Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz refused to suit up for an early morning training session on Tuesday in protest of sub-standard hotel accommodations here.
Apart from the aged furniture and malfunctioning equipment at the Starfish Halcyon Cove Resort on Antigua’s north-west coast, the delegation here is concerned with the “high health risk”.
The Boyz arrived in the Eastern Caribbean country for their Concacaf Nations League (CNL) B match against the hosts, and immediately after being assigned their rooms on Monday evening after arriving from Kingston, the deplorable conditions became evident.
“Based on the current situation the players in protest have decided not to train and this is one of the times we have to sympathise with them based on the conditions at the hotel,” team manager Roy Simpson said.
The team official said Dr Bersha Cole, who inspected many of the rooms assigned to players, expressed concerns with what he found and the potential risk exposure.
“After a staff meeting here, the doctor expressed some serious concerns with the state of the rooms. Also of concerns for the doctor, is when we went for breakfast this morning the majority of the other guests were showing clear signs of influenza as they were coughing and sneezing, so our doctor is very concerned about that as well,” Simpson noted.
After engaging Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Vice-President in charge of international affairs, Bruce Gaynor, the players were said to have demanded “assurances” that the situation will be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“Our superiors back in Kingston have been made aware, and they are trying their best to get it rectified… But after talking with vice-president (Bruce) Gaynor, the players have demanded assurances that the situation is remedied,” said Simpson.
Meanwhile, Dr Cole confirmed that what he has found in most of the rooms that he inspected on Tuesday is alarming to say the least.
“So far the rooms that I have inspected have faulty air conditioning (AC) units that are leaking and have led to the accumulation of stagnant water and that provides areas for mosquito breeding and mosquitoes are already in some of the rooms and this presents a risk for mosquito borne illnesses.
“And because these AC units are not in good condition they present the risk for respiratory tract infection… I will be carrying out further inspections, but the rooms that I have inspected so far are of great concern,” Cole said.
Jamaica, who are on top of Group C of League B of the CNL with maximum 12 points and have virtually secured promotion to League A, are due to take on Antigua and Barbuda on Friday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at 8:00 pm (7:00 pm Jamaica time).
On Monday, the Boyz will complete their CNL fixture against Guyana in Montego Bay.
“Hopefully, we can get this matter with the hotel sorted out because we are aware of the importance of these two games and what we want to achieve… but we are confident that our superiors will get it rectified so we can get on with the business at hand,” stated Simpson. (Jamaica OBSERVER)