'They all want to play us' - JFF in discussions for March friendly

February 12, 2018

President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts says several countries have expressed an interest in playing the Reggae Boyz during the March 19-27 FIFA international date.

Ricketts told STAR Sports that he was approached by a number of officials representing countries all across the globe during the recent FIFA Executive Summit, which took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on January 18.

The administrator added that the JFF had made contact with all the qualified FIFA World Cup Finals teams, which would be facing CONCACAF nations during the tournament in Russia this summer, and says he is expecting further communication ahead of the international break.

"We are now inundated with calls as it relates to a friendly coming out of the summit (FIFA Executive Summit), but we have been having negotiations with two Caribbean islands. That depends of course on (whether or not) there are other teams coming up," said Ricketts.




"What we did, we got in touch with all the teams that are qualified for the World Cup who will be playing CONCACAF teams. We wrote to 10 of them, two replied - England and Germany replied to say they would have already set their schedule. The first positive response was from South Korea and we are waiting to hear from six or seven countries. Hopefully, we can fit one of those in for the FIFA date," Ricketts shared.

Jamaica and South Korea played to a 2-2 draw in their friendly international on January 30 at the Mardan Stadium in Turkey.

Ricketts, however, noted that several African countries - including Egypt, have also reached out to the JFF, as did Northern Ireland.

"Jamaica is a brand so everyone wants to play us. Egypt and several other African countries (have been in contact) - one is organising for us to meet in London to play, while Northern Ireland also want to engage us as well as several Caribbean countries so we are looking forward," said Ricketts.

Jamaica, ranked 55th in the world, failed to advance to the final round of qualifying for Russia 2018. They have only lost twice in their last eight matches, a 2-1 defeat to the United States in the final of the Gold Cup in July last year and a 2-0 loss to Canada in a friendly international two months later.

It is left to be seen if Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey will turn out for Jamaica if a friendly is secured, following a recent meeting between the JFF and his manager/father Craig Butler to settle several differences.

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