Bailey Remains Wanted Man By Jamaica
JFF will continue to offer winger opportunity to play on international stage
Leon Bailey, the whizzy midfielder, remains a target for Jamaica to represent them for their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The 20-year-old Kingston-born ace is a wanted man by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who claim that he may only be able to represent the Caribbean island.
Michael Ricketts, the JFF president, said: “Eventually he will want to know that he is playing national football, not just club football.
“And if he is not qualified to play for another country through naturalisation or through marriage, the only country that he can legally represent is Jamaica.”
Craig Butler, Bailey’s stepfather and agent, has been at odds with the JFF for some time over the Bayern Leverkusen winger. And he has already made it a clear that Bailey has potential options to kick-off his full international career with Belgium, England and even Malta touted if he continues to snub Jamaica.
Ricketts is eager to tempt Bailey to make an U-turn to represent his country of birth, but has a battle on his hands with Butler who would like to have some power within the JFF.
Ricketts added: “We are going to continue to invite him, and each time we have a game that will be played in the FIFA window, we will extend an invitation to him.
“Whenever he is ready and wants to respond positively, then fine. But we always want to select the best players, and he is one of our better players.”
Yet Bailey recently slammed the JFF and was adamant that he wouldn’t consider playing for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz until he sees changes made – a diluted version of comments that mirrored Butler’s Facebook page full of rants about the JFF.
But Ricketts explained: “We aren’t going to do anything special to facilitate any particular player. Whatever we do is exclusively, in the interest of the football, nationally, and we can’t make an adjustment for a player.
“The JFF is structured in a certain way, and if we think that we need to make adjustments in order to develop the interest of the sport, then we will, but not at the demand of a particular player.
“The Caribbean looks to Jamaica for leadership, which means that they see something in our structure that they are impressed with.”
The ball is firmly in Bailey’s court, whose progress is being monitored by top teams in England, Germany and Spain, and the international stage beckons for the talented youngster.
But until Butler becomes an ally with the JFF then Ricketts’ overtures will fall on deaf ears and the Boyz will battle on without Bailey in their bid to reach the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
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