Jamaica Reggae Boy Liam Moore is hopeful the team can continue its recent trend of keeping clean sheets ahead of World Cup qualification encounters against El Salvador and the United States.

The Jamaican team got off to a rocky start to the qualifiers after conceding eight goals in its first six games.  However, the team’s fortunes have improved in the last two rounds after battling to a 0-0 draw with the competition’s top scorers Canada and securing a 2-0 away win over Honduras.

Moore missed that round of matches, which took place in September after suffering an injury, but the defender did, however, watch the matches while sidelined and is eager to make his contribution for the team as it looks to pick up where it off.

“I watched the games back in the UK while I was injured and I thought there were a lot of positives with the clean sheets,” Moore told TVJ Sports.

“Talking about moving forward now, it’s about trying to continue to grow from that.  So, we need more clean sheets and try to get as many points on the board as we can,” he added.

The Reading player has made five appearances for the Jamaica national team to date.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore is impressed with the team’s camaraderie, after using an extra day to prepare for the team’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday.

In recent months questions had been raised regarding the team’s sense of togetherness on the back of a rumoured rift between locally born and Uk-born members of the squad.  That narrative has, however, shifted on the back of two solid performances against Canada and Honduras in the previous round of matches.

Heading into Friday’s encounter Whitmore is eager to see that trend continue heading into the upcoming round of games.

“I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of the players.  The camaraderie is good, the vibes in the camp is good and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Whitmore said.

The team arrived in El Salvador on Monday, in order to be able to squeeze in an extra training session for the team.

“We are looking forward to the final session and the game.”

The Jamaicans who got their campaign slow start are looking to build momentum on the back of their first win of qualifiers, which came against Honduras in the previous round.  The team is currently 6th in the eight-team standings on 5 points, 3 outside of the qualifying spots.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is feeling fit and ready ahead of a probable debut in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old has suffered an injury-plagued few months after moving to the English Premier League’s Aston Villa from German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

 In a stop-start season at Villa, Bailey has managed 6 appearances at the club but only forced his way into the starting line-up for the past two games, having recovered full fitness.  In the meantime, however, Jamaica has played six World Cup qualifiers but only their first win in the last round.  Having finally joined the squad ahead of matches against El Salvador and the United States, however, the player is hoping to make an impact.

“I played my first 90 minutes on the weekend, so I am feeling ready to go,” Bailey said.

“We haven’t had a great start, but I hope we can turn things around very quickly because this means a lot not just to players but also the country,” he added.

I think as a team we need to do better, and we will.  Hopefully, we’ll get the results because it will be a dream for us all to make it to the next World Cup.”

Jamaica are currently 6th in the eight-team standings on five points, three outside of the final qualifying spot.

Jamaica international Andre Gray has called for English League clubs to show more respect to teams from Africa and the Caribbean, as it relates to players taking part in international competitions.

According to the forward, currently on-loan at Queens Park Rangers from Watford, players that are called up for countries from the CONCACAF and Confederation of African Football (CAF) often faced increased pressure as clubs regard the decision in a negative light.

By contrast, players being called up for the England team is viewed as a positive and attracts much less scrutiny.  In truth clubs and countries have often found themselves locked in conflict regarding the use of top international players during international windows. 

Most recently things came to a head when English League clubs attempted to block, and in some instances prevented players from travelling to Africa, South America, and the Caribbean due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures that were put in place.  In retaliation, the countries affected threatened to use their power under FIFA regulations to ban players for one league match.  

“If England call there is going to be no arguments.  The minute you get called up for Nigeria or Jamaica it’s an inconvenience and a risk to the club,” Gray said in an interview with The Athletic.

“It’s just a stereotype around it.  It is the same with AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), which is scheduled to start in January.  That has more respect around it now because of people like Mo Salah,” he added.

 

 

The England-based quartet of Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Ravel Morrison, and Liam Moore have been recalled to the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad for the team’s upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers.

