Bailey not invited for crucial CONCACAF Nations League tie
Michael Hector, Damion Lowe and Dever Orgill are the only long distance players drafted in for Jamaica’s squad for this month’s final CONCACAF Nations League (CNF) fixture.
And Leon Bailey, the talented midfielder who plies his trade in Germany, has been overlooked as Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz tackle El Salvador on 23 March (ko 9pm Jamaican time).
Defenders Hector and Lowe will join striker Orgill in crossing the Atlantic Ocean in Jamaica’s must-win match. The rest of the squad are either from the Caribbean island or competing in the MLS in North America.
Chelsea centre-back Hector, on loan at Championship high-fliers Sheffield Wednesday, has been a familiar face for the Boyz since 2015.
Since the London-born ace signed for Chelsea from Reading he has been involved in 22 games for the Boyz and been loaned out to four clubs.
Defensive partner Lowe, son of former Jamaican international favourite Onandi Lowe, competes in Norway’s top tier with IK Start. The Kingston-born star has 17 caps for the Boyz, and came up with the only strike in their slender victory over Honduras two years ago for his one and only international goal.
Orgill, who plays in the Turkish top flight for MKE Ankaragucu, will be aiming to break his duck on the international stage, having yet to score in 10 matches for the Boyz. The six-footer forward, who hails from Port Antonio, has been in and out of the squad since 2010.
Bayer Leverkusen winger Bailey, who recently went on record that he wished to play for a “bigger team than Jamaica”, was not considered for this game. The 21-year-old has yet to make his senior International debut.
Dalton Wint, the Jamaica Football Federation general secretary, explained: “Coach Theodore Whitmore has named a squad and the situation is that we are at a critical juncture with the Nations League, so we do not want any sort of disruptions at this time because we have to perform well in this game.
“Bailey was not considered by the coaching staff for either the Nations League or the practice game against Costa Rica.”
Jamaica are scheduled to travel to face Costa Rica in a friendly three days after their trip to El Salvador and will use the same squad for the back-to-back games.
The Boyz need to register a victory over El Salvador to guarantee both a place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and to progress further in the CNL.
Whitmore’s troops lie at no.5 in the CNL standings, having gained maximum points following success against the Cayman Islands (4-0), Bonaire (6-0) and Suriname (2-1).
El Salvador warmed up for their CNL tie with a comprehensive 3-1 friendly triumph over Guatemala 3-1 in Los Angeles earlier this month, which should instil some confidence as this was the first time since 1984 that they had bagged three goals against their near neighbours.
But the Boyz will be aiming to quieten the home fans inside the cauldron of the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador, the largest stadium in Central America with a capacity of 53,400.
On paper at least Whitmore’s squad should be able to do enough when they tackle El Salvador to reach the Gold Cup finals again, where they have finished runner-up in the past two competitions.
JAMAICA SQUAD: Andre Blake, Cory Burke (both Philadelphia Union), Brian Brown (Reno 1868), Javon East, Ricardo Morris (both Portmore United), Amal Knight, Fabion McCarthy (both UWI FC), Shaun Francis, Devon Williams (both Louisville City), Michael Hector (Sheffield Wednesday), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Damion Lowe (IK Start, Norway), Junior Flemmings, Kevon Lambert (both Phoenix Rising), Maalique Foster (Rio Grande Valley FC Toros), Darren Mattocks, Alvas Powell (both FC Cincinnati), Dever Orgill (MKE Ankaragucu, Turkey), Ladale Richie (Mount Pleasant FC), Jamoi Topey (Bethlehem Steele), Peter Vassell (Los Angeles), JeVaughn Watson (unattached), Jaedine White (Humble Lions)
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