Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson knows his team is in for a tough time given their draw for next year’s CONMEBOL Copa America but fancies their chances of beating the odds.

This, as their Group B opponents –Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador –are all familiar foes to some extent, and given the significant improvements in terms of the quality of players his Reggae Boyz squad now boats, Hallgrimsson believes the group is going to produce some very interesting matches.

Though this will be his first time leading the Reggae Boyz in the prestigious Copa America, the occasion marks the third time Jamaica will grace South American tournament, after appearances in 2015 when they faced Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina, and 2016 when they opposed Venezuela, Mexico, and Uruguay.

“I didn't know much about Venezuela, but after thinking, it's tough teams really, all the three teams. If I can say something similar about them all, is that they are competitive, really hard working, and all of these nations play enthusiastic and tough tackling football. So, it's all tough, tough opponents, but I think it's quite an equal group,” Hallgrimsson said.

“So that means, I don't think any team will be a runaway winner with nine points in this group. I think all teams will have a chance against each other, so it is quite an equal group. There is not a team that anybody can take for granted, and I don’t think there is a team that will be a runaway winner,” he added.

While Jamaica has squared off against Mexico and Venezuela a number of times over the years, they have only faced Ecuador three times in 2009, 2011 and 2018, losing two of those games 2-5 and 0-2, while the other ended in a goalless stalemate.

“So, in that sense if we prepare well and get our points, we will always have a chance to progress from this group, but I think all the teams will think the same. So, that is my feeling and after looking at the opponents I feel a little bit better,” Hallgrimsson declared.

“I didn't know much about Venezuela, I knew a little bit about Ecuador, and of course, we know a lot about Mexico, but I think that everyone has a chance in these games. So, all teams can pick points from each other,” he noted.

Having produced a stunning comeback to better Canada in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal recently, Hallgrimsson pointed out that their preparations will be focused on maintaining that momentum in the semi-final against United States, before turning their focus to the Copa America in June.

“We had already made a plan what was going to happen. So, the early months of the year, in January, maybe half of February, we'll go in Jamaica for domestic players. Hopefully we will get a friendly against a Caribbean nation or maybe in United States. So, in January US-based players can also play these matches.

“But the plan was always to focus on the domestic based players in January and maybe beginning of February. Then from maybe mid-February, we have to think about the Nation's League semifinal against US. So, we turn our focus to that project and then of course after that we will have the draw for the World Cup (qualifying) games,” the Icelandic coach shared.

“So that will be complete focus on those games. So, we are kind of forced to turn our focus to the next project all the time and then after the World Cup (qualifying) games we we've turned our focus to the Copa America. So that is our plan, it's a full schedule and we have to be really focused on every project, because all of these matches are important,” he ended.

Jamaica will open their campaign against Mexico on June 22, Ecuador on June 26, before completing their Group Stage matches against Venezuela on June 30.

In other group pairings, the United States finds itself in Group C alongside Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia. Group D is set to witness a showdown between Costa Rica or Honduras against heavyweights Brazil, Colombia, and Paraguay. Group A promises a tough challenge for Trinidad and Tobago or Canada, who will face off against World Cup champions Argentina, Peru, and Chile.

In an intriguing draw held on Thursday night, Jamaica's national football team, the Reggae Boyz, discovered their fate in the upcoming 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America. Placed in Group B, they are poised to face formidable opponents such as Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela in the tournament set to begin in June 2024.

This marks Jamaica's third venture into the prestigious Copa America, following their spirited appearances in 2015 and 2016. In the Group Stage of 2015, the Reggae Boyz shared the field with Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina, while in 2016, they navigated a challenging path against Venezuela, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Expressing his contentment with the draw, head coach Heimir Halgrimsson acknowledged the tough opponents but remained optimistic about his team's chances. "It is a fairly good draw. All teams are higher than us on the FIFA ranking, but still, it’s teams that we have a good chance of winning, so I am not so unhappy with the draw," stated the coach. He emphasized the difficulty of the upcoming matches while also highlighting the challenge posed by the match venues, situated in Las Vegas, Houston, and Boston, where the summer heat may prove disadvantageous for training.

Jamaica will open their campaign against Mexico on June 22, Ecuador on June 26 before completing their Group Stage matches against Venezuela on June 30.