Antonio, the in-form West Ham striker, was controversially not available for the previous round after miscommunication between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the player’s agent and club. 

The issue stemmed from the forward not being allowed to carry his personal physio to the matches.  With the issue now resolved, however, Antonio is expected to return to the line-up for the first time since facing Panama in September. 

Aston Villa’s Bailey, who has recently recovered from injury, could be in line to appear for the first time in the final round.  Reading’s Moore, who pulled out of the previous round of games with an injury concern, has also been recalled.  Derby’s Morrison will also return to the squad for the first time since appearing in the 3-0 loss to Panama.  Major League Soccer Philadelphia Union’s Cory Burke has also been recalled to the squad after missing the previous round with an ankle injury.

The Jamaicans will face El Salvador on November 12 and the United States on November 16.  

 Full Squad: Andre Blake, Dillon Barnes, Jeadine White, Liam Moore, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Kemar Lawrence, Oniel Fisher, Gregory Leigh, Alvas Powell, Anthony Grant, Ravel Morrison, Devon Williams, Je-Vaughn Watson, Lamar Walker, Bobby Reid, Junior Flemmings, Cory Burke, Javon East, Shamar Nicholson, Andre Gray, Michail Antonio, Kemar Roofe, Leon Bailey.

Around 5000 fully vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend the Jamaica Reggae Boyz upcoming World Cup qualifier against the United States after the country’s government reversed its previous position.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a request by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to allow fully vaccinated fans into the country’s National Stadium for the first time since the start of the qualifiers had been denied.

The team’s previous home matches against Panama and Canada were played in front of an empty stadium due to the country’s existing Covid-19 protocols.  The JFF attempted to rectify the situation by implementing plans and protocols that would allow some fully vaccinated patrons to enter the match.  Initially, the proposal was rejected by the government who cited concerns regarding the ability of the entities to ensure proof of vaccination for patrons.  Following an emergency meeting, at the JFF headquarters on Thursday, however, the parties have now reached an understanding to allow the stadium to be occupied at around 14 percent capacity, consisting of fully vaccinated fans, for the encounter.

With only 12.4 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated, however, the number of patrons who will be able to take advantage of the opportunity remains to be seen.  The vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the region and lowest among the countries participating in the final round.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will face another empty stadium for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against the United States, after a request for permission to have fully vaccinated fans attend the game was denied by the government.

The Jamaicans are scheduled to face the United States in a crucial encounter on November 16, as the team looks to push itself back into contention for a spot at next year’s World Cup. 

So far, the team is the only country not to allow fans into the stadium, in some capacity.  However, with an estimate of just 12.4 percent of the population being fully vaccinated Jamaica also has the lowest rate of any nation in the final round and is the only one below 20 percent.

According to a recent press release the denial was based on concerns regarding the capacity and logistics required to ensure that only vaccinated persons were allowed inside the stadium.  The decision caught Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts off guard as, according to him, the football body had harboured optimism of having fans return in some capacity for the upcoming round, following positive talks with government entities.

“We had discussions with persons from the Ministry of Health and we would have put our ID unit in motion.  In fact, one suggestion was that we would merge both ID entities so that once you apply for a ticket the JFF could say to you we can or cannot verify your vaccination,” Ricketts told TVJ.

“We put everything in place, all the plans.  We made several site visits.  We were working closely with IPL on how to have the patrons seated.  We had a meeting and went through all the protocols and that gave us the confidence that we would have been permitted to have fans.”

The government has indicated, however, that the proposal is under review and the request could be granted in time for the January round of matches. The team is currently in 6th place on 5 points, three outside of an automatic qualifying spot.

English Premier League (EPL) club West Ham has committed to sending a specialist doctor with star forward Michail Antonio whenever he is called up for international duty with Jamaica.

The player, who made his debut for the Caribbean team against Panama in September, did not travel for the team’s most recent round of matches against the United States, Canada, and Honduras.

