reggae Boyz, who were on course to be the top team in the Caribbean, will need to get their act together very quickly as these matches could have influence their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup showing set for July 10 to August 1, 2021.

Prior to this 3-0 loss, it had been eight months since they last played an international match. Despite their inactivity, they remained at number 48 in the FIFA world rankings, even displacing Costa Rica at number 3 on the CONCACAF list. 

The Reggae Boyz looked out of sorts due to their preparation being hampered by the coronavirus. Without a doubt, there are top individual performers within the Jamaican team. However, football is a team sport and the success of the squad lies in whether or not Coach Whitmore can get each player to combine well with his teammates. It is not too late for the Reggae Boyz but they have work to do!

 

 

  1. Paternity leave for professional athletes? A step in the right direction.

India’s captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anuskha Sharma are expecting their first child and Kohli has asked for and been granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said the 32-year-old middle order batsman has been cleared to leave the India setup after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December. Although the skipper’s presence will be missed on the field, Kohli’s decision to be with his family increases my respect for him as a person.

 

Australia’s Head Coach Justin Langer praised Kohli’s decision.

 

“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields. I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision to return to India for the birth of his child,” Langer said.

“He’s human being like all of us. If I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do.”

 Paternity leave for professional athletes should be legislated and normalized. Once the government can create a formula within reason that avoids abuse of the system, paternity leave can be an asset. It will allow fathers to be present for the birth of their children while simultaneously providing support for the child’s mother. In the long term, it can also play a key role in the quality of families that are raised.

Policies that ensure fathers have the support they need to prioritize their family responsibilities, while also meeting work demands, can significantly increase the personal and economic well-being of their families. Paternity leave can promote parent-child bonding, improve outcomes for children, and even increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.

 

  1. A good call by Windies selectors to allow Kraigg Brathwaite to focus on his game.

 

West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper said stripping Kraigg Brathwaite of the team’s vice captaincy will allow him to concentrate on improving his batting. Brathwaite was first appointed Test vice-captain in 2015 but has averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series. Roston Chase has been appointed vice captain.

This is a good move by those leading the charge as it allows the 27-year-old to simply buckle down and get to work.

The Barbadian has had his fair share of struggles. His last Test century came against Bangladesh in Kingston two years ago and since then his game has been inconsistent. Before the Test series against England in July, Brathwaite played 20 innings without making a Test 50. In that time, he only scored 233 runs at an average of 12.26.

 Earlier this year, he showed signs of improvement with half-centuries in the first Test against England when he scored 65, and in the second test with 75. Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19.
 Like Roger Harper, I am hoping removing the additional responsibilty will allow Brathwaite to be more consistent.

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz showed plenty of rust in a difficult return to international football, with a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday.

The game was the first for the national team since COVID-19 restrictions led to the temporary stoppage of international football.  The team, for the most part, seemed largely out of sorts.

The dominant hosts took the lead from the penalty spot in the 10th minute, after Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller coughed a poorly taken attempt back in the path of Salem Al-Dawsari who tucked the ball into the net the second time of asking.

More self-inflicted damage came on the stroke of halftime, after an under hit back pass eventually ended up at the feet of Saleh Al-Shehri who beat a backpedaling defense before slotting past Miller in the 44th minute.

Firas Al-Buraikan added to the Jamaicans misery in the 77th minute when he tapped the ball into an empty net.  Another turnover in midfield led to a backpedaling Jamaica backline once again being unable to deal with a counter attacking Saudi Arabia. 

Prior to that moment, the level of the team’s play had gone up a notch following the introduction of overseas-based Jamaicans Ravel Morrison, Leon Bailey, Michael Hector and Bobby Reid.

Two members of the Jamaica’s football delegation currently in Saudi Arabia have tested positive for Covid-19 following PCR tests administered on Thursday. This includes one player and a member of the technical staff.

Two other players are under investigation.

All four, who had been in quarantine for 48 hours with the full group, have now been isolated and the protocols, set by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF), are expected to be put into effect. 

The protocols dictate that all confirmed cases - either symptomatic or a-symptomatic - will be isolated in the same hotel on a different wing or section away from the bulk of the rest of the team. Based on medical advice, possible isolation in a different hotel or medical facility is not ruled out.

If a patient is asymptomatic then he or she will be constantly assessed by the JFF Head Doctor and the patient will be allowed to travel after a negative PCR test or based on a medical assessment and local authority health protocol.

If the patient shows symptoms of Covid-19 and requires further medical care he or she will be transferred to a designated hospital. Any confirmed case has to be retested after three days of the disappearance of the last symptom to assess his or eligibility for travel.

The Jamaican delegation is now in Saudi Arabia preparing to play two International Friendlies against the host on November 14 and 17.

Goalkeeper Jeadine White and midfielder Tyreek Magee have been called to the Reggae Boyz squad on its way to Saudi Arabia for two international friendlies on November 14 and 17.

There has been a delay to the departure of Jamaica’s senior football team due to the Covid-19 lockdown in England and immigration issues in Saudi Arabia. The delegation should have left Jamaica today but because of the changes, the majority of the delegation from Jamaica will now leave on Saturday, November 7.

Members of the local delegation are to be tested for Covid-19 today.

The departing delegation scheduled to leave from the Norman Manley International Airport at 3:13 pm Saturday, will overnight in Washington DC, USA and leave for Riyad on Sunday, November 8. Meanwhile, the players based in Europe will travel from their respective locations to Riyad.

The majority of the delegation from Jamaica and Europe are expected to arrive in Riyad on Monday, November 9. On arrival in Saudi Arabia, the delegation will go into immediate quarantine for three days at the Holiday Inn Izdihar Hotel.

