Kingston College standout Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards is among 32 players invited to training sessions with Reggae Boyz Head Coach Heimir Hallgrinsson at the Jamaica Football Federation headquarters at the University of the West Indies on January 17 and 18.

The 17-year-old Richards recorded 29 goals and 19 assists in the Manning Cup and led Kingston College to the semi-finals.

The full list of players is as follows:

Kemar Foster (Waterhouse FC), Ramone Howell (Waterhouse FC), Ricardo Thomas (Dunbeholden FC), Peter McGregor (Dunbeholden FC), Trivante Stewart (Mount Pleasant FC), Ky-Mani Campbell (Mount Pleasant FC), Demario Phillips (Mount Pleasant FC), Devonte Campbell (Mount Pleasant FC), Jamoi Topey (Mount Pleasant FC), Tafari Chambers (Mount Pleasant FC), Sue-Lae McCalla (Mount Pleasant FC), Alwayne Henry (Mount Pleasant FC), Odane Murray (Mount Pleasant FC), Eric Edwards (Arnett Gardens), Kimani Arbouine (Arnett Gardens), Earl Simpson (Arnett Gardens), Ajuma Johnson (Arnett Gardens), Richard King (Cavaluer SC), Dwayne Atkinson (cavalier SC), Collin Anderson (Cavalier SC), Kyle Ming (Cavalier SC), Jeadine White (Cavalier SC), Gawaine Austin (Portmore United), Oshane Staple (Harbour View FC), Colorado Murray (Harbour View FC), Jahshaun Anglin (Harbour View FC), Nicholas Hamilton (Harbour View FC), Okeemo Jones (Chapleton Maroons), Malachi Douglas (Chapleton Maroons), Dujuan Richards (Phoenix Academy), Jason Wright (Molynes United).

The sessions will commence at 3:00pm.

Police are investigating an incident that saw shots fired at the home of former Reggae Boy Fitzroy Simpson in Swindon, England on Tuesday.

According to reports, the former Jamaica international's house was fired upon by a gunman who reportedly fled the scene before the police were called to the property at 8:15pm.

Upon arrival the police combed the area with a helicopter and a canine unit but the suspect was not located. The search was continued on Wednesday as the area was cordoned off in hopes of finding a weapon or other evidence but none was found.

According to the official Wiltshire police report; “Police were called to an address in Stratton shortly after 8.15pm yesterday evening, following reports of what was believed to be a firearm being discharged in the area.

Firearms officers attended and extensive area searches and house to house enquiries were conducted.

Enquiries remain ongoing. No firearms were located.”

Simpson who represented Manchester city in the Premier League from 1992-1995, also had spells at Bristol and Portsmouth.  He represented the Jamaica Reggae Boyz on 43 occasions, including in all matches during the team’s historic appearance at the 1998 World Cup.

 

Outstanding schoolboy footballer Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards is confident he already has the tools needed to contribute meaningfully to the Jamaican national senior team.

In recent weeks, a dominant season in the country’s high school level program has seen the player score 29 goals and contribute 19 assists to Kingston College. 

An impressive haul by any standard, but more so it is the quality in some of his finishing that has sparked calls for the player to be given an opportunity with Jamaica’s senior squad.

Not everyone agrees with that particular assessment, however, as some believe the step-up in opponent quality might be a gap too far to bridge at this stage of the player’s young career and might even do more harm than good.

High school players being given an opportunity to feature for the country’s national team is rare but not unprecedented.  In years gone by Kevin ‘Pele’ Wilson another schoolboy football standout, who represented Charlie Smith, was called into the national squad as a 17-year-old, and made his debut against Norway in 1995. 

Another player, Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner, who represented Wolmer’s in the Manning Cup, went on to be arguably the country’s most successful player after being handed his debut as a teenager in 1997, ahead of the country’s historic qualification for the 1998 World Cup.  Based on his tremendous displays many believe Richards deserves similar consideration. He agrees.

“Yes, for sure, right now,” Richards told SportsMax.Tv’s InCaseYouMissedIt, when quizzed about his state of readiness in regard to representing the national team.

“Craig (Butler) has been saying this for like two years, three years now,” he added.

The often controversial Craig Butler is the agent and adoptive father to Aston Villa star Leon Bailey and has had Richards as part of his Phoenix Academy club for the past several years.

"That’s the reason I played Manning Cup to prove myself that nobody is lying, that Craig isn’t lying, my father isn’t lying.  Nobody that has been saying I can play is lying,” he added.