 According to reports, the issue stemmed from a mix-up between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the player’s club and agent that did not allow Antonio to carry his own personal physician.  The issue has since been resolved, however, and the player will be free to join the team for a crucial round of matches next month.

West Ham have appointed the club’s head of medical services Richard Collinge to travel with the player to ensure the continued health of his hamstrings.  The player has had a history of hamstring injuries and the club is clearly determined to take all precautions to make sure the 31-year-old stays in top shape.  With five goals scored in the EPL already this season, which puts him in the top three, Antonio has been one of the club’s most influential players this season.

Having won their first match of the World Cup qualifiers in the previous round against Honduras, Jamaica will be hoping the return of Antonio will turbocharge the team’s campaign with fixtures away to El Salvador and at home to the United States.

Former Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Ryan Thompson has questioned the practice of labelling the country’s national representatives as foreign-based or English-based in light of questions regarding the team’s unity.

In recent months, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has looked to bolster the experience and quality in the team’s ranks by extending an invitation to players who qualify to represent the country by virtue of having Jamaican heritage.  Several players have accepted the offer but the team's overall integration has not gone smoothly.

The situation was similar to the team’s historic 1998 campaign when a mix of players, some based in Jamaica and English players of Jamaica heritage qualified the unit for the tournament in France.  Ahead of its historic feat, there had also been controversy surrounding the inclusion of the players who were based abroad.

Internationally, players opting to represent countries where they were not born is hardly an unusual situation.  The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Benteke, and Raheem Sterling, who was born in Jamaica but represents England, are among just a few who feature on the list.

As it relates to the current crop, however, Thompson believes the aim must be to get the team to gel as soon as possible, a goal that having player labels and categories is unlikely to help.

“If we can get the team to gel and call everyone Jamaican and not local based or foreign-based or English based, whatever it is, that’s when we will really be able to do some damage in the world, not just the Caribbean,” Thompson told TVJ Sports.

‘You don’t hear the German team talking about, oh this guy was from Austria or the US saying the same thing about German-based players.  They're Americans, why are we throwing labels on our players?”

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz jumpstarted their fading hopes of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup following a 2-0 away win over Honduras, at the Estadio Olimpico, on Tuesday.

Goals from Kemar Roofe and Oniel Fisher gave the team their first win of the campaign, a result that lifted the Jamaicans from the bottom of the table for the time in six games.  Heading into the encounter both teams were in desperate need of a win, with Honduras beginning the match just a point above the Jamaicans in 7th place.

After dominating the early opportunities, it was Roofe who put the Jamaicans in the lead after redirecting a shot from Shamar Nicholson into the back of the net in the 38th minute.  The home team battled to get back on level terms but struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities.

Fisher made the game safe for the Jamaicans with a well-taken effort in the 79th minute.  Having joined the attack, the right-back collected a layoff from substitute Andre Gray before curling a shot around Honduras goalkeeper Luis López and into the net.

  Jamaica’s campaign to earn a spot in Qatar continues with a trip to El Salvador to open the November international window, while Honduras hosts Panama.

The Jamaica Reggae Boyz will be without two key members of the squad heading into Wednesday’s crucial qualifier against Honduras with both defender Alvas Powell and forward Jamal Lowe ruled out of the encounter.

Powell, who started but did not finish Sunday’s encounter against Canada, has been diagnosed with a Grade I hamstring strain and will not be able to take part in the match against Honduras.  Typically deployed at right-back, Powell began the game at centre back. 

Regular last man Damion Lowe had been ruled out of the counter based on an accumulation of cards.  Lowe will return to the line-up for the upcoming encounter.

Meanwhile, Lowe will be returning to Championship club AFC Bournemouth based on an agreement ahead of the qualifying round.  The player started against the United States and came off the substitute’s bench against Canada.

With just two points from their first five matches the team currently sits at the bottom of the table, Honduras who are also yet to secure a win are one point above the Jamaicans in the standings.

A scoreless draw between Jamaica and Canada on Sunday at Independence Park in Kingston took Jamaica to a pair of points thus far in the final round of World Cup qualification, while Canada earned its second consecutive away draw and now sits on seven points.

