Following the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) announcement of their 23-man squad for the Reggae Boyz’ international friendly against Argentina, there has been an increasing amount of controversy after team captain Andre Blake was omitted from the selection list. With many voicing their opinions on the decision, Marley Group CEO Cedella Marley has shared her own thoughts on the matter and feels that the JFF is punishing Blake.
The Reggae Boyz will face Argentina later this month at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. With the match rapidly approaching, the JFF recently named the members of the squad and disclosed that the national team’s new head coach will be officially announced on Friday. Among the named players were goalkeepers Dillion Barnes, Jahmali Waite, and Kemar Foster. Captain and fellow goalkeeper Blake was noticeably missing, but according to the JFF, Blake was not selected because he had not taken part in any recent practice matches. However, Marley, a global ambassador for the Jamaica Women’s football programme, thinks there is a more sinister reason for the JFF’s decision.
In a recent Instagram post, Marley shared a picture of the Boyz with their backs facing the camera, with the words “WE WILL STAND WITH BLAKE 9.24.22 WILL BE HISTORIC” boldly written over it. Within the caption, Marley expressed that she viewed Blake’s exclusion as a means of punishment.
“How can the captain of our mens national team not be called up for this historic match against Argentina. Why do I feel he’s being punished for standing up to the Jamaica Football Federation? The whole world is watching @jff_football. You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time and now we see the light STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS,” Marley wrote.
Marley did not state a specific reason why the JFF would choose to punish Blake in this manner, but according to sports commentator Oral Tracey, Blake recently tweeted what some may view as a less than favourable response to the announcement of a new European head coach.
“New head coach with the same administration probably equal the same results,” the tweet reportedly stated.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Blake said that he did not know why he was not chosen for the upcoming match. “I don’t know why I wasn’t selected to be involved in the squad. I am for sure not injured though,” Blake stated, “maybe this is a better question to ask (Rudolph) Speid and the rest of the selectors.”
Blake and other members of the Reggae Boyz have openly expressed their lack of trust in the JFF administration in the past. In 2022, then-elected team spokesman Shaun Francis said the team did not trust the JFF, and that the administration lacked transparency as well as good communication.