JOA J$15m equipment grant to benefit sporting bodies

By Sports Desk July 08, 2021

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), sports’ parent body locally, will be investing $15 million into its Equipment Grant to benefit its member bodies.

Financing for the program was secured through a three-year partnership worth $45 million with Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL). At the time when the agreement was signed in April, the JOA had made known its plans to make funds available to sporting associations for equipment, noting that it is critical to building capacity for sport and the performance of athletes.

This is the second activation of the Supreme Ventures partnership with the JOA after they invested $7.5 million in the Jamaica National Trials last month.

Also, for some associations, the acquisition of equipment has been expensive and beyond their grasp, which has consequences for athletes whose daily regimen of exercise constitutes training with equipment, which is vital to their preparation and overall development.

The Equipment Grant is another facet of the JOA’s Olympic Invest initiative that was launched in 2020, which has, among its primary objectives, the sustainability and viability of Olympic and non-Olympic sports. Some of the members that will be benefitting from this grant are Jamaica Triathlon Association, Jamaica Wrestling Federation, Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, Jamaica Cricket Association and Jamaica Lawn Bowling Association.

With an oft-expressed view to equip and empower its member associations by providing the means to opportunity and success, the JOA further maintains the provision of the equipment is enabling sport with the required tools of the trade.

This program follows upon the recently announced partnership with select members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council to raise $200 million through a ‘Dollar Plan’ campaign that will be done later this year. These funds raised will be used to expand the JOA funding portfolio to support a wider diversity in sports over the next quadrennial.

 

 

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    It is back to the drawing board for Jamaica head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who will be chasing regional bragging rights when the leading 16 nations from the Caribbean as well as North and South America tackle the marquee tournament.

    Although his ultimate goal would be for the Reggae Boyz to lift the crown in Florida on 14 July, Jamaica need to navigate themselves out of the group phases before trying to net the top prize.

    The 2024 Copa America, hosted in the US from 20 June to 14 July, will feature 10 CONMEBOL members from South America and six invited countries from the North America and Caribbean CONCACAF region.

    All eyes will be on Argentina, the defending champions and FIFA World Cup winners, to make it a hat-trick of trophies.

    GROUP A | Argentina, Chile, Peru, Chile
    Argentina hardly ever concede goals, kick-off their campaign with a star-stunned squad that includes Angel Di Maria, the legendary Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Montiel, whose spot-kick secured the World Cup final win over France.

    Argentina beat both Chile (2-1) and Peru (2-0) in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Yet Peru, who failed to get a shot on target in their November tie with Messi and his mates, had held Argentina to three draws on the spin before their last encounter.

    Chile, the Copa America 2016 champions Chile, have been off colour recently under veteran manager Jorge Fossati, and rely on veterans — like Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas — to add sparks.

    Canada should be better than their results suggest under recently appointed head coach Jesse Marsh, who won two caps for the US. He has a plethora of talents — like Alphonso Davies, Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David — keen to start matches on Canada’s Copa America
    Prediction: 1st Argentina, 2nd Canada, 3rd Chile, 4th Peru

    GROUP B | Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Jamaica

    Mexico went two-and-a-half matches without scoring at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. They brought in Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano as interim head coach for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and after winning the top prize he was appointed on a permanent basis. Yet he is surprisingly shelving veterans for the Copa America, instead giving emerging talents an opportunity to showcase their silky skills.

    This appears to be a hit and miss group with Ecuador, Jamaica and Venezuela all capable of beating understrength Mexico. However, the Mexicans will benefit from vociferous support in the stadiums.

    Ecuador and Venezuela ended in a bore scoreless draw last October. Defensively-minded Ecuador have stars Moises Caicedo, Piero Hincapie and Willian Pacho. Venezuela have hit a purple patch by purring through their World Cup qualifiers.

    Jamaica still have failed to produce eye-catching displays under former Iceland head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, despite their array of English Premier League stars. The Boyz just grind out results, although tend to make good progress in tournaments mainly thanks to reliable shotstopper Andre Blake.

    Prediction: 1st Mexico, 2nd Jamaica, 3rd Venezuela, 4th Ecuador

    GROUP C | Uruguay, USA, Bolivia, Panama

    Uruguay are a real force to be reckoned with, with stunning victories over Argentina and Brazil last year under head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Uruguay are a terrific blend of future stars and seasoned aces with names like Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez, Manuel Ugarte and Fede Valverde enough to scare opponents.

    The US will be under pressure with high expectations from their fans on home soil. Despite being FIFA’s highest-ranked CONCACAF side, there are flaws with defensive uncertainty and an inability to find the back of the net despite having an array of striking power from the likes of Folarin Balogun, Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, Christian Pulisic and Haji Wright.

    Panama, narrowly beaten by Mexico in the Gold Cup final, will kick themselves if they fail to reach the quarter-finals. They are brimming with confidence having hit a rich vein of form.

