Leon Bailey a no-go as JFF names 30-man squad for Japan and Serbia friendlies in June

By May 13, 2021

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.

 Both players were excluded from a Jamaica 30-man squad because they have not yet signed wage contracts with the Jamaica Football Federation. As a result, neither player has been included in a 30-man Jamaica squad set to leave on May 30 for matches against number 28th ranked Japan on Thursday, June 3 in Sakura; 25th ranked Serbia on Monday, June 7 in Kobe, and the Japanese Olympic team on June 12 in Nagoya.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts revealed that the management of the Bayer Leverkusen winger has committed to signing his contract but they have yet to do so. “There is a little bit of tardiness on behalf of Leon and his management. They have not yet signed the contract. I think we would have gotten a verbal commitment that he would so in short order,” Ricketts said.

“Same thing goes for Michail Antonio. His agent has indicated that they have not yet gone through the document in its entirety so they will do so in short order as soon as they have gone through and are comfortable with the content of the document.

“So, we are hopeful that these contracts will be signed soon and based on indications from Coach Whitmore these players will be part of the set-up as soon as the contracts are signed.”

The JFF president said other players could also join the squad as soon as ongoing discussions have been successfully concluded.

Meanwhile, the 30-man squad will include Andre Blake, Dennis Taylor, Jaedine White, Dillon Barnes, Adrian Mariappa, Kasey Palmer, Amari Bell, Kemar Lawrence, Wesley Harding, Oneil Fisher, Alvas Powell, Devon Williams, Kevon Lambert, Ravel Morrison, Blair Turgott, Junior Flemmings, Damion Lowe, Luca Levee, Tyreek McGhee, Lamar Walker, Bobby Reid, Javon East, Shemar Nicholson, Cory Burke, Andre Gray, Jashaun Anglin, Ethan Pinnock, Michael Hector, Kevaugn Isaacs, Liam Moore.

Coach Theodore Whitmore said as the team approaches a crucial period in its preparation, the players are required to consistently bring out their best.

“This is an important year for the Reggae Boyz insofar as international competition is concerned. The CONCACAF Gold Cup is slated for July and the FIFA 2020 World Cup qualifiers will kick off in September. We will be very busy during the second half of this year,” Whitmore said. “We welcome the two matches against Japan and Serbia. These are important games to fine-tune preparations for the Gold Cup.

“We anticipate a very competitive roster. Each player, domestic and foreign-based, must use every available opportunity to perform and press their case for selection. We have spent the last three years looking, moulding and preparing. Now is the time to deliver.

“We need each player to challenge himself and take responsibility, to be accountable on and off the pitch for performance and conduct. The standards and expectations are high.”

Whitmore also commended the JFF and the players for settling the wage dispute which has now removed an obstacle from their period of preparation and urged Corporate Jamaica to support the team as he believes has the talent to achieve their goal of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Whitmore scored both goals in Jamaica’s 2-1 victory over Japan during the 1998 World Cup in France but the Reggae Boyz lost their encounter against the Japanese 1-0 in 2014.

Jamaica last played Serbia in 2017 and lost that match 2-1.

President Ricketts said the JFF is satisfied with the safety arrangements to be put in place for the three matches.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Casemiro cites Madrid team-mates Modric and Kroos as world's best midfielders Casemiro cites Madrid team-mates Modric and Kroos as world's best midfielders

    Casemiro has crowned team-mates Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as "possibly the best two midfielders in the world".

    Madrid ran out 2-0 winners over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup on Wednesday, thanks to goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema.

    Carlo Ancelotti stuck with the same line-up that had started against Liverpool in May's Champions League final, and midfield trio Casemiro, Kroos and Modric turned in a supreme display.

    Modric, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, completed 53 of 57 passes (93 per cent) and laid on two chances for team-mates in Helsinki, while Kroos enjoyed 120 touches, completed 97 passes and gained possession nine times.

    Only UEFA's man of the match Casemiro (10) bettered that latter figure, and the Brazil international also went close to a spectacular goal when he rattled the crossbar from long range on his weaker left foot – that shot was teed up by Modric.

    The trio's performances led Carlo Ancelotti to highlight Madrid's experience as a crucial factor in their victory after full-time, and Casemiro knows he is playing with two of the best in the business.

    "We know each other just by looking at one another," he told a post-match news conference.

    "I've got an easy job, we're talking about Kroos and Modric who are possibly the best two midfielders in the world. 

    "There are things in football that cannot be explained, some things just happen in football. I hope we'll continue to be together for a long time to come."

     

    While Madrid's thrilling 2021-22 Champions League triumph saw several energetic cameos by young midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, the 14-time European champions have further bolstered that area of the pitch with the recent acquisition of Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco.

