With the recent contractual ‘dispute’ behind the Reggae Boyz and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Damion Lowe, who spoke to 876Stream via Instagram Live a few weeks ago, insists that the narrative portrayed in the media about the conflict was misconstrued.
During the live, Lowe was asked about his role in the contract negotiations between the team and the JFF for the upcoming World Cup qualifications. Prior to an agreement being reached, it was alleged that the players had started negotiations at around $7000 USD per game while the management of the JFF insisted that it was too high, even though they had paid the then Reggae Boyz team $5000 per game in 2015.
The agreed contract for this year will see the Boyz getting $2000 per game, $1500 extra for a win and $1000 extra for a draw.
It was said that Lowe, along with other senior members of the squad, were leading a divisive protest against the JFF in the aims of securing a more lucrative contract. However, the 27 year-old center back denied such claims.
“At the end of the day we have to do what is best for ourselves and the country,” he emphasized. “People are very optimistic and are looking forward to great things from us.”
“[There are] a lot of persons asking who won…if it was us or them but it was Jamaica that won. Football won, because it shows that football is bigger than just pen to paper, negotiations and talking.”
FOCUSING ON THE FOOTBALL
Now that the issue surrounding contracts are settled, the team can now fully focus on the on-field tasks that lay before them.
First up, the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. The 16th staging of the event will take place from the 10th of July through to August 1 across eight states in the USA.
The Jamaicans have performed really well in the last few tournaments, reaching the semifinals in 2019 and finishing runners-up in both the 2015 and 2017 tournaments.
This time however, Lowe insists that the team is aiming to go all the way and lift the trophy.
“It’s ours to lose. We look forward to winning the Gold Cup,” Lowe stated confidently.
The confidence exhibited by Lowe seems to be one that is flowing throughout the entire team. Recounting last year’s double header against Saudi Arabia, though the team lost the first matchup, it was evident that there was a certain level of camaraderie within the squad, with players such as Ravel Morrison and Leon Bailey commenting on the unity and quality this Reggae Boyz team has at their disposal.
If recent matches are anything to go by, especially the defeat to USA in March, it is clear that the team is in drastic need of match fitness. The distinction between the slickness of play was evident, however, the Jamaicans did put together some moments of brilliance throughout the match, with one in particular leading to a debut goal for midfield gem Jamal Lowe.
The focus of the team is now redirected, it is now up to the coaching staff to properly select the players needed for the upcoming competitive fixtures and cement some level of consistency within the squad.
It is often lamented how crucial team chemistry has affected the Reggae Boyz in the past and with the recent addition to several new players to the squad, in addition to the ones that were added in the previous international break, it is hoped that the chopping and changing often associated with the team becomes less frequent in the next few months.
Nevertheless, with quality players such as Jamal Lowe, Liam Moore and Kasey Palmer being introduced into the National set up for the first time, it is clear that the JFF are building a team that will be feared throughout the region.