    Bolivia are the weakest South American side, with a dreadful World Cup qualifying campaign. They are unlikely to end their 11-match run of failing to win a Copa America group stage match.

    Prediction: 1st Uruguay, 2nd Panama, 3rd USA, 4th Bolivia
    GROUP D | Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica

    Colombia have become a fantastic side since hiring head coach Nestor Lorenzo last year. They arrive at the Copa Amercia as the only South American nation unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers, including a 2-1 win over Brazil last year. Striker Luis Diaz can be lethal, and will be keen to better his tally of four goals at 2021 Copa America.

    Five-time World Cup winners Brazil, having tasted three World Cup qualification defeats on the bounce for their worst run since 2001 are arguably no longer the force they once were. After their 1-0 reversal to Argentina last November, their first-ever home World Cup qualifying loss, Dorival Junior was brought in as head coach. Under Junior’s tutelage they beat England and drew with Spain. Hot-shots Vinicius Junior and 17-year-old wonderkid Endrick are aiming to transform Brazil’s fortunes.

    Paraguay will be aiming to shoot down Brazil, but need a solid goalscorer. They are pretty solid defensively, and could be sensational if midfield maestro Miguel Almiron and striker Julio Enciso can replicate their silky skills seen in the English Premier League. Costa Rica face an uphill task to navigate their way to the knockout stages, and there will be big boots to fill between the sticks with iconic keeper Keylor Navas recently announcing his international retirement.

    Prediction: 1st Colombia, 2nd Brazil, 3rd Paraguay, 4th Costa Rica

     

  • Leon Bailey snubs Jamaica after being named in Reggae Boyz Copa America squad Leon Bailey snubs Jamaica after being named in Reggae Boyz Copa America squad

    In an unfortunate developing situation, Jamaica and Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey has withdrawn from the Reggae Boyz 26-man squad named for the upcoming Copa America tournament. His inclusion and subsequent withdrawal comes amid controversy and conflicting statements from Bailey and his representatives.

    Bailey, who was suspended for breaking curfew during the November international break, has not featured in Jamaica's recent matches, including the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against the Dominican Republic and Dominica earlier this month. Following the release of the squad by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Wednesday, Bailey took to Instagram on Wednesday night to label the selection as "misleading information."

    The winger’s father, Craig Butler, reiterated Bailey’s stance on social media, stating that his son's decision to step back from international duty remains unchanged. "We kindly ask that you respect his wishes at this time," Butler wrote. "Posts made on social media that are surfacing at this time is a misrepresentation of his position. We wish the Reggae Boyz well in the Copa America competition and he, along with his management team, will continue to support the Jamaica National Team at all levels … change must come…Respect and One Love for all."

    The JFF has not commented on whether they received a commitment from Bailey to participate in the tournament.

    Bailey, 26, recently expressed his deep love for his country and his frustrations with the national team environment. In a recent interview with The Cut, he said, "Honestly I don’t know when I will be back in the national team colours. I love my country to the core. I am always here in Jamaica. I can’t tell when I will be back in the national team colours. Once I feel like I have seen a little bit of change … I don’t know how to explain it but why I’m taking a break is because it is too much for my head sometimes."

    He continued, "A lot of people don’t understand or look deeply into why I am representing. I really love my country. I love my country so much that I am willing to get injured, willing to risk not going back to a starting Aston Villa team. I make so many sacrifices to make the national team. People don’t understand that and that’s what hurts me. It’s too much for my head sometimes."

    The Reggae Boyz squad for the Copa America is as follows:

    Goalkeepers: Shaquan Davis, Andre Blake, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Jahmali Waite

    Defenders: Dexter Lembikisa, Di'Shorn Bernard, Greg Leigh, Damion Lowe, Michael Hector, Richard King, Wesley Harding, Ethan Pinnock, Jon Bell, Amari'i Bell

    Midfielders: Kasey Palmer, Kevon Lambert, Bobby Reid, Alex Marshall, Joel Latibeaudiere, Karoy Anderson

    Forwards: Shamar Nicholson, Renaldo Cephas, Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray, Kaheim Dixon, Leon Bailey*

     

    With Bailey's participation in doubt, the Reggae Boyz will have to navigate the Copa America without one of their key players, unless further developments arise. The situation remains fluid, and fans are eagerly awaiting clarity on Bailey’s final decision regarding his national team duties.

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    Messi is gearing up for Argentina's Copa America title defence, which begins against Canada on June 20, while they will also face Chile and Peru in Group A.

    The final takes place on July 14, with the Olympic tournament beginning in Paris 10 days later. 

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    "I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation," Messi told ESPN.

    "It's hard [to think about the Olympics right now] because we're in Copa America. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything, I'm not at an age to be in everything.

    "I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I've been very lucky to play in the Olympics, and win it together with [Mascherano].

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