Sport

Lack of funds forces Boyz on the road — Burrell

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Sunday, March 02, 2014    

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Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell cited financial challenges as the main reason for playing several friendly international matches on overseas soil.

The senior Reggae Boyz team departed for Miami yesterday en route to the eastern Caribbean where they will clash with Barbados and St Lucia on March 2 and 5, respectively.

The Jamaicans are also scheduled to face Serbia in the United States on May 26, 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. The senior Boyz are also scheduled to head off to Toronto to battle CONCACAF rivals Canada on September 9.

Captain Burrell, speaking at a press conference at the federation's headquarters earlier this week, reasoned that given the lack of the success of late, it is better to win the support of the fans before bringing top-ranked opposition on local soil.

Captain Burrell, speaking at a press conference at the federation's headquarters earlier this week, reasoned that given the lack of the success of late, it is better to win the support of the fans before bringing top-ranked opposition on local soil.

"The Jamaican economy is not very strong at this time. And looking at what transpired in the final (World Cup qualifying) games... the low turnout and when you look at the cost of hosting one of these games at home.

"Unless we are getting a team to come here paying their own expenses and so on it is going to be very difficult to host a big time team here. We hope that with good performances on the outside that the spectators will be encouraged to come in and watch," he said.

Burrell said the cost of hosting a powerhouse like France would set back the JFF by approximately J$100 million.

"If France were to come here we would have had to find maybe US$800,000 or close to US$1 million," he explained.

The JFF boss added that friendly internationals are important so that coach Winfried Schaefer can find the correct formula.

Burrell promised that the paucity of practice games that was witnessed during the previous World Cup campaign is a thing of the past.

"It's very important that we continue to participate in friendly games. Coach Schaefer and his staff would want to see the players in action and we were heavily criticised the last time around that we were chopping and changing so we would have learnt a number of lessons from our last campaign," Burrell said.

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