Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio will not be available for the Reggae Boyz matches against Japan and Serbia that have been scheduled for June as Jamaica’s senior squad continues its preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers in September.

Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence, has accused the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of cutting the legs out from under the team’s head coach Theodore Whitmore.

Whitmore, who signed a new four-year contract with the JFF in 2018, has largely stayed on the sidelines as some members of the national squad and the JFF have wrangled over contractual negotiations for the past few months.

The coach has, however, on occasion made his frustrations know, mostly as it relates to dissatisfaction with the lack of organisation and lack of resources available for the national program.

In addressing the ongoing issue during a recent interview with YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary, Lawrence highlighted a few of the issues that also impacted the coach.  The defender pointed to the fact that the team has only one physiotherapist and one equipment manager as some of the issues that have impacted the unit.  Whitmore has in addition requested a video analyst as part of his technical staff but, to date, no such post has been created.

“What Tappa has been doing with the limited number of resources that he has; you want to break that up? Tappa is getting it right and we have a short space of time and he is doing his best to make everything work and the Federation is cutting his legs from under him,” Lawrence said.

“We want them to understand where we are coming from and just be honest. They share things in TV interviews that are nowhere close to what is the truth. Tell the Jamaican people what is going on,” he added.

“The players reach a level where they are fed up. If the (JFF’s) approach is “hol this” then bring who wants to go to the Gold Cup (to play) without 2 or 3 medical staff, physio or a technical coach, because these are the things that will get us to win in the finals, not just being there.

It’s a difference between us and the USA because every time they do well they look at what they have done and they bring more to the table in terms of video sessions, anything to help.”

Whitmore led the team to the 2017 Gold Cup final, the second time it has done so in its history.

Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence. has insisted the current dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is about more than money but also respect and equality for all members of the national team.

For the past couple of months, several members of the national team and the JFF have been locked in bitter contractual negotiations ahead of what will be a crucial year for the national team, which will see it participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and later the World Cup qualifiers.

Initial reports revealed that the parties were far apart on negotiations with the federation balking at, among other things, the player’s initial proposal of US$7,000 per game for the World Cup qualifiers.  In response, the JFF insisted it was unable to go above US$2,000 and the parties have been unable to bridge that gap since.

In recent weeks, however, the parties reportedly moved closer to an agreement in key several areas.  However, several regular team players remained absent for the recent friendly against the United States, which the team lost 4-1, meaning some issues were yet to be resolved.  With the issue sharply diving opinion, some have accused the players of being mercenaries.  Insisting nothing could be further from the truth, however, Lawrence pointed to issues of inequality and unfairness in terms of how certain players were treated as another crucial sticking point.

“The negotiations are about more than one thing, it’s not about the money. People are getting injured flying economy across the world and when they reach, they only have two days to train and then play,” Lawrence told YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary.

 “The other day when we were going to Saudi Arabia, upon boarding my flight in London, I met with four English-based players who went into business class and they put me in economy. On the way back, the same thing. I play for an elite club in the topflight in Belgium. I have more caps than all four put together and these are the things that cause segregation. Enough seats were on the flight, so what do they leave me as a senior player to think? Where is the level of respect and professionalism? At the end of the day, I have a job to do and I try to do it to the best of my ability. It has happened to me, Lowe, Blake, Flemmings, all of us, and this is not the second or third time that this has happened,” he added.

 “Put players on direct flights, business class flights. We need medical staff. How can you have one physio for 24 players? You have one equipment manager, one man, and he is over 50. The JFF doesn’t think he needs some help? Then you have 12 members of their delegation. Why can’t we get additional medical staff and a physical coach on the technical team to aid our coach?” Lawrence asked.

The 28-year-old defender has made some 60 appearances for the Jamaica national team and was a part of the units that carried Jamaica to successive CONCACAF Gold Cup finals.

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