Richards also revealed that the current season of the Manning Cup was his first and will also be his last as the player is expected to explore offers from around Europe.  

A Leeds fan who was accused of racially abusing Jamaica and West Ham forward Michail Antonio has been banned from football events for 4 years.

The incident occurred during the teams defeat to West Ham at Elland Road in 2021.  On that occasion Antonio scored a 90th minute winner to give the Hammers a 2-1 win.

Following the goal, Gary Hawkins, a 52-year-old male, was found to not have only abused Antonio from his seat but also threatened another fan who challenged him regarding the language. 

Hawkins was found guilty of two offences after a trial at Leeds Magistrates' Court and given an eight-week sentence, suspended for 12 months.

The West Yorkshire Police were quick to condemn the action.

"Race hate crime such as this is truly abhorrent and can never be tolerated,” said Supt Russ Hughes.

"As we have seen with this incident, other fans will rightly take exception to this type of behaviour.”

 

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has expressed satisfaction with the team’s overall performance in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against World Cup-bound Cameroon on Wednesday.

Neither team fielded full-strength units for the international friendly, but the competitive fixture, in front of a vociferous crowd at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, was a fiercely contested affair.

Despite looking less potent as an attacking unit, a defensively solid Jamaica took the lead through Justin McMaster in the 60th minute.  The Cameroonians, however, managed to eventually get back on level footing after substitute Djawal Kaiba’s deflected long-range effort flew over the head of Jahmali Waite and into the net, in the 76th minute.

Despite losing the lead, Hallgrimsson believes the team, which consisted of many players based in Jamaica, put in a commendable performance, considering the limited preparation time.

“I think we are quite happy with the players. It was a good result for Jamaica; playing early in the season and a lot of players not having a lot of games under their belt and playing in a difficult environment, probably the biggest crowd most of the players have played in front of, with 40,000 people supporting the opponent.” Hallgrimsson said following the match.

“They were intimidating circumstances playing a World Cup team but I think we can be happy with the result.  I am happy with how professional the players were in the camp and how much they took in from what we were trying to teach them.  Overall, I think that we were really happy,” he added.

“For the game itself we need to improve a lot but that is understandable when these players haven’t played a lot together.”

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz coach Heimir Hallgrímsson is expecting a highly competitive and difficult fixture against World Cup-bound Cameroon on Wednesday.

Both teams will field majority players from their individual country’s local leagues but with the global football showpiece on the horizon in the next two weeks, the Africans will have a strong incentive to put on a show for their home crowd.

In addition, Cameroon coach Rigobert Song has promised to fill the remaining World Cup squads with players from the encounter.

“We really don’t know much about Cameroon.  The national team that will be facing us, its local players it’s not the team that will be going to the World Cup but I can say for sure that league in Cameroon is really strong and I don’t have the calculations but I think it is much stronger than the league in Jamaica,” Hallgrímsson said ahead of the fixture.

“For the guys before the camp the Cameroon coach Rigobert Song said he would pick 3 players from this squad to go to the World Cup with him in Qatar.  So, they have a lot to fight for and a lot to show, so we will be facing a very motivated group of players tomorrow.”

The match will be the second in charge for Hallgrimson who made his debut in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina after taking charge of the team in October.

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes a 3-0 scoreline might have flattered Argentina, insisting his team was made to pay for a loss in concentration in the defeat at the Red Bull stadium on Tuesday.

Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi came off the bench to score twice as the Albiceleste, who, in truth, looked comfortable despite holding a slim 1-0 lead, blew the game wide open in the last 10 minutes.

By the time the world-famous number 10 entered the fray, in the 56th minute, Argentina were already 1-0 up courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s tidy finish in the 13th minute. from there they had struggled to find real goalscoring momentum, that is until Messi entered the pitch.

After stinging the palms of Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake with an early attempt, the forward made no mistake blasting his shot well to the left of the keeper, when he got another opportunity, to double the lead in the 86th minute.  However, sloppy play in midfield led to the dangerous player taking possession at the edge of the area.

Three minutes later, there was real anxiety when the wily forward was brought down just at the top of the 18-yard box.  Those concerns were proven valid when Messi picked himself up and scored the resulting free-kick.  Again the Jamaicans might well feel dissatisfied with their defensive play, as Messi found space through a somewhat disheveled wall to beat Blake again.  The match was the first for Hallgrimsson and he believes despite the errors they were a few positives.

“We lost 3-0 and you are never happy to lose.  Three, zero is a big number but I don’t think it reflects the game on a whole,” Hallgrimsson said.

