Michail Antonio Withdraw from Reggae Boyz Selection Amidst JFF Disagreement

By L Bronson

West Ham United forward Michail Antonio has withdrawn from the Jamaica National Senior Men’s team 23-man squad, just a few days before The Reggae Boyz’s crucial World Cup qualifier against the top-ranked US on Thursday.

Antonio, who was anonymous on debut in Reggae Boyz 3-0 defeat at home to Panama in Kingston’s National Stadium last month, a defeat which has significantly dented the country’s prospects of making the top three finishers, gave his reason via a statement.

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READ: No Glory for Hammers Star Michail Antonio as Reggae Boyz Thrashed

“I can confirm that, unfortunately, I will not be joining up with the Jamaica National squad for the World Cup qualifying matches this week. Myself, West Ham United and Jamaica have all agreed that, given the logistical and travel difficulties involved at present, it is better for me to remain with the club in London at this time. I remain fully committed to Jamaica and look forward to representing my country in the future.”

But checks with a source inside the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) revealed that the player was not satisfied with the response he got from a request made.

It is understood that the player’s agent contacted someone from the technical staff on Sunday and indicated that Antonio would like to have his personal physiotherapist accompany him on the trip at no expense to the JFF. The agent also indicated that he would make arrangements to apply for an emergency travel exemption for the physiotherapist to enter the US.

Michail Antonio and others travelling from Europe had already received clearance to enter the US and it is said that the JFF staffer indicated that had this request been made earlier the physiotherapist would have been added to the Jamaica delegation’s list.

The staffer also suggested that the team’s support staff was comprised of a competent physiotherapist who could do the job as well, so there was no need for his personal physiotherapist. This did not go down well with the player and he decided to withdraw as a consequence.

Another source indicated that the hierarchy of the JFF is far from pleased with this latest happening, as they were never privy to the discussion between the agent and the technical staff member.

The full Reggae Boyz squad now in Austin, Texas, is Andre Blake, Dillon Barnes, Jeadine White, Javain Brown, Devon Williams, Jevaughn Watson, Kemar Lawrence, Adrian Mariappa, Shamar Nicholson, Junior Flemmings, Jamoi Topey, Javon East, Bobby Reid, Andre Gray, Kemar Roofe, Alvas Powell, Jamal Lowe, Oniel Fisher, Damion Lowe, Tyreek MaGee.