Boyz treating Caribbean games seriously — manager
JAMAICA'S footballers are set to depart the island today ahead of their friendly international tour of the eastern Caribbean tour where they will clash with hosts Barbados at the National Stadium on March 2, and St Lucia, three days later at the Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet.
According to senior team manager Roy Simpson, the move to play their regional rivals is part of coach Winfried Schaefer's desire to regain dominance in the Caribbean and also to assess local-based players in particular, in preparation for the start of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
"Some persons might think that playing against our Caribbean rivals is of no worth, but part of the process is that we have to once again dominate the Caribbean region before we can look at Central America and North America, and probably extending to Europe.
"We take the games seriously and it is also exposure for local players, especially the Under-23 players that coach Schaefer indicated will be the base and foundation of this rebuilding process," Simpson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
A total of 11 local-based Reggae Boyz were named in a 22-man squad announced by Schaefer during a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) headquarters on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the JFF have tied up agreements for several friendly matches against more prominent opponents later in the year.
The Reggae Boyz are set to face Serbia in New Jersey, United States, before going up against World Cup-bound Switzerland in Lucerne on May 30.
On June 8, Jamaica battle the former World Cup champions France in Lille.
Jamaica are also scheduled to head off to Toronto to battle CONCACAF rivals Canada on September 9.