Jamaica makes team changes ahead of Egypt friendly

Norwich City rising star Jamar Loza was called up for Jamaica's upcoming friendlies against Egypt and France. (Photo courtesy of Norwich City Football Club)


LONDON – Before kicking off the third in a series of four friendlies, Jamaica announced squad changes ahead of Wednesday’s encounter against Egypt at Matchroom Stadium, home East London’s Leyton Orient. 

The Reggae Boyz have added Norwich City’s Jamar Loza and Dino Williams of Montego Bay United – both forwards – as well as Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.

Midfielder Demar Phillips, forward Darren Mattocks and goalkeepers Dwayne Miller and Andre Blake have returned to their clubs.

Loza is considered to be a rising star at Norwich.  The 20-year-old was born in Kingston, Jamaica, before moving to the United Kingdom as a child.  He spent most of last season on loan at Coventry City, Leyton Orient and Southend United, but was recalled in April and made his senior debut as a second-half substitute in City's last game of the season against visiting Arsenal. 

Williams, 24, netted a hat-trick in last month’s Red Stripe Premier League final as Montego Bay posted a 5-2 win over Waterhouse.  Jamaica head coach Winfried Schafer was in attendance at the decider and must have been left with a good impression from a performance that yielded goals in the 26th, 58th and 78th minutes.

Though his only cap for Jamaica came against the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2004, Thompson earned a recall after joining the Rowdies earlier this year.

“It’s always a privilege to represent your country,” said the 29-year-old Thompson, who as a member of Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers played in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions and UEFA Europa Leagues.  “I’m pretty excited.  I’m looking forward to meeting up with old friends.  It’s a pleasure and a privilege to represent my country.”

Jamaica opened its string of friendlies with a pair of narrow defeats: 2-1 against Serbia on May 26 in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, and 1-0 at Switzerland four days later.

It will close at World Cup-bound France on June 8 in Lille.