In other group pairings, the United States finds itself in Group C alongside Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia. Group D is set to witness a showdown between Costa Rica or Honduras against heavyweights Brazil, Colombia, and Paraguay. Group A promises a tough challenge for Trinidad and Tobago or Canada, who will face off against World Cup champions Argentina, Peru, and Chile.

 

Jamaican International Ravel Morrison has been convicted of fraud after he was caught using a deceased person’s blue badge to park.

According to a report in The Guardian, Morrison, during his interview under caution, claimed he bought the badge from “someone in Old Trafford” for £50. The former Manchester United representative was subsequently charged with one count of fraud.

Morrison, 30, who currently represents DC United in Major League Soccer (MLS) appeared before Manchester magistrates court to plead guilty to the offence on Thursday. He was fined £1,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £508.32 and a victim surcharge of £400.

Manchester city council enforcement officers began their investigation in May into a white Audi S3 parked in Bridgewater Street which was displaying a blue badge.

Blue badge permits are given to people with disabilities or health issues, whose mobility is limited. It entitles those individuals to park free of charge in spaces that are often closer to shops and destinations.

The police discovered that the badge’s holder died in February 2022, and was no longer valid. The vehicle was issued with a penalty charge notice and was removed to the Manchester vehicle pound. Morrison reclaimed his vehicle later the same day.

“This ruling shows that the law is applicable to everyone, with no exceptions. I am grateful for the diligent work of our investigating officers, as well as legal counsel, who were able to successfully prosecute this case,” a spokesperson for Manchester city council said.

“Our officers patrol the streets daily to ensure that blue badges are used legitimately, and we will not hesitate to take action if we discover people trying to circumvent the law,” they added.

Morrison’s topsy-turvy career, playing for 13 clubs around the world after leaving Manchester United in 2012. He has so far made 18 appearances for Jamaica with three goals to his credit.

In a spectacular display of talent reminiscent of his father's glory days, central defender Damion Lowe emerged as a key player in Jamaica's recent thrilling come-from-behind victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final match in Toronto.

The Reggae Boyz secured a 3-2 win, setting the stage for an eagerly anticipated showdown with the USA. Coach Heimir Halgrimsson’s move to push Lowe into midfield paid immediate dividends as Reggae Boyz scored two quick goals before Bobby Reid’s penalty sealed the match for the Jamaican team.

Onandi Lowe, a legend of the 1998 World Cup squad, couldn't help but express his pride in his son's performance.

The elder Lowe, who made history as part of Jamaica's 1998 World Cup team, sees a reflection of himself in his son. Having played as a forward throughout his professional career and scoring 27 goals for Jamaica, Onandi is delighted to witness Damion's rise as a formidable central defender.

"That's my son, and they should know that what is in me is in him," beamed a proud Onandi to the Jamaica Gleaner after the game.

"When he was much younger, he used to cry because of the excitement of the National Stadium, but by carrying him over and over, he started to run on the field and kick the ball to goal every chance he got. That's where it all started."

Now, as Damion performs on the global stage, Onandi feels a profound sense of accomplishment and continuity. "My book is complete. I came, I saw, and I achieved, and my son came, saw, and continues the journey," he reflected with gratitude.

Reggae Boyz central defender Damion Lowe has described defeating Canada to advance to the 2024 Copa America and the Concacaf Nations League semi-finals as a top two moment of his national team career along with their 1-0 win over Mexico at the Rose Bowl in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Lowe was instrumental in helping the Boyz defeat their rivals 3-2 at the BMO Field in Toronto on Tuesday to secure a spot in the semis as well as next year’s Copa America.

The final score over the two legs was 4-4 with Jamaica advancing based on the away goals rule.

“It’s up there. I think top two. I think beating Mexico 1-0 at the Rose Bowl is still the best moment of my national team career but this one is up there for sure especially with all the talking that has been going on from the Canadian team but the guys showed real heart today,” Lowe said in an interview after the game.

In what can only be described as a masterstroke by head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, Lowe, who started the game at his preferred centre back position, was moved into the midfield in the second half, a move that completely changed the game in Jamaica’s favor.

The first of Shamar Nicholson’s two goals on the night came after an excellent assist from Lowe after winning the ball in the final third.

“Nothing too hard for me to think about because I’ve played there and have experience there,” said Lowe about the move to midfield.

“I just tried to analyze the spots that I should be in and just try to help the team as much as possible. I didn’t really think about it at all. Coach just told me I’m playing central midfield and I said okay then just went in and gave my all,” he added.

