Hallgrímsson confident in squad as Boyz chase Gold Cup crown
Philadelphia Union goalkeeeper amd Reggae Boyz Captain Andre Blake will be competing in his fifth Gold Cup tournament.
Heimir Hallgrímsson, the head coach of the Jamaican senior men’s football team, says he is confident the 23-man squad that was named for the Concacaf Gold Cup will be able to represent the country at the continental championships that starts this Saturday in the United States.
Demarai Gray, the exciting striker who represents Everton FC in the English Premier League, is the only newcomer to the team that will see six players from the English topflight.
Former Kingston College standout Dujuan Richards also made the cut, but attacking player Jamal Lowe who was expected to be part of the squad had asked not to be included, it was announced at a press conference on Monday.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake and wing-back Kemar Lawrence joined former goalkeeper Dwayne Miller being part of five Gold Cup squads.
Michail Antonio (left) and Bobby Reid were both included in Reggae Boyz’ Concacaf Gold Cup squad.
Hallgrimsson, who said he hoped the Jamaica public will support the players, said: “These are the players who we think can do a good job for Jamaica at the Gold Cup, could we have selected others? For sure, but these are the [players] who we selected who we think are best to do the job for us.”
He added: “I hope Jamaicans will support these players, even though you might think someone else [should] be there…support them in the Gold Cup, after the tournament we can discus who we think should have been there.”
Defender Ethan Pinnock of Brentford is a doubt for the first game in Chicago on Saturday, as he is said to be staying behind in England to be with his wife who had just given birth to their fourth child.
Hallgrimsson said he had permission from the player to explain the situation with the baby who he said had some “complications”, but said they are taking the situation “day by day”.
“As soon as he can join us, he will and we wish him all the best and show him the respect to allow him to stay with his family,” noted Hallgrimmsson.
The 26-year-old Gray had been a target for the Jamaica Football Federation for years, but only got his passport recently.
As expected English Premier League players Bobby Reid, Michail Antonio and Leon Bailey, who missed the camp in Austria, were included.
Squad: Goalkeepers — Andre Blake, Jamali Waite, Coniah Boyce-Clarke; Defenders — Amari’i Bell, Ethan Pinnock, Di’Shon Bernard, Adrian Mariappa, Dexter Lembiska, Damion Lowe, Javain Brown, Kemar Lawrence; midfielders — Kevon Lambert, Jonathan Russell, Joel Latibeaudiere, Bobby Reid, Daniel Johnson, Kaheem Paris; forwards — Michail Antonio, Shamar Nicholson, Leon Bailey, Cory Burke, Dujuan Richards, Demarai Grey