Cassava Piece, Grant’s Pen, Commons, and Stony Hill are some of the first communities in Jamaica to begin benefitting from the Leon Bailey Foundation.

Leon Bailey and his manager Craig Butler, through his Phoenix Academy, had announced recently, a partnership to help alleviate the inevitable hardships that would come to especially poorer communities amid economic downturn, a symptom of the spread of COVID-19.

According to reports, more than 100 people from the communities benefited from the foundation’s gift of groceries.  

“We see the needs of our people and will do our best to help where it counts most,” said Bailey, a Jamaican winger, who plies his trade for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga.

Before the spread of COVID-19 shut down football the world over, Bailey had been rumoured to have, not for the first time in his fledgeling career, been the target of English Premier League clubs. Chelsea FC have been banded about as frontrunners for the star’s signature after it was said the club had been preparing an £85 million bid.

However, there is also interest inside of Germany with Bayern Munich said to be on the lookout.

While there is no football and obviously no transfer business, Bailey has found a way to give back.

According to a report in the Jamaica Observer, recipients of groceries would be receiving every two weeks.

The package of groceries includes flour, rice, corned beef, salt fish, baked beans, sausages, condensed milk, cooking oil, and toiletries.

“We want to help as best as we can and are giving out packages each day, so they can at least cook food and be okay for the day, and tomorrow we come again,” said Butler, who is in Jamaica while Bailey remains in Germany.

In a video message, Bailey implored other sports stars and those who have the means to, to join in his campaign to help fight the spread of the Coronavirus.

“Anyone who wants to help the movement and play a part can reach out, and together we can overcome this obstacle. So, please, guys, be safe, stay strong and look forward to better days. Keep our fingers crossed and believe in God,” he said.

The foundation is a partnership among Bailey, the Phoenix Academy and Empire Entertainment.

Bayern Leverkusen star Leon Bailey has admitted it is a different feeling for players to compete in an empty stadium but agrees it is a necessary evil in light of the threat posed by COVID19.

The 22-year-old Jamaica international is expected to play a key role when the in-form German outfit takes on Scottish club Rangers, at Leverkusen's Bay Arena.  The match will, however, be missing a key element as it will be played behind closed doors, becoming a part of Europe's struggles to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

With over 1000 people having tested positive for the coronavirus in the country, the German Football League (DFL) decided to close games on a case by case basis.  The trend has already strongly taken root across Europe with many leagues opting for fan free matches.  It has already been confirmed that the second leg of the tie, in Scotland, will also be played behind closed doors.

“It affects us because football is for the fans.  Playing behind closed doors is always a different type of feeling,” Bailey told BBC Sports Scotland.

“But I mean we also have to think about the safety of others, and we have to do what we have to do,” he added.

“Our health come first.  Without health, there is no life.”

 

 

A confident Davion Ferguson, coach of triumphant Manning Cup champions Jamaica College, insists the team was always confident of turning the tables on St Andrew Technical (STATHS) a team that defeated them just two rounds prior.

 For the second consecutive match in a row Jamaica College were perfect from the penalty spot, after failing to find the goal against STATHS in regular time.  Just as they had against Kingston College in the semifinals, JC managed to turn the tables on a team that had gotten the better of them earlier this season. 

In the quarterfinal round, it was STATHS who triumphed 2-1, when it counted most it was JC who managed to repeat the result of the 2017 Manning Cup final to claim an unprecedented 30th title.  Despite heading into the final as slight underdogs Ferguson insists the team was always confident of getting revenge on their opponents.

“We were very confident.  We re-watched the video from the first game, and I believe I can say publicly that tactically we got that wrong, but we assessed ourselves and we came back here,” Ferguson said.

“We should have won it in 90 but in penalties, it was sweet the same,” he added.

“When set out in June to accomplish this and we did.  These boys are champions and it’s just tremendous.”

 

 

 The Manning Cup semi-finals between rivals JC and KC was marred after one player bit into the shoulder of his opponent and was slapped in return.

Jamaica international Rodolph Austin recently admitted he was forced to learn the hard way when it comes to the seriousness of local rivalries in English football.