A national team member for over seven years, the 30-year-old hopes that this is the first step of Jamaica consistently getting over the line and qualifying for big tournaments.

“It’s big! As I said to the guys, it’s no more almost. Every year, every two years it’s almost getting to the finals; almost getting to the semi-final; almost getting to the world cup. Now it’s time to get over the line and we’ve achieved one goal in getting to the Copa America. We’re in the semi-finals of the Nations League so I’m grateful,” he said.

Lowe will now turn his attention to an MLS Cup Conference Semi-final for his Philadelphia Union as they are set to take on FC Cincinnati on Saturday.

“That’s the focus right now. We’re going back into camp tomorrow to prepare for that and get some recovery done and Saturday we have a big semi-final against Cincinnati,” he said.

 

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is singing praises for the Reggae Boyz following their remarkable comeback win against Canada in Toronto on Tuesday night. The Reggae Boyz staged a historic turnaround, with two second-half goals from Shamar Nicholson and Bobby Reid's penalty kick securing a 3-2 victory over Canada and propelling Jamaica to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League.

In a thrilling encounter that ended 4-4 on aggregate, Jamaica advanced on the away-goal rule, sparking celebrations among football enthusiasts and earning the team high praise from President Michael Ricketts.

"Jamaica's football fans were put on the edge of their seats throughout the game," expressed President Ricketts. "We are so proud of the effort and determination demonstrated by the team. They fought so hard with their backs against the wall, a true example of the character that the country needs to tackle any adversity we may encounter."

The historic win not only secured Jamaica's place in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League but also earned them a spot in the prestigious Copa America, setting the stage for more high-stakes encounters. President Ricketts sees this as a pivotal opportunity for the team's growth and cohesion ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers next year.

"Now they get a chance to play more big games in the semifinals of the Nations League and the Copa America, which will, in turn, help to pull them together for the World Cup Qualifiers next year," added President Ricketts.

This victory marks Jamaica's first entry into the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League, showcasing the team's rising prominence in regional football. Additionally, it is the third time Jamaica will participate in the distinguished Copa America, underlining their growing influence on the international stage.

The win over Canada holds special significance, as it not only secured Jamaica's first-ever victory over Canada in Canada but also marked the first time Jamaica registered three goals against a North American team on North American soil. The historic triumph is a testament to the Reggae Boyz's resilience and skill, earning them a special place in the annals of Jamaican football history.

 

 

Former Wolmer’s Boyz and UWI goalkeeper, Amal Knight, is happy to rejoin the Reggae Boyz set up ahead of a crucial Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal tie against Canada.

Before appearing on the bench for a recent friendly against Guatemala, Knight was last called up to the squad for a Nations League fixture back in March where he watched from the bench as the teams played out a 2-2 draw.

“It feels good. It’s been probably seven or eight months since I’ve been called up so it feels really good. I’m happy to be here and a part of the squad again,” Knight said in a JFF Live interview on Monday.

The 29-year-old is currently playing for Lexington SC in USL League One and spoke glowingly of his time there so far.

“It has been wonderful. I really enjoyed the season that just ended recently. I look forward to going back in January for pre-season and hopefully I can put in some positive results like last season,” he said.

“In Lexington, the people are really friendly and they warmed up to me a lot. I have a lot of support there. There were rumors probably of me leaving but it seems like I’ll be going back so the fans are happy. There’s a new coaching staff coming in and everyone is looking forward to seeing me back soon,” Knight added.

Knight says in his time away from the squad, he liked what he saw from the Boyz in the group stage of the Nations League where they finished top of Group B with 10 points from four games to advance to the quarters.

“I think we’ve done tremendously well. We’ve progressed really nicely on the table too so it’s just for the guys to keep going,” he said.

They will now take on Canada in the quarter-finals of with the first leg set for Friday at the National Stadium and the second set for next week Tuesday at the BMO Field.

The winners will advance to the Nations League semi-finals as well as the 2024 Copa America in the USA.

“It’s a very important tie against Canada with berths in the Copa America and semi-finals of the Nations League at stake. These are two very important games so hopefully we can take both of them and qualify for both,” Knight said.

 

Coach Heimir Halgrimsson has named a strong 24-man squad for the Reggae Boyz CONCACAFDi Nations League quarter-final match-up against Canada, the first leg of which is to be played on Friday, November 17 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

The squad features a potent attacking line-up that includes the in-form Leon Bailey and Demarai Gray, Michail Antonio, Shamar Nicholson, Romario Williams and Trivante Stewart.

