When the Reggae Boyz face El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador on Friday, Reggae Boyz defender Damion Lowe is hoping for an important victory for more than one reason.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore says the team is looking to continue riding its momentum into the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers, particularly as it relates to defensive solidity.

The Caribbean team had a difficult start to its qualification campaign going winless in its first five games, before getting on the board against Honduras.  The run of games included a 3-0 home loss to Panama and a 2-0 away loss to the United States.  During the period the team conceded 8 goals.

Whitmore, however, made tweaks to the team’s formation for the last two matches against Canada and Honduras, which has led to two clean sheets.

“I think we want to build on the last two performances, from Canada to Honduras I think we can see much improvement because we have not conceded for the last two games, so we would like to build on that,” Whitmore said.

“We have a balanced squad here, for these two upcoming games so we are looking forward to it.  Again, we want to build on the strength of the last two performances.”

The Jamaicans will kick off the crucial round of matches with an encounter against El Salvador on Friday, followed by a home match against the United States on Sunday.  For the first time since the start of the campaign, the team will be allowed to have limited fans in the stadium.

 

 

Jamaica’s senior national men’s team is set to leave for El Salvador on Monday evening, November 8, giving coach Theodore Whitmore three days to work with the players before their crucial World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday, November 12.

Jamaica’s coming matches against El Salvador in San Salvador and a strengthened United States of America at the National Stadium in Kingston will be of great importance to the Reggae Boyz, who will be hoping to make up lost ground on the five teams ahead of them in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players based in Europe are scheduled to arrive at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston at 4:30 pm on Monday, where they will join the local delegation on a charter leaving at 7:00 pm. The players based in the United States (and Costa Rica) will fly directly to San Salvador on the same afternoon.

Injured players Dillon Barnes and Andre Gray will be replaced by Dwayne Miller and Javain Brown, respectively.

Jamaica will return to the island by charter on Saturday, November 13 before taking on the United States on Tuesday, November 16, at the National Stadium. A maximum of 5000 vaccinated spectators are expected to attend.

Jamaica got off to a poor start in the Octoganal round of qualifiers, losing 2-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Panama in September. They then lost 2-0 to the United States in October and drew 0-0 with Canada and 1-1 with Costa Rica before getting their first win, a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Jamaica has five points, the same number as El Salvador. They are also a point behind Costa Rica and three behind Panama that a currently fourth in the standings.

Mexico, the USA and Canada are the top three teams and are in the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup.

 

The mystery surrounding the decision of West Ham forward, Michail Antonio, to withdraw from Jamaica’s team days ahead of the ongoing round of World Cup qualifiers has added another twist, with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) insisting it was based on a misunderstanding.

According to multiple reports, the issue stemmed from the fact that the player was not given permission to carry his personal physiotherapist on the trip, which he had agreed to pay for out of pocket.  Through his agent, Antonio who has suffered from a long history of muscular injuries, made the request for the medical professional to be able to join the squad but was turned down.

However, strangely, the JFF now insists that the player’s representative was given the wrong information as he should have in fact been granted permission to travel with the therapist.

“It was a simple mix-up that caused that caused that to happen.  What we don’t want to do is to continue to lay the blame all over the place.  We know administratively from the JFF hierarchy that that is something we had supported,” General Secretary Dalton Wint told TVJ Sports.

The official, however, seemed to be at a loss to explain how a member of the technical committee could have communicated a negative answer to the player’s agent when the answer he admits should have been a simple and positive one.

“He is allowed (to carry physiotherapist), it’s simple.  That’s why we used the term miscommunication.”

Wint went on to state that the issue had been cleared up with the player and his agent and expected him to return to the team in the near future.  The Jamaica team is at the bottom of the standings with three losses in the first four matches.

   

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts has said the organisation will consider playing the rest of the country’s home World Cup qualifiers on foreign soil, due to losses incurred from hosting the matches.

The JFF hosted its first home qualifier earlier this month and it’s safe to say things did not go as planned.  The team suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat to Panama, which led to questions surfacing regarding the stewardship of the national program.