“It does not reflect the performance of our players, I think we showed an excellent team performance for 80 minutes and we lost a little focus in possession that led to the first and the second goal and then from that lost more focus for the third goal and that cannot happen,” he added.

“Those were the negatives from the match.  We kept them from creating goal-scoring chances, more or less, until the 80th minute.  After 10 minutes we were finding our feet but after that, we were comfortable with how we played our defensive game.”

Reggae Boyz central defender Damion Lowe said the team is in good spirits and looking forward to their friendly against two-time world champions Argentina in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Newly appointed Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes his first order of business is to develop a national philosophy on how Jamaican wants to play football.

Goalkeeper Andre Blake has been added to the Reggae Boyz squad selected to play Argentina on September 27.

The 31-year-old Reggae Boyz’s captain exclusion from the squad had prompted speculation that the players’ remarks on social media suggesting that the hiring of a new coach would change nothing for the current administration.

Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was on Friday introduced as the new head coach of the Jamaica National Senior team in what Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts described as a game-changing event.

Having signed a four-year contract, the 55-year-old dentist who guided Iceland to FIFA World Cup qualification in 2018 has been tasked with aiding the development of Jamaica’s football and qualifying for the 2026 World Cup that will be held jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Ricketts described the signing of Coach Hallgrimsson as the ushering in of a new era that will see the controversy-plagued administration change direction.

“The federation has been making important internal changes that will position the federation to fully support what we will announce today as well as a number of other national activities,” he said during the press conference to announce the new coach at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Friday afternoon.

“The changes I will not speak about too much except to say that the call to action for optimism is based on efforts that we will all make effective immediately. On behalf of the Jamaica Football Federation, I wish to formally announce that Mr Heimir Hallgrimsson has accepted the offer of the JFF to become the head coach of the senior men’s national team for a period of four years.”

Declaring that he chose to take the Jamaica project because of the great potential for success, Hallgrimsson was under no illusions regarding to the magnitude of the undertaking.

“When I was looking for projects to coach, I was really selective. It was not about money, it was about the project and for me, it was a perfect match to come now to Jamaica and to try to fix what is broken, obviously, there are some obstacles we have to cross and we have to improve some big things but for me, it was a perfect match. I see so much potential here and if I compare this one to the Icelandic project I think the potential is much more than in Iceland,” he said.

That said, Hallgrimsson is also aware that he does not have much time to right the many wrongs of Jamaica’s football.

“We have a year until we start playoffs (World Cup qualification) the group stage of the World Cup so we have to start quickly and try to stabilize the Jamaica national team. The second job is assisting in the improvement of football here in Jamaica through coaching education of elite players and we are happy to be a part of an assist in that,” he said.

“While going this, we all know that in every match there is pressure to win. There is an expectation to win and no coach will survive in his job without winning football matches. So two different things, first to develop talent and the second to improve the national team and I think both of these projects can support each other.”

To do that, Hallgrimsson will bring with him two other coaches, who he believes will be assets to his plans.

“I will bring two coaches with me. One assistant his name is John Wall. He is a teacher, has a BA in Sports Science, coached at many levels in Sweden. He was a tactical coach for the Finnish national team. He is good in player development and really useful in the transition getting local players to a higher standard and eventually and hopefully to the national team,” he said.

“The other staff member I will bring with me is Gudmundur Hreidarsson. He will be our goalkeeper coach. I worked with him for seven years in the national team. All the years I was there he was the goalkeeper coach. He is, in my opinion, one of the best ones I’ve seen. He has the highest education possible for goalkeeper coaches in Europe, very experienced.”

Hallgrimsson’s first test will be against Argentina in less than two weeks and he believes that the encounter against the number-four ranked team in the world will be a blessing in disguise.

 “It’s a great opportunity because they will expose all of our weaknesses, especially defensive weaknesses,” he said.

“Probably, we will be defending more or less, most of the game so it’s really a good chance to see how are when we compare to the best in the world.”

 

 

 

 

Interim Reggae Boyz head coach Paul Hall has claimed that uncertainty regarding his contract and a lack of resources were key considerations informing his decision to resign from the post.

Hall, who served as the assistant coach under former national coach Theodore Whitmore, took charge of the national team in December of last year, following the dismissal of the head coach.

He would go on to coach the unit for 10 matches, which included the successful qualification of the team to the Concacaf Gold Cup from the Concacaf Nation’s League competition.  Hall last took charge of the team in a 1-1 draw against Mexico in the Nations League in June.