The midfield contingent is comprised of Demario Phillips, Bobby De Cordova Reid, Daniel Johnson, Joel Latibeaudiere, Jon Russell and Karoy Anderson.

In-form defender Ethan Pinnock makes a return to the side joining Damien Lowe, Di Shon Bernard, Michael Hector, Dexter Lembikisa, Tayvon Gray, Greg Leigh, Amari’i Bell and Javain Brown.

The outstanding Andre Blake is the first-choice custodian with the capable Amal Knight and Jahmai Waite as his backups.

The second leg of the tie has been scheduled for the BMO Stadium on November 21.

Former Portmore United striker Maalique Foster and Tyreek Magee make a long-awaited return to international football, as they join newcomer Jonathan Bell in the senior Reggae Boyz squad to face Guatemala on Saturday.

The friendly international is scheduled to take place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Foster, who currently represents Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the USL, last represented Jamaica in 2019 in Concacaf Nations League B action when he scored twice in their 6-0 beating of Aruba in Willemstad, Curacao.

Prior to that, the now 24-year-old Foster scored a late equalizer in the Boyz 2-2 stalemate with South Korea in a friendly contest in Turkey.

Now back, the nippy attacker, who is also known for his pace up front, will be hoping to impress Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson and company, especially with the Nations League quarterfinals against Canada, and possibly an appearance in next year’s Copa America, to come.

Magee, 24, who also plies his trade in the USL with the Switchbacks, made a solitary appearance for the Boyz last year, and like Foster, will be aiming to make this opportunity count.

Bell, 26, is an American-born defender, who currently represents Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit St Louis City.

Meanwhile, Lamonth Rochester is making his transition from the national youth setup, while Shaneil Thomas and Shaqeil Bradford, would have been called up to the senior setup at some point or another without making the final cut.

Squad: Amal Knight, Jahmali Waite, Richard King, Kyle Ming, Jamoi Topey, Lamonth Rochester, Damani Osei, Jonathan Bell,  Javain Brown, Shaneil Thomas, Lamonth Rochester, Trayvone Reid, Shaqeil Bradford, Devon Williams, Demario Phillips, Ramone Howell, Romario Williams, Deshane Beckford, Maalique Foster

After being initially left out for what Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson described as a lack of match fitness, young star Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards has been added to the senior Reggae Boyz squad for their upcoming Concacaf Nations League games against Grenada and Haiti.

Richards, who will celebrate his 18th birthday on Wednesday was called up, as a number of players are faced with injuries, among other challenges, ahead of Thursday's fixture against the Spice Boys.

Right-back Javain Brown is out due to injury, and Adrian Mariappa has relinquished his place in the squad due to personal reasons, while Renaldo Cephas is out due to flight challenges.

Meanwhile, striker Michail Antonio, though still in the squad, will only contest the game against Haiti in Trinidad and Tobago, on Sunday.

The 56th-ranked Jamaicans, who bettered Honduras 1-0 and came-from-behind for a 2-2 stalemate with Haiti, both at the National Stadium, currently sit atop Group B in League A on four points, same as second-placed Cuba.

Victories in both games, would guarantee Hallgrimsson’s side a spot in next month’s quarter-final where they would face Canada or Costa Rica, provided Cuba does not surpass them on goal difference, should they too win their two encounters.

If the Boyz were to finish in the runners-up position, they would have United States or Mexico to contend with in their hunt for a Copa America berth.

 

Squad: Andre Blake, Kemar Foster, Jahmali Waite, Javain Brown, Tayvon Gray, Di’Shon Bernard, Michael Hector, Greg Leigh, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Dexter Lembikisa, Bobby Decordova Reid, Daniel Johnson, Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Karoy Anderson, Demario Phillips, Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Shamar Nicholson, Romario Williams, Renaldo Cephas

“Unbelievable” was the word used by Charlton Athletic midfielder Karoy Anderson to describe his maiden Reggae Boyz call-up for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League fixtures against Grenada and Haiti.

The 19-year-old London-born midfielder, in an interview with JFF Live on YouTube, described the experience of finding out he’d been called up to the squad.

“It’s something I can’t really describe honestly. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now that I’m here, it’s unbelievable,” Anderson said.

“At first, I couldn’t really believe it because I knew I was in the provisional squad but when I got the news I was just shocked. I was staring for a long time trying to take it all in and I told my mom and she started crying,” he added.