The hard-nosed central midfielder spent three seasons at the West Yorkshire club Leeds United where he became somewhat of a folk hero for his no-holds-barred brand of play.  The Jamaican, who signed for the club in 2012, was given an education on the nature of English football’s rivalries soon after at a most unlikely place, the car dealership.

"I needed a car and I remember going to a dealership.  I saw a red Audi and I remember saying: 'Wow, this is nice, I'm going to get it!’

Austin told Esbjerg fB, his current club in Denmark.

"I went up to the guy and asked him the price for the red Audi outside and he said: 'You can't get it.' So I said: 'I have the money, why can't I get it?”

"He said: 'When you play for Leeds, you can't drive anything red, you can't have anything to do with anything red.' I was like: 'Why?'

"He said: 'You cannot have anything to do with red because of the rivalry between Manchester United and Leeds is so big so no-one can wear red or have anything to do with red.'

"I didn't even know the guy was a Leeds fan and it just shows you the rivalry so strongly and I had to end up buying a white car."

Austin made more than 100 appearances for the Elland Road club, even winning the club’s goal of the season award in the 2014-2015 season.  He left England for Denmark after failing to secure a work permit in 2015.  The 34-year-old has made 84 appearances for the Jamaica national team.  The player has served as captain for both Leeds and his national team.

 

A furious late-game rally from Mount Pleasant kept the pressure on Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) leaders Waterhouse after they secured a 2-1 win over Humble Lion.

The St Ann-based club seemed well on their way to a home loss after Rohan Richards had given Humble Lion the lead at the stroke of halftime.  With the advantage holding for most of the second half, Mount Pleasant only sprang into action in the final 10 minutes.  Sue-Lae McCalla finally brought the team back on level terms in the 86th minute and in the dying embers of the game, Jourdaine Fletcher scored again to leave Humble Lion stunned.  The win was the fifth in a row for the surging Mount Pleasant.

Elsewhere, the downward spiral continued for previous league leaders Molynes United who crashed to a fourth loss in five games following a 2-1 loss to UWI.  Sergini Frankson gave the promoted team the lead in the 13th minute but UWI struck back almost immediately when Shuwayne Barrett responded in the 17th minute.  Zhelano Barnes handed the visitors all three points from the penalty spot in the 57th minute.  In another game, ten-man Tivoli Gardens went down 1-0 to visiting Portmore United.  Forward Rondee Smith got the game’s only goal in the 72nd minute.  Elsewhere, a Dean-Andre Thomas double saw Dunbeholden snap a two-game winless streak with a 2-1 win over Vere United.

In the late kick-offs, goals from Kenroy Howell (37th), Tremaine Stewart (74th) and Colorado Murray (83rd) saw Waterhouse come from behind to secure a comprehensive 3-1 win over Harbour View.  Bebeto McDonald had given the home team the lead in the 28th minute.  In the other game, Arnett Gardens cruised to a 4-2 win over Cavalier.

Dependable Dinthill Technical striker Rajae Layne struck twice as the team served up a surprise 2-1 win over Cornwall College to secure a place in the daCosta final at the Montego Bay Complex on Wednesday.

The typically lethal Layne, however, may have considered himself a bit fortunate to give the team the lead, against the run of play, as it was the favourites who dominated the early exchanges.  The forward took full advantage of the team’s first meaningful attack in the third minute, however, his weak connection to a deflected cross looping over Cornwall College custodian Peter Sinclair and high into the net.

Cornwall would continue to pour forward, however, but found reply, much as they have for most of the season, through Brandon Curate’s trusted left foot.  The converted striker scored his 11th goal of the season after whipping in a trademark freekick, which nestled into the net at the far post.

Despite Cornwall again having the better of the place for a good chunk of the second half, the day would belong to Layne and Dinthill. 

This time, the striker made use of sloppy handling of the ball just outside the 18-yard area by the Cornwall defense, before driving into the box to calmly slot past Sinclair, in the 73rd minute.  Dinthill will meet Clarendon College in the final, following their 3-0 victory over McGrath.

Cardel Benbow got the crucial goal for Mount Pleasant as they made ground on the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) leaders on Sunday.

The slippery Benbow found the back of the net in the 15th minute with Dunbeholden unable to find a way back into the game.  The hosts were reduced to 10-men in the 88-minute when Shevan James received a second yellow card.

