Saturday, February 13, 2016
JFF kickstarts 2018 campaignBY PAUL A REID Observer writer
ROSE HALL, St James — The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) yesterday kick-started their campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals set for Russia, even before the qualifying campaign for next year's showpiece has been settled, by announcing a home-and-away, two-game series against Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago later this month.
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz will play Trinidad in Montego Bay on Friday, November 15 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, and again four days later in Trinidad to kick off a bold campaign where the JFF is expecting to play a game per month as well as keeping busy during all the FIFA dates, JFF president Captain Horace Burrell said at a press conference at the Hilton Rose Hall hotel yesterday.
Interestingly, the games will be played on the same dates as the Confederation play-offs between Mexico, who were fourth in the CONCACAF six-team play-offs, and Oceania champions New Zealand.
The squad for the games is expected to be released within the next 24 hours, the press conference was also told.
Jamaica crashed out of the CONCACAF event even as new coach Winfried Schafer, who was brought in for the final four games to replace Theodore Whitmore, aimed at the fourth-place spot.
Schafer, who was at the announcement yesterday, said he would be using a mostly local-based squad with "two or three" overseas-based players, as "I want to see the local players, their fitness and their tactics... I want to see what they bring to the team."
When pressed, the German, who is expected to continue as the head coach past his initial four-month contract, named just one overseas-based player, midfielder and captain Rodolph Austin, whom he described as "the boss", and said he has a lot of football at the national level left in him, but he said a few more of the overseas-based players would be included in the squad.
Schafer said having watched a lot of club football at various levels and even the schoolboy games, he thinks "we have talent here, the players are ready, but we need to see them at the national level against other national teams".
Meanwhile, Captain Burrell announced that the cost for the game would be $500 for the bleachers, $1,000 for the grand stand and $1,500 for the VIP section of the grand stand, and he is looking forward to a capacity turnout at the stadium for the game.
"We hope all 7,000 seats will be filled for this game, as St James and western Jamaica deserve this game," he argued, promising that a good turnout would guarantee even more games in the future.
The Montego Bay sports complex has hosted three national men's senior games against Guyana, Venezuela and Cuba in recent times.
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