Anderson qualifies to play for the Reggae Boyz through his mother who was born in Clarendon and his grandmother who was born in Trelawny.

“I’m very busy,” was Anderson’s response to what fans can expect from his play style.

“I get around a lot and I like going forward and defending so I just try to do everything,” he said.

Anderson’s club teammate Michael Hector will also make a return to the Reggae Boyz set up after a two-year absence and he says the defender has been instrumental to his development as a player.

“It’s good because when I made the step up I knew he played for Jamaica and that was something that I looked to do so, being able to play with him, also with his experience in club football, is good. He’s a good person to look up to as well,” Anderson said.

Finally, the midfielder had nothing but good things to say about his experience with the squad, so far, as well as their chances in the upcoming games.

“Everyone’s nice. It’s a good energy around so I’m looking forward to getting involved with the games,” he said.

“When you look at the squad we have, we know we’ve got enough quality to win these games so I just want to come in and add to that and see what areas I can help in,” Anderson added.

Jamaica will first take on Grenada on Thursday before facing Haiti on Sunday.

They currently lead their CONCACAF Nations League A group with four points.

Former Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Tony James says the recent move to cut Lorne Donaldson from the Reggae Girlz programme, could prove the final nail in the coffin of the Michael Ricketts-led administration, as he believes their chances of retaining leadership of the country’s football were already slim.

James –like many football enthusiasts at home and abroad –has always been critical of Ricketts’s leadership and even felt he should have relinquished the post last year when the senior Reggae Boyz players called for the scalp of then general secretary Dalton Wint.  

At that point, James said Ricketts lacked the requisite acumen to continue leading the sport’s local governing body, as he failed to accept responsibility for the chaos that has unfolded in Jamaica’s football over the past few years with players and some coaches consistently expressing discontent at the constant “lack of respect, transparency and communication” from the JFF hierarchy.

Now thrown in the spotlight once again with the non-renewal of Donaldson’s contract, and the elections due by year end, James thinks it might just result in Ricketts and administration’s demise.

Donaldson, who was appointed in 2022, led the Reggae Girlz to a second-consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup. At the tournament jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, they had an historic run to the round of 16, after drawing with France and Brazil and defeating Panama in the group stage.

The Reggae Girlz eventually bowed out following a 0-1 loss to Colombia.

In their most recent fixtures, the Reggae Girlz suffered back-to-back losses to Canada in a failed bid to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, but the progress the team has made under Donaldson’s leadership is without question.

“The upcoming election is the exact reason why that decision with Lorne is poor. If you have an election in a couple of weeks, why are you going to make a move like this.

“You have a lame duck presidency and administration why are you going to take on a massive investment for a national women’s coach when JFF is still in restrictive financing, why would you want to do that now. So that decision is a matter of bad timing,” James said in a recent interview with Sportsmax.tv.

By virtue of hiring a new coach, James argues that the Reggae Girlz programme will be unnecessarily reset, when there are other areas of the country’s football that needs more attention.

“The schoolboy football needs to be reset, the academy programme needs to be reset and the parishes, the most important on the agenda heading into the elections, have to be reset,” he asserted.

For the upcoming elections, Ricketts, who has been in power since 2017, will be challenged by current vice-president Raymond Anderson.

Anderson, who has served in previous administrations has the likes of former Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron, Marketing Strategist Cecile Dennis, Kingston and St Andrew Football Association President Mark Bennett and St Thomas Football Association President Wayne Thompson, on his campaign team.

Last year's changes to the JFF's constitutional reform will result in an increase in delegates from 13 –previously consisted solely of parish confederation presidents –to 56, comprising more stakeholders.

James also took issues with those changes.

“Everything seems to be wrong structurally about what they are doing. The election of the parishes comes three months after the JFF elections, and what exist now is a corrupt construct, you can’t have a corrupt construct electing a president and a new board for a four-year term. You should have the election for the parishes first and then out of that election you elect a new JFF board,” James opined.

“The thing is that when you have a corrupt construct that exist in the JFF, the majority of people that are going to vote are people you have to appeal to, to vote for you. So, if you accept the fact that the parishes, especially the rural parishes, some of them are extremely weak and extremely poor in their structure, you have to correct that first or at least attempt to correct that.