After an even first half, things heated up in the second 45 minutes. Canada had a chance just after the ball started rolling again before a Jamaica free kick in the 50th minute taken by Kemar Lawrence was met by Junior Flemmings, who hit the post with a header.

In the 80th minute, Jamaica’s Kemar Roofe led a counter-attack and tried his luck from outside the box with a strong right-footed effort, but narrowly missed the upper 90 of Canada GK Maxime Crepeau’s net.

 Canada kept pushing for the breakthrough goal as well, with chances in the 84th minute when Alistar Johnson was unable to get his effort on target after a nice build-up, followed by an opportunity in the 86th minute when Alphonso Davies pulled a few tricks out of his bag, but ultimately ran into the Jamaican defence in the area.

Lawrence once again drew Crepeau into action as the match ticked into the final minute of stoppage time, but the Canadian shot-stopper made the save to preserve the point.

Jamaica now hits the road again, travelling to face Honduras. Canada will play its first home match of the October FIFA window on Wednesday, welcoming Panama to BMO Field in Toronto.

 

West Ham forward Michail Antonio has pulled out of Jamaica’s upcoming round of qualifiers after citing logistical and travel difficulties with the upcoming set of fixtures.

The in-form forward, who made his national debut against Panama in the previous round, was expected to be part of the team for three upcoming matches against the United States, Canada, and Honduras.

With the USA game expected to kick off on Thursday, however, the player has communicated via a brief release that he will not be joining up with the squad as planned.

“I can confirm that, unfortunately, I will not be joining up with the Jamaica national squad for the World Cup qualifying matches this week. Myself, West Ham United, and Jamaica have all agreed that, given the logistical and travel difficulties involved at present, it is better for me to remain with the Club in London at this time. I remain fully committed to Jamaica and look forward to representing my country in the future.”

The news will come as a blow to a Jamaica forward line-up that will be somewhat shorthanded. The team will also be without Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey who remains unavailable due to injury and Philadelphia Union’s Corey Burke who suffered an ankle injury in training. Defender Liam Moore, Ethan Pinnock and midfielder Daniel Johnson have also withdrawn from the squad.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been hit by another injury ahead of next month’s round of World Cup qualifiers with forward Cory Burke ruled out of the matches.

The 29-year-old player was a hardworking physical presence at the top of the line-up for the team in the first three fixtures of the final round, against Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica.

The player, however, went down with an injury during a recent training session and while it was hoped that he would have not missed more than a few days, the prognosis puts the striker’s recovery period at six weeks.

The Jamaican national team will resume competed in the qualifiers with a match away to the United States on October 7th.   The other two matches for the round will include a home game against Canada three days later and end with an away trip to Honduras.

The team has been hit by bad injury news in recent weeks with forward Shamar Nicholson also a doubt for the round after suffering a broken jaw.  Winger Leon Bailey will also not be available after suffering a thigh injury while in action for Aston Villa.  Reading’s Liam Moore is also likely to be unavailable after spending a few weeks on the sidelines after also sustaining an ankle injury.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) petitioned the Jamaican government to allow some fans into the National Stadium for upcoming home World Cup qualifiers.

The Reggae Boyz will be back in action next month when they tackle the United States on October 7 and play their second home game of the qualifiers against Canada.  The Jamaicans had a chastening start to their home campaign, following a 3-0 home loss to Panama earlier this month.

Due to existing coronavirus protocols, the match was, however, played in front of an empty stadium.  The JFF, however, hopes to have at least some fans for next month’s second round.  Based on the local football body’s proposal only a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the match, and they must provide proof of vaccination in order to be able to do so.

The Reggae Boyz, who are looking to get to the World Cup for the first time in over 23 years, find themselves at the bottom of the eight-team group after the first three games.  The Boyz opened with a 2-1 loss away to Mexico before the damaging 3-0 home loss to Panama.  The team, however, got the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica.

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