Damion Lowe and Romario Williams, Jamaica’s Egypt-based stars, have been called up to the Reggae Boyz’ squad for the exhibition match against the USA in Austria on 25 March.
The pair, who ply their trade in the top tier for Al-Ittihad Alexandria Club in the country’s third largest city, are the only players that have been revealed to be part of the national squad.
Jamaica skipper Lowe signed for the club last November, where he has since made 11 appearances. Striker Williams boasts 13 caps for the Boyz and, despite starting in the majority of Al-Ittihad’s games this term, has scored just twice.
Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore is expected to name mainly European-based players against the USA, which will be a rematch of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final that Jamaica lost 3-1.
And new faces are expected to be named as the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) recently started a push to try to recruit established players, specifically aiming for those who have yet to be capped in a competitive fixture by England.
The JFF want to strengthen their squad with their ultimate goal to reach the highly lucrative FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar next year.
West Ham United’s burly forward Michail Antonio is the highest profile player mentioned, and has signalled his intent to join the Boyz despite having turned down the JFF five years ago. Newcastle United’s defensive midfielder Isaac Hayden is also serious as he has applied for a Jamaica passport.
Others on the radar for the JFF include Kingston-born Rolando Aarons (Huddersfield Town), Andre Gray (Watford), Mason Holgate (Everton, on loan at WBA), Liam Moore (Reading), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Kemar Roofe (Rangers) and Ivan Toney (Brentford).
Former Leicester City winger Demarai Gray, who plays alongside Jamaican ace Leon Bailey at German outfit Bayer Levenkusen, has also been approached.
It is believed that JFF have started looking at bringing in fresh legs as a result of the recent contract dispute with their usual array of regular players, which came to light for November’s pair of friendlies in Saudi Arabia.
The obvious cost of air transportation will determine the squad against the United States at the 10,000-capacity purpose-built Stadion Wiener Neustadt south of Vienna, home to the club SC Wiener Neustadt. The United States smashed Panama 6-2 in a friendly at the stadium last November.
This exhibition match kicks off a busy year for both nations, which comprises the CONCACAF Nations League and the CONCACAF Gold Cup followed by the start of regional World Cup qualifiers.
Whitmore brilliantly masterminded a sensation 2-1 success inside the imposing Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyad last November, a few days after their abject display in a one-sided 3-0 reversal.
Whitmore’s choice of players have yet to be revealed although influential defender Kemar ‘Taxi’ Lawrence is expected to be included, having this year swapped New York Red Bulls for Belgian top tier team Anderlecht.
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