We need US$2mil yearly - Ricketts

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says that the body will be seeking to raise US$2 million (over J$276 million) annually to prepare its senior national men’s team for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.

“That is what the financial persons have suggested to the JFF, that that’s what the cost would be for practice games, for camps, and for moving these players around,” Ricketts said. “An expensive component, of course, is travelling as some of our players are based far in Europe and in Asia, and when you bring them here, it costs a lot of money.

“We are just hoping that we will be able to get some support from corporate Jamaica because this is important, and I really do believe that we have a good chance to qualify for the World Cup because the team is doing well.”

Ricketts says a chairman of the financial committee that will lead the JFF’s sponsorship drive will also be named soon.

“It will be chaired by a prominent businessman from corporate Jamaica, and with our marketing department, we are hoping that we will be able to let this product be of the highest quality that people will come on board to give us the kind of support that will be necessary to take us to Qatar,” he said.

The Reggae Boyz have been in good form recently, which has seen them top Group C of League B in the Concacaf Nations League with maximum 12 points.

Ricketts said that he is impressed with the team’s performance and he is confident that they will do well when they compete in the World Cup qualifiers next year.

“We are now in the top six, number three in Concacaf, and three of six teams will go to the World Cup, so we have little bit more than 50 per cent chance of qualifying,” he said. “We have had a pretty decent record against some of these countries that we will be playing against, and we are hopeful that once we can get the chemistry right, we could very well qualify for Qatar.”

The Reggae Boyz moved up to 45th on the latest FIFA/Coca Cola world ranking and third in Concacaf behind Mexico and the United States this month. If the Reggae Boyz maintain a top six Concacaf position come June 2020, it puts them into the final round of World Cup qualifiers, which start in September next year. In this new format, the top three teams automatically qualify for Qatar 2022 while the fourth place team enters a playoff series.

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