League leaders Waterhouse were forced to battle from behind to earn a share of the points.

Shai Smith gave Portmore United an unexpected lead in the 19th minute but Colorado Murray finally managed to pull the teams level with a goal in the 75th minute.

Second place Molynes United were also forced to settled for a share of the points but were pegged back after Sergeni Frankson 26th minute penalty established an early lead.  Newton Sterling found the back of the net for a second straight week, however, after Tivoli struck back in the 45th minute.

In other games, Cavalier and Vere United played to a 0-0 draw while Humble Lion and UWI also had to settle for splitting the points after playing to a 1-1 tie.  Renae Lloyd put UWI in the lead in the 20th but Thorn Simpson brought the home team back on level terms 10 minutes later.

 

Defending champions Kingston College (KC) and Wolmer’s Boys battled to a 1-1 draw, while Camperdown High defeated Charlie Smith High 4-0 as quarter-final action continued in Group A of the 2019 ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup football competition at the Stadium East field on Tuesday.

The results mean that KC, Wolmer’s Boys and Camperdown High will be fighting for two semi-final spots from the group heading into the final set of matches, while Jerome Waite-coached Charlie Smith High, the 1988, 1990 and 1995 champions, have been eliminated.

KC and Wolmer’s Boys are locked on four points from two matches but the defending champions are leading the group courtesy of a goal difference of plus five compared to plus one. Camperdown High, which bounced back from their 3-2 defeat against Wolmer’s Boys in the opening set of matches last Wednesday, hold down third place with three points.

Charlie Smith High are without a point from their two games as they went down 5-0 to KC last Thursday.

In the curtain-raiser at the Stadium East, Shaqueil Bradford scored a hat-trick to lead Camperdown High to their 4-0 demolition of Charlie Smith High.

Camperdown High took control of the match from the first half which produced two of the four goals.

Shawn Daley opened the scoring in the 27th minute and Bradford doubled the lead on the stroke of half time.

Bradford added his second goal in the 67th minute and completed the hat trick in the 83rd minute.

In the second game, KC took a well-deserved lead in the 17th minute through leading striker Dwayne Atkinson and then missed numerous scoring opportunities and allowed Wolmer’s back into the game.

Talisman Ronaldo Webster, formerly of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), responded for Wolmer’s in the 73rd minute with his 17th goal of the season.

The result kept KC’s undefeated record intact but ruined their perfect record. The Purples entered the day with a perfect record of 14 victories in all competitions this season and dropped their first points in the team's 15th match.

Webster’s goal was only the third conceded by KC so far this season.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has begun light training after recovering from his latest injury setback.

The 22-year-old Bundesliga talent has endured a stop-start kind of season after first suffering a hamstring injury towards the end of last term.  The winger recently sat out of action for a full month after sustaining an injury during the team’s Champion’s League tie away to Lokomotiv Moscow.

The player’s return to the pitch was, however, short-lived as he suffered a setback while preparing to return the team for its encounter against Eintracht Frankfurt.  While the player has recovered from the latest hamstring injury, however, it is unlikely that he will feature against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

In addition to Bailey the club has also seen injuries affect Daley Sinkgraven, Lars Bender, Wendell and Charles Aranguiz.  The coach, however, would not recover the roles if any the players will play in the weekend’s fixture.

"Daley Sinkgraven and Lars Bender won't play. Wendell, Charles Aranguiz and Leon Bailey all trained with us yesterday, but very lightly. That’s all I can say about it at the moment,"  Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz  Bosz said.

 

 

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is primed to return to action for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen having fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered last month.

The 22-year-old, who is looking to rediscover his best form at the Bundesliga club, could be on the bench for the team’s match away to Eintracht Frankfurt.  Prior to the injury, the winger made four appearances for the team, scoring once.

Bailey has had a torrid time of late with injuries.  In April the player experienced another setback, on that occasion straining a thigh muscle.  Having worked hard at rehabilitation, the player insists he is ready to go again and could be in line for a start.

"I am back now, and I feel very good.  But of course, after an injury, it's important not to rush anything. Maybe I come off the bench,” Bailey said.

"I think I'll be in the squad, but I do not know if I'll start."

In addition to Bailey, other players making a comeback are Lars Bender and Jonathan Tah.

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