Boyz-Cuba friendly international series called off

Friday, September 21, 2018

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The proposed two-match international friendly series between Jamaica and Cuba has been scrapped, the Jamaica Observer was told.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) General Secretary Dalton Wint yesterday confirmed the parties were forced to call off the matches late Wednesday night as the Cubans were unable to secure flights into Jamaica on the agreed dates.

The Cubans were scheduled to arrive in the country on Sunday, September 30, and were due to play their first game against a local-based Jamaica contingent on Tuesday, October 2, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St James.

Another match was to have taken place at Drax Hall in St Ann three days later.

“We had to call off the games because the Cubans could not secure airline seats for September 30… they were able to get seats on the 28th and suggested we play the first game on the Sunday.

“We could not do that because Sunday, September 30, is a Red Stripe Premier League game day, and we did not want to disrupt the schedule of the league so early in the season, so we could not have accommodated the Cubans,” Wint told the Observer.

The JFF general secretary rued the missed opportunity to give the Reggae Boyz international warm-up exercises on those dates ahead of their Concacaf Nations League qualifying match against Bonaire in Curacao on October 14.

“It throws us out a bit because we had turned down other interested parties to facilitate Cuba, but we will try our best to get at least one game before the Bonaire game,” Wint explained.

The failed Cuban tie should have served to give the coaching staff another opportunity to look at the local pool of players, most of whom perform in the nation's top-flight league.

“I don't expect this to severely affect the continued programme to look at local players as the coaching staff will still have the opportunity to observe players in the Premier League and an early camp before the Bonaire assignment,” Wint noted.

After Bonaire, Jamaica welcome Suriname on November 17, and will close out the qualifying their Nations League campaign away to El Salvador on March 3, 2019.

Cuba, meantime, will visit Grenada on October 12, welcome the Dominican Republic on November 17, and will have a big showdown with Haiti on March 24, 2019.

Jamaica were 4-0 victors over visitors the Cayman Islands on opening day of the confederation-wide Nations League, while Cuba crushed Turks and Caicos Islands 11-0.

— Sean Williams

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