Since then, the JFF announced that Merron Gordon had been named interim coach for the team’s most recent fixture against Morocco and Qatar and is expected to announce former Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson as head of the program in the coming days.

In a release posted to the social media platform Instagram, Hall attempted to bring some clarity to the issue.

“I felt I had to resign as many of my requests, such as the standard of the training pitch, additional kit for cold weather in Canada and in particular organistion for transport were well below par,” Hall said via the release.

“After qualifying for the Gold Cup and with the situation with administration being strained.  I felt like my position had become untenable.  I was still being expected to be part of conference calls, team talks, and matchday selections, but my role, contract, and remuneration questions were being ignored,” he added.

The coach went on to claim that he was yet to receive full monetary compensation for his period with the team, despite receiving a payment last week.

 

Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrimsson is expected to be announced as the new head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz later this week, according to reports.

The 55-year-old Hallgrimsson, who is also a dentist, was most recently head coach at Qatari League Club Al Arabi from 2018 to 2021.

Before then, he was then man at the helm for his native Iceland from 2013-2018. His biggest achievement was leading Iceland to the quarterfinals at Euro 2016 in France, including a 2-1 win over England in the Round of 16.

Hallgrimsson also led Iceland to their first ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 2018 in Russia.

He will take over from former interim head coach Paul Hall who had a record of two wins, three draws and five losses in 10 games since his appointment in December 2021.

Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey and West Ham United’s Michail Antonio headline a 23-member Reggae Boyz squad to face two-time World Cup winners Argentina in an International Friendly in the United States on September 27.

The squad, unveiled by the Jamaica Football Federation on Monday, also includes six reserves.

This will be the third meeting between the two teams.

They first met in the group Stages of the 1998 FIFA World Cup when Argentina secured a 5-0 victory while their second time opposing each other came 17 years later in the Group Stage of the 2015 Copa America with Argentina once again coming out on top 1-0.

The full squad reads as follows:

  1. Michail Antonio – West Ham United 
  2. Shamar Nicholson - Spartak Moscow
  3. Andre Gray - Aris 
  4. Kaheem Parris- Dynamo Kyiv
  5. Daniel Johnson - Preston North End 
  6. Bobby Reid -  Fulham 
  7. Damion Lowe -  Inter Miami 
  8. Leon Bailey -  Aston Villa 
  9. Ravel Morrison -  DC United 
  10. Kevon Lambert -  Phoenix Rising 
  11. Jonathan Russell -  Huddersfield FC 
  12. Kevin Stewart -  Blackpool 
  13. Amari Bell -  Luton Town 
  14. Gregory Leigh -  Ipswich Town 
  15. Joel Latibeaudiere -  Swansea City 
  16. Jamoi Topey-Mount Pleasant 
  17. Javain Brown Vancouver -  Whitecaps FC 
  18. Jamal Lowe- AFC Bournemouth 
  19. Richard King -  Cavalier SC 
  20. Adrian Mariappa -  Macarthur FC 
  21. Kemar Foster (GK) - Waterhouse FC 
  22. Dillon Barnes (GK) -  QPR 
  23. Jahmali Waite (GK) -  Pittsburgh Riverhounds 

 

RESERVES 

  1. Maliek Howell -  University of Memphis
  2. Ricardo Thomas -  Dunbeholden 
  3. Demario Phillips -  Mount Pleasant 
  4. Jourdain Fletcher -  Unattached 
  5. Corey Burke - Philadelphia Union 
  6. Coniah Boyce Clarke (GK) -  Reading FC

 

Jamaica international Andre Blake insists will be business as usual but acknowledges the significance of the moment as he prepares to make a 200th appearance for Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.

Should the player make the starting line-up, as expected, against Atlanta United on Wednesday it should mark his 200th appearance for the club, the second most in franchise history and most for a goalkeeper.

The goalkeeper was the first overall signing of the Union in the 2014 MLS Superdraft and 9 years later has gone on to be one of the club's most consistent and recognizable players.  The goalkeeper who led the team to the MLS Supporters Shield in 2020 and second place in the U.S Open cup in 2014, 2015, and 2016 was also named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 and 2020.

“In a sense, it’s just another number, just another game,” Blake told the Daily Times. “That’s what keeps me humble. But in another sense, it’s a great achievement. You’d have to be in the league for quite a number of years to be able to have 200 starts. It’s a big deal, obviously, but it’s how you look at it. I’m very happy for that moment, but the show must go on.”

Blake has recovered from an early tumultuous spell in 2015 after injuring his right then his left knee.

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