In addition, however, the match was played in front of an empty stadium due to existing covid-19 protocols.  As such, the organisation has been unable to collect gate receipts or other revenue, while footing the expenses associated with hosting the game.  With seven home games left to go, Ricketts insists the issue could become a major one.

“We can’t afford to play games without making any money at all at the turn styles,” Ricketts said. 

“So we are looking at options and we will have to discuss it with some of our key players, then we will look at whatever options may present themselves,” he added.

The Jamaica national team will next be in action on October 7 when they face the United States, while their next home match will be against Canada three days later.

 

Jamaica international Kemar Roofe insists he is proud of finally making a long-awaited debut for the national team, despite a lopsided result against Panama.

The 28-year-old striker was among a number of players based in European leagues brought in to bolster the Reggae Boyz as the team looks to return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over two decades.

It was hardly the ideal scenario, however, as the team lost 3-0 at home to Panama.  The international window consisted of three games but due to United Kingdom restrictions on travel to countries on its red list, Roofe could only take part in the home fixture against Panama.  Both Mexico and Costa Rica where the team also had matches are on the UK’s red list.  Travel to any of these countries would have required a 10-day quarantine upon return to the United Kingdom for the players, with several leagues controversially opting not to release players for the fixtures.

Setbacks aside, however, Roofe insists his first cap was a proud moment for both himself and his relatives.

“It was a proud moment for myself and my family to represent my dad’s country of birth,” Roofe told the Daily Record.

“It’s a good experience to play international football. It’s a different style of football to the domestic game. It’s an enjoyable experience, even though we lost,” he added.

“We only had a few days to get to know each other and play the game. The two other games were in the red zone so we couldn’t go to those games.”

Following an opening-round loss to Mexico and loss to Panama, the team got on the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica. 

After a lengthy absence from the team, Jamaica Reggae Boyz midfielder JeVaughn Watson is hoping to lead the way, as a senior player, when the team looks to bounce back from a tough start to its World Cup qualification campaign.

With two matches already gone in the hexagonal round, the Jamaicans are yet to get a point on the board following a 2-1 away loss to Mexico and dismal showing in a 3-0 loss against Panama at the National Stadium.

Even so, the decision to recall Watson, ahead of the team’s crucial clash against Costa Rica, could certainly be seen as a decision out of left field.  Despite once being a lynchpin of the national team’s midfield, the player has not appeared for the Reggae Boyz since 2019 and has not played much football locally either.

The 37-year-old, however, believes he can still be of value to the squad and hopes to anchor its efforts to get points on the board.

“I’m naturally a robust player, I break up plays try to keep the unit together, try to build a vibe leading up to the game.  Whenever we are having fun, you always get the best out of us,” Watson said.

“I’ll be a senior player, try to get the group together.  Try to go out there and be a menace to midfield, to break up players and move us forward, link with each other, and try to see what we can do from there.”

 

 

Jamaica has named a stronger 23-man squad for today’s World Cup qualifier against Panama at the National Stadium in Kingston. The match time is 5:00 pm (6:00 pm ECT).

The squad includes West Ham striker Michail Antonio, Ravel Morrison and Bobby Reid, who did not play in the Reggae Boyz match against Mexico on Thursday night. Jamaica lost the match 2-1 on a 90th-minute goal from Henry Martin. Alexis Vega had put Mexico ahead in the 50th minute before Shamar Nicholson's 65th-minute strike pulled Jamaica level.

Jamaica was the only team to have lost in the opening round of the CONCACAF qualifiers and are at the bottom of the table. It makes today’s match against Panama, a crucial one.

The full squad comprises Andre Blake, Wesley Harding, Ethan Pinnock, Ravel Morrison, Alvas Powell, Liam Moore, Kemar Roofe, Oniel Fisher, Cory Burke, Bobby Reid, Shamar Nicholson, Junior Flemmings, Dillon Barnes, Javain Brown, Blair Turgott, Daniel Johnson, Michail Antonio, Lamar Walker, Adrian, Mariappa, Kemar Lawrence, Tyreek Magee, Devon Williams and Dennis Taylor.

Meanwhile, the JFF said it is pleased at the onset of the local component of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with the first home game against Panama at the 'Office' today.

