Boyz Manager Simpson ponders path after COVID-19-wrecked schedule

Boyz Manager Simpson ponders path after COVID-19-wrecked schedule

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

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Manager Roy Simpson says the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic's ripple effect on global sport has left a gaping hole in the Reggae Boyz' schedule for the year.

He notes that the cancellation of a March tour to Spain for a game against Catalonia, an autonomous community in the Iberian nation, was the first casualty of the deadly COVID-19.

With the onslaught of the killer disease, which so far has infected over 1.4 million people worldwide and more than 81,000 deaths, comes a sense of uncertainty with the team's schedule in a World Cup-qualifying year.

“Firstly, the game versus Catalonia was postponed, and hopefully COVID-19 is controlled early and we get a date [friendly international] before the World Cup qualifiers start [in August].

“The uncertainty of COVID-19 makes it difficult as we do not know when we will start playing, but we continue to speak with the players and encourage them to do as much work in their personal space. [Ideally], we wanted to continue local camps, get in a couple games with them,” Simpson told the Jamaica Observer.

“We are four months from the proposed schedule of World Cup qualifying games. We are unable to play games, train, and our players in North America have been very inactive as their season had just commenced. The [reality is] all players and teams are exposed to the same things,” he added.

Simpson, a veteran manager, says a COVID-19 recalibrated plan was presented to the Jamaica Football Federation hierarchy for review and approval.

“The initial plan was circulated [and] was well received…a meeting will be held to present the new, tweaked plan,” he said.

Simpson says the impact of the pandemic is felt across the Concacaf spread, therefore all nations set for World Cup qualifying will start, whenever that is, from the same mark.

“We all are exposed, but players continue to work hard, take care of themselves and family. We also ask all Jamaicans to support the national movement of qualification to Qatar 2022,” he noted.

— Sean Williams

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