“But they are going for votes rather to correct the structure and if the structure is not corrected no matter who gets there (the presidency) then it won’t make a difference. Because you're trying to get football moving forward and get football resilient which means you have to always be moving forward without moving back. Instead, what has been happening now is that you take two steps forward one step back you need everybody in the same boat moving in the same direction,” he ended.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says qualifying for next year’s Copa America is of utmost significance for the staff to properly polish the team’s playing style, as he again stressed the need for consistent improvement to drive their 2026 FIFA World Cup ambitions.

“I think we can, as a national team, improve a lot of areas. The JFF as well, I think can do a lot more, but we are closer to what the best national teams are doing. Playing style, I think we are getting there slowly, but in order to improve our playing style we have to work with the same players.

“So, I think we have found a core of players that we think we can continue working with and then we can develop a playing style,” Hallgrimsson declared during a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation’s offices on Friday.  

Hallgrimsson’s sentiments came on Friday as he announced the addition of Charlton Athletic pair Karoy Anderson and Michael Hector to his 23-member Reggae Boyz squad for their upcoming Concacaf Nations League fixtures away to Grenada and Haiti on October 12 and 15, respectively.

London-Born midfielder, Anderson, 19, is a first-time call up, while Hector, 31, returns to the setup after an almost two-year absence.

Both, along with goalkeeper Kemar Foster, Dexter Lembikisa, and West Ham United’s Michail Antonio, replace goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke midfielder Kasey Palmer, forward Dujuan Richards and defenders Amari’i Bell and Ethan Pinnock, who all miss out due to injuries among other reasons.

“We cannot develop a playing style picking 12 new players every camp because then we would have to start over. Being a national team coach, we know that there are two training in a game, so there is not a lot of time to get the team on the pitch. So, in that case, I think we are doing well with the time, but again, if we want to continue to grow it is important to go to finals and go to Copa America and spend a month with the team to grow on and off the pitch,” Hallgrimsson shared.

The 56th-ranked Jamaicans, who bettered Honduras 1-0 and came-from-behind for a 2-2 stalemate with Haiti, both at the National Stadium, currently sit atop Group B in League A on four points, same as second-placed Cuba.

Victories in both games, would guarantee Hallgrimsson’s side a spot in next month’s quarter-final where they would face Canada or Costa Rica, provided Cuba does not surpass them on goal difference, should they too win their two encounters.

If the Boyz were to finish in the runners-up position, they would have United States or Mexico to contend with in their hunt for a Copa America berth. The 48th edition of the quadrennial international men's tournament is scheduled for June 20 to July 14, in the United States and will act as a prelude to the 2026 World Cup, also to be hosted in North America.

“We have a lot to improve on and we know that so now going for these tricky away matches, it's going to be a tough, tough task. To get into the quarterfinal is important for so many reasons because if we win that game, it will secure us to place in the semi-final and hopefully from there we will get to the final and that gives us the right to play Copa America next summer,” the tactician stated.

“So, for many reasons this is important for our team. Number one, to grow to play in tournaments that really will test us to play against the best teams. So, it is an important step for developing a good team to qualify for the World Cup in 2026. We want to put all our emphasis on this camp coming up and go for six points to finish top of the group,” he added.

“We have quite a few versatile players in the squad, and I think that is a benefit to a small nation like Jamaica. So, in our minds I think we have solutions to the problems, and we decided to go for a young player [Anderson] to look at this camp to see how we can manage him within the players group we have,” Hallgrimsson ended.

Squad: Andre Blake, Kemar Foster, Jahmali Waite, Javain Brown, Tayvon Gray, Di’Shon Bernard, Michael Hector, Greg Leigh, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Dexter Lembikisa, Bobby Decordova Reid, Daniel Johnson, Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Karoy Anderson, Demario Phillips, Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Shamar Nicholson, Romario Williams, Renaldo Cephas

 

The Charlton Athletic pair Karoy Anderson and Michael Hector have both been included in the Reggae Boyz squad for their upcoming CONCACAF Nations League away fixtures against Grenada and Haiti set for October 12 and 15, respectively.

The squad was announced during a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) headquarters on Friday.

Anderson, a 19-year-old London-born midfielder, got his first call-up while Hector, 31, has earned 35 caps for the Reggae Boyz with his last appearance coming in 2021.

Midfielder Kasey Palmer and defender Amari’i Bell are both missing from the last squad due to injuries while Dujuan Richards, Ethan Pinnock and Coniah Boyce-Clarke also miss out.

