Reggae Boyz confident of having foreign-based players for friendlies

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are hoping to have their best players available for a brace of international friendlies next month as they step up preparations for the Caribbean Cup finals in June and July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Neither friendly – against United States on February 3 and against Honduras 13 days later – are on designated FIFA dates, meaning that foreign clubs are not obligated to release players for national duty.

However, team manager Roy Simpson said he was confident that both the Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs in United States and European clubs, would by sympathetic to Jamaica’s cause.

“With regard to the composition of the squad for the international friendlies next month, it is not a FIFA date so the clubs are not obligated to release any players to us,” Simpson told the Observer newspaper here.

“But we have a good partnership with respective clubs and are in dialogue with them, in particular the MLS players who are going back into pre-season.

“The discussions from the clubs are that they will be two weeks into pre-season prior to the start of the game, so hopefully, how they equipped themselves in the preseason, they will be released to us.”

He continued: “With regards to the players in Europe, again it’s not a FIFA date, but we are hoping with the goodwill that we have with the clubs and the commitment because players have indicated that they are willing to come and they will also aid us by speaking to their respective clubs.”

Some 23 locally-based players are already in training joined this week by defender Kemar Lawrence who plays for MLS outfit New York Red Bulls.

Lawrence has spent a considerable period on the sidelines after sustaining an injury during last year’s Copa America Centenario.

The Reggae Boyz will clash with Martinique, Curacao and French Guiana in the Caribbean Cup finals from June 22-25 before turning out in the Gold Cup from July 7-26.

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