English-born players in race against time to get passports ahead of Gold Cup deadline

Thursday, June 10, 2021

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NAGOYA, Japan — As the deadline draws closer for the submissions of names for the provisional list for the Concacaf Gold Cup, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is in a race against time to formalise the passports for a number of English-born players.

With the deadline for the provisional list of 60 players due Monday, the executive arm of the federation and team manager Roy Simpson have been scurrying to address the passport issues.

With the exception of a few players, who are facing challenges with original documentation to start the application process, the remainder seem on their way to acquiring their Jamaican passports.

The Jamaica Observer has learnt that Jordan Cousins (Stoke City), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) and Kemar Roofe (Rangers) had on Thursday gained their Jamaican travel documents in a last push to legitimise them in order for them to represent the country in official competition.

A JFF source revealed that the organisation, meanwhile, remained hopeful that Amari'i Bell (Blackburn Rovers), Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) and Dillon Barnes (Queens Park Rangers), whose documents have been processed, could get through in time to meet Monday's deadline.

Time is, however, fast running out on Watford FC striker Andre Gray and Rotherham United defender Wesley Harding, both of whom have mitigating challenges that could lead to them missing out on the Gold Cup.

In the meantime, confidence is high that their issues would have been resolved in time for World Cup qualifiers that kick off in September.

Also in possession of newly minted Jamaican passports are Ravel Morrison (unattached), Blair Turgott (Ostersunds) and Liam Moore (Reading FC).

West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who has committed to the Boyz, will definitely miss out on the Gold Cup as his passport processing has been held up. It is said that he is required to physically address issues surrounding the process, but is believed to be in Greece vacationing with his family.

Speaking to the Observer here on Thursday, JFF President Michael Ricketts said he was “satisfied” with the rate of success in securing passports for the new players.

“I think we are pretty satisfied with the progress we have made in that regard, and we just want to ensure that the others that are outstanding, between now and Monday we can have them sorted out,” he said.

“We are very hopeful about the others and we have been forthright and strident in trying to get the others. Just this morning (Thursday) we were on the phone with PICA (Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency) trying to sort those that have not yet been done, and only a few, I think, would not make it until the World Cup qualifiers,” Ricketts added.

He pointed to some of the challenges inhibiting the process for some players.

“The challenges are that the paperwork for these players have not been submitted as they themselves are having some issues, like, for example, incorrect spellings, incorrect names, but we know the players are working on these issues,” Ricketts ended.

The Gold Cup will run from July 10 to August 1, and will have games at 10 venues in nine cities across the United States.

Jamaica will contest Group C with Costa Rica, Suriname and a team waiting to be promoted from the Concacaf Gold Cup Preliminary Round tournament.