Boyz in Grenada after circuitous travel through Caribbean

Sport Editor

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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St George's , Grenada — Four debutants will be in Theodore Whitmore's 19-man squad set to face off against Grenada's senior team at 7:00 pm (Jamaica time) in tomorrow's Friendly International here inside Kirani James Athletic Stadium.

Three of those players — Daniel Green of Harbour View Football Club, and the Humble Lion Football Club pair of Kevaughn Isaacs and Ray Campbell — are currently with the team here, but Maliek Howell, who captained Jamaica College to last season's Manning Cup schoolboy football title and is now about to start college in the United States, is slated to join the group today.

Campbell, Howell, Shandel Senior of Frazsiers Whip, and Marvin Morgan of Arnett Gardens were last-minute replacements for the Portmore United Football Club quartet of Ricardo Morris, Maalique Foster, Damano Solomon and Javon East, who were all released by the Jamaica Football Federation just ahead of the team's departure from Jamaica on Tuesday.

The players were released to their club, the defending Red Stripe Premier League champions, who will commence their Scotiabank CONCACAF League quarter-finals on August 24, as it was felt that their participation in Jamaica's two friendly games against Grenada and Barbados next Monday would negatively affect the local club's preparation for that crucial first-leg away game.

Another player who was initially included in the 20-man squad, Harbour View Football Club's Javain Brown, opted out after taking up a scholarship in the US.

Meanwhile, in what should have been nothing but routine travel to the small island, more popularly known as the “Spice Isle”, turned out to be anything but.

The Jamaican delegation departed the island after 4:00 pm for a two-and-a-half-hour direct flight to Trinidad. A two-hour layover in the twin-island republic included Caribbean Airlines changing its flight crew while passengers boarded for the continuing service to Barbados. However, there was a one-hour “baggage” stopover in Grenada which, incidentally, was the final destination of the Jamaican delegation.

But lo and behold, the Jamaicans could not deplane as their luggage was “booked” through to Barbados because that Grenada stop came about as expedience to the airline, which had to take excessive baggage from Trinidad to Grenada .

The Boyz then had to endure another half-hour flight to Barbados, where they arrived just before midnight. This peculiar situation caught the attention of that country's Immigration officers, who asked for further explanation and were told that the Jamaicans were merely staying overnight to catch a Liat flight back to Grenada the following morning.

By the time the group cleared Customs and arrived at the hotel, it was well near 2:00 am, but they were armed with the knowledge that they were scheduled to depart the hotel back to the airport at 7:30 am.

And though that 40-minute flight was on time after departing Barbados just before 10:00 am (Eastern Caribbean time), the group was further stalled due to unprepared rooms, which was blamed on the closing day of Carnival in Grenada. At the end of the day it would have been on or around a full 24 hours that the group would have left Jamaica.

Faced with this less than ideal situation, Whitmore and his technical staff opted to keep the players at the team's hotel for light exercises.

The Jamaicans are using these two games as part of preparation for the September 9 start of the CONCACAF Nations League against the Cayman Islands inside the National Stadium.

Team: Amal Knight (UWI FC), Fabion McCarthy (UWI FC), Damion Hyatt (Arnett Gardens FC), Fabian Reid (Arnett Gardens FC), Ladale Richie (Montego Bay United), Peter-Lee Vassell (Harbour View FC), Daniel Green (Harbour View FC), Ajeanie Talbott (Harbour View FC), Ricardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC), Tevin Shaw (Tivoli Gardens FC), Barrington Pryce (Tivoli Gardens FC), Alex Marshall (Cavalier Soccer Club), Chevone Marsh (Cavalier Soccer Club), Kaheem Parris (Cavalier Soccer Club), Kevaughn Isaacs (Humble Lion FC), Ray Campbell (Humble Lion FC), Shandel Senior (Frazsiers Whip), Marvin Morgan (Arnett Gardens FC), Maliek Howell (Unattached).

The delegation is completed by: Patrick Malcolm (head of delegation), Roy Simpson (manager), Theodore Whitmore (head coach), Jerome Waite (assistant coach), Warren Barrett (goalkeeper coach), Derrick McDowell (team doctor), Lamar Morgan (physical trainer), Ashauna Davis (physiotherapist), and Norman Stone (equipment manager).

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