Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) chief, Michael Ricketts, has given the assurance that all COVID-19 health protocols will be in place for the Reggae Boyz three-game tour of Japan next month.
In making the announcement of the fixtures recently, Ricketts said there had been collaboration with the Japan Football Association and government, to ensure all relevant protocols would be established for the June 3-12 tour, amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Japanese authorities reported 5,262 new infections of COVID-19, moving the active cases to 83,616 and overall reported infections to 685,131, since the start of the pandemic.
“We are satisfied with the arrangements for our players and staff members are comprehensive in respect of safety in this current pandemic,” Ricketts said.
“I want to thank all those involved with the relevant negotiations in order for these games to come to fruition and I am sure the technical staff is very appreciative.”
He added: “So we have had extensive discussions in this regard and all detailed protocols have been put in place by the Japanese FA in conjunction and collaboration with the Japanese Government.
“In fact, we were instructed not to make an official announcement because the Japanese Government was waiting to formalise a protocol system that would be able to accommodate us.”
The Reggae Boyz, the highest-ranked English-speaking Caribbean side in the FIFA World rankings, will take on the hosts on June 3 in Sapporo, a city north of the capital Tokyo, before clashing with Serbia in Kobe, a city just west of Osaka.
Jamaica wraps up their tour on June 12 with a fixture against the country’s Olympic side in Nagoya, a few hours outside Tokyo.
The tour is part of the Caribbean powerhouses’ preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup starting July 10 in the United States and their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament which gets underway in September.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore, an outstanding former national player, said the games in Japan would be key to Jamaica’s preparation.
“This is an important year for the Reggae Boyz in so far as international competition is concerned,” he noted.
“We welcome the two matches against Japan and Serbia as these are important games to fine-tune our preparations for the Gold Cup. We anticipate a very competitive roster and view this as positive.”
The JFF has named a strong 30-man squad for the tour.