Michail Antonio Among 35 Selected for Jamaica First 3 World Cup Qualifiers

by L Bronson

Michail-Antonio reggae boyz
Michail Antonio struck in the 91st minute to wrap up victory (AP)

In-form Wes Ham striker Michail Antonio is among 35 players named by the head coach Theodore Whitmore for Concacaf’s final-round qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup Finals.

The English-born 31-year-old forward will not make the trip for Jamaica’s opening match away to Mexico on Thursday, September 2, but should be in line for a debut for the Reggae Boyz against visiting Panama on Sunday. The West Ham United player, with three assists, in the league’s top marksman with four goals in three matches.

Leon Bailey, Liam Moore, Amari’i Bell, Wesley Harding, Ravel Morrison, Daniel Johnson, Kevin Stewart, Bobby Reid, Jamal Lowe and Kemar Roofe are the others selected but will miss the Mexico game.

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Stewart of Blackpool, Roofe of Rangers and Swindon Town’s Anthony Grant join Antonio as overseas-based newcomers in the pool of players.

Many of the England-based players as well as assistant coach Paul Hall arrived in the island without Antonio, who was said to have asked for a few more days considering that they will not play until Sunday.

Whitmore found space for Ricardo Morris (Portmore United), Richard King (Cavalier FC) and Dennis Taylor (Humble Lions).

The Reggae Boyz are also slated to face Costa Rica away on September 8.

In a press release announcing the squad, the JFF said that because of uncertainties centred on players based in England — in light of the coronavirus pandemic — it had to enter its “vast player pool to compose the current squad of players” for the three qualifying matches during this first window of the Concacaf qualifying campaign.

It said some players will feature in the two away games, while others will only be utilised for the home game against Panama.

English Premier League clubs, as a body, have moved to restrict players entering red-list countries to represent their national teams. The decision was taken so players would not miss games on their return due to United Kingdom’s (UK’s) quarantine rule.

Mexico and Costa Rica are currently on the UK government’s red list which requires 10 days at a managed quarantine hotel for travellers from such countries. Jamaica is on the UK’s amber list, which means far less stringent measures for travellers returning from the Caribbean island.

The JFF said the squad selected for the Mexico fixture on Thursday will assemble in Mexico City today.

The release said some players will fly to Mexico from the country in which they are based, while others, including the technical and administrative staff, will travel to the Mexican capital by charter flight.

Squad vs Mexico: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Dillon Barnes (Queens Park Rangers), Dennis Taylor (Humble Lions), Damion Lowe (Al-lttihad), Adrian Mariappa (pending), Alvas Powell (Philadelphia Union), Kemar Lawrence (Toronto FC), Devon Williams (Miami FC), Junior Flemmings (Birmingham Legion), Cory Burke (Philadelphia Union), Shamar Nicholson (Charleroi), Oniel Fisher (LA Galaxy), Blair Turgott (Ostersund), Norman Campbell (FK Cukaricki), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United), Anthony Grant (Swindon Town), Tyreek Magee (Eupen), Lamar Walker (Miami FC), Peter Vassell (Indy Eleven), Javon East (Santos de Guápiles), Romario Williams (Qadsia SC), Javain Brown (Vancouver Whitecaps), Richard King (Cavalier).

Rest of squad: Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Leon Bailey (Aston Villa), Liam Moore (Reading FC), Amari’i Bell (Luton Town), Wesley Harding (Rotherham United), Ravel Morrison (Derby County), Daniel Johnson (Preston North End), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford City), Kevin Stewart (Blackpool), Bobby Reid (Fulham), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City), Kemar Roofe (Rangers).

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