According to the JFF, the overall epidemiological situation could be described as controlled all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government applied strict measures in the early outbreak of the virus in the Kingdom with partial lockdown including airport closures and these measures paid off with cases going steadily down to 357 as of October 26 from a peak of 4919 back in June.

Jamaica is scheduled to play the two friendly internationals on November 14 and November 17.

Jamaica’s preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar will get underway when the Reggae Boyz play The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in two international friendlies next month.  

Both games will be played at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium in Riyadh on November 14 and 17, respectively. The JFF said an added benefit of playing these matches is that the squad will get a chance to play in conditions identical to those under which the World Cup will be played in 2022.

The matches will also prove to be a timely replacement for two international friendlies against the United States and a "top Central American team" set for this month but which were cancelled because of the spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the United States.

The JFF had said then that it would continue to seek opportunities to play games in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers which start in June next year. 

Jamaica last played Saudi Arabia on October 17, 2017 when the hosts ran out 5-2 victors over the Reggae Boyz. As such, the JFF said it will looking to assemble its best squad in the hope of reversing that result.

The future of Jamaica international Leon Bailey, at German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, continues to be shrouded in doubt, as he faces a late start to the season and constant speculation.

The Bundesliga club will kick off its new campaign away to Eintracht Norderstedt in the DFB Pokal on Sunday.  Bailey will, however, miss the fixture after being required to undergo mandatory quarantine in Jamaica after possible exposure to the coronavirus.

On Friday, the club’s head coach Peter Bosz confirmed the player was yet to rejoin the group and that his reintroduction to the team would be on a stage by stage basis.

 “The quarantine is over; Leon was tested today. We expect it to be negative, then he can fly, but we have to wait for the result. When will he be available again? I first have to see what shape he's in when he's here and can be at 100 percent,” the club’s head coach told Bild.

In all likelihood, the team’s Bundesliga start, on September 20, in Wolfsburg is also likely to come too early for Bailey.  In fact, it remains to be seen whether he will ever represent Leverkusen again. His name is constantly mentioned on the transfer market, and Bayer has confirmed they would let him go if the offer was right.  He has recently been linked to English Premier League (EPL) club Leeds United.

 

Former Reggae Boy Jermaine 'Teddy 'Johnson was among three persons shot in central Kingston on Thursday evening.

All three have been hospitalized and are said to be in stable condition.

A woman, who was also among the victims, is believed to be a netball player.

More to come...

 

 

Jamaica forward Dever Orgill will turn out for a new club in Turkey when the Turkish top division gets underway next month.

England manager Gareth Southgate is reportedly keen on blunting bold recruitment ambitions of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who have targeted a number of English players that qualify to play for the Caribbean nation.

According to recent reports, the JFF, through agent Devon Porter, has sought to make contact with a number of players that could qualify to represent the nation in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, by virtue of having Jamaican parents or grandparents. 

The list is said to include newly promoted Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, Everton's Mason Holgate, Manchester United's Mason Greenwood, and Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who were all born to Jamaican parents.

The England manager has requested a meeting with the four players for Friday afternoon.  Southgate is expected to assure them of the possibility of playing for their birth country.  The England national football program has been guilty in the past of giving fringe players one of two caps, in order to end the pursuit of other potential nations, and never recalling those players again. 

Across England’s top four leagues there are said to be an estimated 124 players of Jamaican ancestry.  English-based Jamaican players played a crucial role in the country securing its only appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 1998.  The Jamaica team has already qualified for the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.  

The Reggae Boyz have done well to push their CONCACAF rankings and make it directly to the final round of World Cup qualification.

But I don’t believe that this has helped them. I believe it would have been better had the Reggae Boyz not done so well up to this point.

The brand, Reggae Boyz, is not what it used to be and as it stands, the team hasn’t been getting high-quality opponents during friendlies.

I believe that the match windows the team could have used to get sharp and stay sharp will be wasted on teams not of the quality to prepare the Reggae Boyz for the harsh realities of the Octagonal they are to face in June of 2021.

So far, the Reggae Boyz, the number four team in CONCACAF, will play against the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Three other teams will join the Reggae Boyz in the final-round fight for a place at the World Cup in Qatar.

The Reggae Boyz, if properly prepared, can compete against any of these teams, but without having to play in further qualifiers before the final round, I fear they may not be.

Outside of a 3-1 defeat to the United States in June of 2019, in the last year, the Reggae Boyz have played against Curacao, Panama, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana and Aruba.

No disrespect to these teams, but as far as oppositions go, they may not be good enough to accurately prepare the Reggae Boyz for high-quality opposition in the Octagonal.

With no international football since the spread of COVID-19 and attempt to cauterize it from creating further devastation, the Reggae Boyz have been, in a word, idle.

You might say this applies to all the teams in the final round, however, these teams have a greater history of being successful at this level.

It is the Reggae Boyz who need to step up, improve to their level.

The team, I believe, has all the requisite talent to do so. The Reggae Boyz performance in making the second Gold Cup finals in their history is proof of that.

However, coach Theodore Whitmore and standout centre half Damion Lowe, have pointed to one thing while noting the excellent chances of this team of making it to Qatar in 2022.

The two have said the preparations need to be on point.

One of the ways of preparing is to play friendlies against high-enough quality opposition to ensure, match readiness and to figure out how to diminish your weaknesses.

While the opposition the Reggae Boyz have faced over the last year may provide them match readiness, these teams do not adequately show up the Reggae Boyz’ weaknesses.

Those weaknesses will not be shown up because, again, no disrespect to the opposition so far, the Reggae Boyz are better.

The Jamaica Football Federation has kept its plans for the months preceding the Octagonal close to its chest but if the nature of friendlies in the recent past is anything to go by, the Reggae Boyz might find themselves short of work come June.

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