The governing body said the players will miss profoundly the fans and the positive vibes that they are accustomed to at World Cup Qualifiers in the stadium but expressed confidence that the team will perform up to expectations.

"The technical staff of the JFF has assembled a very experienced professional group of players who are committed to an entertaining display of football," the JFF said in a statement.

"The group is comprised of players who have over recent years ensured that Jamaica has maintained a top-50 position in international football, maintain its leading role in the Caribbean and a continuous respectful position in Concacaf. It now includes some players who will make their debut for the country as they also want to help Jamaica achieve the ultimate goal of qualification to another senior men's World Cup.

"The JFF has also worked assiduously with all relevant state authorities and governing football bodies to get the full approval for the hosting of the game and wishes to thank all for making this happen. We urge Jamaicans to increase their observance of the established protocols to fight the Covid -19 pandemic so that we can not only host our next game on October 10 but all remaining six home games."

 

St Kitts and Antigua and Barbuda each scored big wins to close out the latest round of matches in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Saturday night.

There were also wins for Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

A Keithroy Freeman double sandwiched around a Rowan Liburd penalty paced St. Kitts and Nevis in a 4-0 win over the Bahamas, meaning the Sugar Boyz finish with a perfect March.

Omari Sterling-James came into the contest as a second-half substitute and fired a long-range shot that kissed off the post and in for the fourth goal at Thomas Robinson Stadium.

Meanwhile, a pair of familiar faces scored the goals for Antigua and Barbuda in a 3-0 victory against the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Veteran forward Peter Byers got on the board in the 26th minute with his long-time Benna Boys teammate Quinton Griffith netting a penalty in the 34th minute and then again from the run of play in the 42nd.

Guatemala also closed out March with a perfect start to qualification.

After Wednesday’s win over Cuba, Los Chapines earned a 3-0 win over the British Virgin Islands.

In the 22nd minute, Darwin Lom muscled off his defender and poked his finish home before the goalkeeper could block it. Moises Hernandez added a second, running onto Nico Rittmeyer’s cross into the box and finishing confidently. The lead was three in the 81st minute with Robin Betancourth getting on the end of a ball over the top and scoring just five minutes after entering the contest.

It was also a perfect start for the Dominican Republic, which topped Anguilla 6-0 on Saturday after last week’s win over Dominica.

Fresh off participating in the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship, Dorny Romero scored a double, converting a penalty in the 22nd minute and using his left foot to knock in a half-volley in the 27th minute.

Nowend Lorenzo also had a pair of goals, with a goal in each half. Romero turned provider and set up Domingo Peralta for a 65th-minute goal, and substitute Luis Espinal put in the final goal in the 74th minute.

There was also a big win for Nicaragua as Ariagner Smith and Juan Barrera each scored twice for their side to begin its Concacaf World Cup Qualifying campaign with a 7-0 victory over the Turks and Caicos Islands at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Barrera opened the scoring in the third minute, finishing off a low cross that came in from the right side to give La Azul y Blanco an early lead. Smith’s first came five minutes later, as he finished off a team move to double the advantage.

 Despite heavy rain that began to fall as the game progressed, the second half started in the same fashion as the first, with Marvin Fletes scoring from a corner kick just a minute after the restart. One minute after that, Smith added to his debut Nicaragua goal with a second score just a minute later. Barrera got his service from the left side in the 59th minute and completed his brace before making way, as Nicaragua manager Juan Vita made a number of modifications. Two of those changes found the back of the net, with Dshon Forbes scoring on a breakaway in the 78th minute and Matias Moldskred putting the cherry on top in the 87th.

Finally, Nigel Hasselbaink notched a hat-trick in Suriname’s 6-0 victory against Aruba, scoring twice in the first half and once in the second.

Ryan Donk was the last to touch a set-piece before it went in, adding another to his Suriname account after scoring a 3-0 victory against the Cayman Islands to open qualification. Florian Jozefzoon, on his debut for Dean Gorre’s men, and Roland Alberg also found the back of the net in the win.

 

St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, The Dominican Republic and Guatemala opened their World Cup qualifying campaigns with victories on Wednesday night.

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