    Casemiro welcomes the competition provided by the 22-year-old's arrival and has high hopes for the France international.

    "It hasn't annoyed me, everyone knows about my character and loyalty for this club, I'll be working in the same way," Casemiro said.

    "You only see the 90 minutes but I'll keep making sacrifices, including on the pitch and in training.

    "I think Tchouameni is a top player, this club speaks for itself – everybody gives their all. All I can say to him is keep doing what he's doing, keep showing in training and do it out on the pitch."

  • Ancelotti has 'no doubt' that Benzema is world's best Ancelotti has 'no doubt' that Benzema is world's best

    Carlo Ancelotti had little hesitancy in hailing Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema as the best player in world football.

    Benzema scored Madrid's second goal in a 2-0 Super Cup triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

    In the process, he became the club's outright second-highest goalscorer, having netted for the 324th time for Madrid.

    That nudged the 34-year-old – who has replaced the departed Marcelo as Madrid's club captain – ahead of Los Blancos great Raul, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (450) ahead of him in the record books.

    Since the start of last season, Benzema has scored 45 goals in all competitions for Madrid. That is a tally bettered only by new Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski (50), when it comes to players from Europe's top five leagues.

    With this year's Ballon d'Or awards taking place prior to the World Cup, Benzema seems a certainty to be in the running for the prize.

    In a pre-match media briefing on Tuesday, Benzema explained that it was not for him to say if he is the world's best, but instead he would leave it up to others to decide. 

    Asked in his post-match news conference if Benzema – who had four shots and created three chances in Madrid's win on Wednesday - could be considered the best player on the planet, Ancelotti was effusive in his reply.

     

    "I think [he is the best], yes," Ancelotti said. "He is our most important player right now, the most efficient player in the world at this moment.

    "Karim was the most important in the Champions League, even though he did not score in the final, because of his [all-round] game and his goals got us to the final, against Manchester City and Chelsea, against Paris Saint-Germain.

    "He's very important for us. There is no doubt, at the moment, that he is the best player in the world."

    As well as hailing a standout individual in Benzema, Ancelotti - the first coach to win the Super Cup on four separate occasions - said this Madrid dressing room is the best he has worked with in his illustrious career.

    "Yes, absolutely, no doubt about that," the Italian explained. "It is a pleasure to coach this group, it's a healthy atmosphere, good vibes between everyone, winning games and having success helps, but it all about the players."

  • Ancelotti has the 'desire of a child' to keep winning – Casemiro Ancelotti has the 'desire of a child' to keep winning – Casemiro

    Carlo Ancelotti has the "desire of a child" to keep winning trophies, according to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro.

    Los Blancos followed up last season's Champions League triumph by beating Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

    David Alaba put Madrid ahead before Karim Benzema moved to outright second in the club's all-time goalscoring charts with a second-half finish past Kevin Trapp.

    Benzema's effort took him to 324 goals in all competitions for Madrid, putting him one ahead of legendary Spain forward Raul and trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

    The triumph in Helsinki makes Ancelotti the first coach to win the Super Cup four times, and Casemiro does not think the Italian is planning to stop collecting the silverware anytime soon.

    "I've spoken many times about Carlo Ancelotti, he's a footballing legend," Casemiro, who was named man of the match after a dominant midfield display, told a media conference.

    "I speak with my heart when I say how much I admire him. I think he's 63 now, but he still wants to win.

    "He has the desire of a child to keep winning, so that's great for us. With the wealth of experience he has, he can bring so much. He has helped us win many trophies.

    "He deserves it; he is a wonderful coach and an absolutely fantastic person. When there's a change of the coach it's important to have a winning desire, and we've certainly had that with Carlo Ancelotti."

    Madrid will have more players than most involved in the mid-season World Cup in Qatar, yet Casemiro does not think it will have a negative impact on the club's season.

    "We don't need to make many changes; we're professional and want to win," the Brazil international said.  

    "We're excited about playing at the World Cup. We've never had the opportunity and we're excited to play at one in the middle of the season.

    "I don't think it will change a player's mentality. In terms of staying fit I don't think it changes much."

    While Ancelotti also has no concerns about the build-up to the tournament, he does worry about the impact of his players not having a proper break before resuming domestic football.

    "Until the start of the World Cup we are not going to have any problems," he told reporters.

    "They will be focused and fit for the World Cup, but when the players are back that's when we have the doubts.

    "Before we don't have a lot of problems. After we have to check, they could be tired. Most of them usually after a World Cup can go on holiday, but after this World Cup they will be going into the tough moment of the season."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.