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Gardner, Daley Back For Reggae Boyz
Jamaica's assistant coach, Alfredo Montesso, says the recall of veteran Ricardo Gardner and England-based Keammar Daley will add special qualities to the team as it defends its Caribbean Cup in Antigua this weekend.
Gardner, a 1998 World Cup veteran, and Daley, who plays for English League One club Preston North End, have been included on a 23-man squad, which was due in Antiguan yesterday.
The back-to-back champions are scheduled to play their first game tomorrow against French Guiana in Group B at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium.
Martinique and Cuba are the other teams in Group B of the Caribbean Cup finals
"Bibi (Ricardo Gardner) and Keammar (Daley) are back with the team and they bring a lot of experience to the game," said Montesso, a Brazilian.
The recall of 34-year-old Gardner, after a three-year absence, raised eyebrows in some circles here since the former Bolton Wanderers star is without a club and is now a free agent.
"Of course, they are not in the best shape," said Montesso. "But we decided to take this opportunity to have them and to see how we can work with them for the future … . They are positive and bring calmness, maturity and experience."
Jamaica's 23-man squad also includes Paul Bogle High schoolboy Alvas Powell and first-time invitee Lamar Nelson.
Powell represented Jamaica at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico last year and also captains the Under-20 squad.
An intense one-week training camp climaxed on Wednesday with a series of routines, including handball match-up, two-touch scrimmaging, set pieces, a vigorous exercise session, and a game using the entire pitch.
The Caribbean Cup finals begin today and run until December 16.