Simpson worried about Boyz’s preparation
Jamaica senior men’s football team manager Roy Simpson says that the cancellation of two international friendlies for October has left him concerned about the Reggae Boyz’s preparations for upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said yesterday that it was opting out of playing two matches in the October international window because of the spike in COVID-19 cases. The JFF says it was in negotiations to play the United States (US) and what it describes as a “top Central American team”, both in the US. However, the decision was collectively made to call off the fixtures.
With one less window to play games to prepare for the final round, starting in June, Simpson says that the reduced time presents a challenge for their groundwork for next year, with the added complication that they are still awaiting approval of the submitted protocols to restart football locally.
“It is a concern for us,” Simpson said. “We have been inactive competitively from March, which is also a concern to us because we have not been doing anything locally. We still await the go-ahead from the Ministry of Health.”
The previous Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season was suspended then cancelled because of the outbreak.
He said that the November window has not been ruled out to host matches but said that the situation was still fluid because of the ongoing health situation. He said that the delay in the approval of the protocols had also affected the camp for locally based players as he was hopeful for a convening in September.
However, he said that if a sterile environment could be provided by any potential teams in discussions, then matches could be arranged, but he stressed the importance of safeguarding the players.
“If they can provide the type of environment that would not subject players and staff to any form of exposure to the pandemic, hopefully, we will engage,” he said. “But as we have always said, it is a continuous wait-and-see approach because the health and well-being of our staff and players are paramount.”
The revised 2020 FIFA calendar has international slots for the Concacaf region for November 9-17, 2020, and January 24 to February 1, 2021. The latter was done to replace the September 2020 window, which was cancelled because of the pandemic.
The Concacaf World Cup qualifying schedule has already experienced delays with the postponement of the first round to March.