Jamaica’s last game against Grenada was a 5-1 Friendly win in 2018. Their last tussle with Haiti saw them erase a 0-2 deficit to pull out a 2-2 draw at the National Stadium last month.

The Reggae Boyz are currently at the top of Group B of League A of the Nations League with four points. The top two teams from that group will advance to the quarterfinals and this will mean the teams are one step closer to qualifying for the Copa America.

Finishing at the top of the group would put the Reggae Boyz up against either Canada or Costa Rica in the quarterfinals in November while finishing second will mean a tie against the USA or Mexico.

The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Andre Blake, Kemar Foster, Jahmali Waite

Defenders: Javain Brown, Tayvon Gray, Di’Shon Bernard, Michael Hector, Greg Leigh, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Dexter Lembikisa

Midfielders: Bobby Decordova Reid, Daniel Johnson, Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Karoy Anderson, Demario Phillips

Forwards: Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Shamar Nicholson, Romario Williams, Renaldo Cephas

Faced with the challenge of establishing a winning culture, Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson insists that he is trying to do so in ways large and small. Though his plans, where delivering according to expectations are yet to really take flight, the Icelandic coach remains adamant that his brand is becoming increasingly evident on the Boyz since he took the reins late last year.

 For Hallgrimsson, the manner in which the Boyz have started their Concacaf Nations League campaign, is an extension of their Gold Cup semi-final run, and that, he believes represents a step in the right direction.

The 58th-ranked Boyz currently head Group B on four points in League A competition, as they registered a 1-0 win over Honduras last Friday, followed by a come-from-behind 2-2 stalemate with Haiti at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

“Everybody has their opinion, and I cannot control what people feel about the team. The only thing I can say is that we will continue to work, and we will try to improve. We all see football in a different way, with different eyes how we want football to be played, but we are trying to develop our game and that's the only thing we can do. We will continue to do what we have been trying to do,” Hallgrimsson declared.

Having stressed that his is a culture that is about improvement, Hallgrimsson expressed pleasure with the Boyz display against Haiti when compared to that against Honduras.

In that opener against Honduras, the Boyz looked scrappy when in possession, as their passing and, by extension, movements off the ball was woefully lacking and it took Demarai Gray’s solitary goal to spare their blushes.

While the Boyz looked much better in their attacking transition against Haiti, they were sloppy defensively and that resulted in the opponents taking and early two goal lead courtesy of Don Louicius, who struck in the 12th and 15th minutes. However, Hallgrimsson’s side rescued a point through a 51st-minute own-goal and Bobby Reid’s 81st minute penalty.

“If we compare these two performances, we did much better this game than against Honduras, so we need to be pleased that we are going at least in the right direction, even though we didn't win today (Tuesday). I thought we had a much better game, even though we won against Honduras,” Hallgrimsson shared during a post-game press conference.

He continued: “If we look at the results, I think it is good that we did not lose this game, and performance wise, I would say, even at two-zero, I felt that we were better team in that moment. So, it (falling behind) was kind of a slap in the face and if we take away those two, three mistakes, we didn't give them chances. I think we played a really a good game.

“But a coach is always most pleased with the character and togetherness that they showed to win this game. They fought until the end, we wanted to win…I think everybody saw that we wanted to win, we pushed for the win. So, I'm mostly pleased with the character in the team, we stood our ground and I like that we played in a high tempo like that as well and we should build on this performance in my opinion.”

That said, Hallgrimsson pointed out that with the core of his team now identified, the expectation is that the Boyz hustle and competitiveness will remain on the upgrade, especially as they hunt qualification for next year’s 48th edition of the prestigious Copa America to be staged in the United States.

Their next assignments will be away to Grenada on October 12, before visiting Haiti in the Dominican Republic on October 15.

To get to the Copa America, the Jamaicans are required to finish in the top six, as such, they will need to secure one of two spots from their group to progress to quarter-finals.

Should they do so and go on to win their quarter-finals fixture, the Boyz would automatically secure berth to Copa America. However, if not, then they would take the playoff route for a second shot at qualification.

“We're always looking to improve, I said it in the last press conference, we're happy with what we have, but we're always looking out for improvements in every area of our game for players but also how we play, or we work together etc.

“So, we just have to improve how we do things and do as much as we can. We try to analyze the opponent where the weakness is, and I felt we had a chance to punish them better than we did. But the only way you can improve your conversion rate is to train it day after day,” the tactician ended.

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