Do or die showdown

Ja­maica take on Suri­name at National Stadium

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Liv­ingston Scott Gleaner Writer

THE LAST time Ja­maica met Suri­name in a Caribbean Cup foot­ball en­counter, 20 years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, the South Amer­i­cans sur­prised their Ja­maican 3-1.

Now, the present group of Reg­gae Boyz have an op­por­tu­nity to avenge that de­feat when they face Suri­name in their must­win Caribbean Cup qual­i­fier this even­ing at the National Stadium start­ing at 6 o’clock. A win for ei­ther team will earn each a place in the 2017 Caribbean Cup semi-fi­nals next June, as well as a spot in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Both teams beat elim­i­nated Guyana, the other team in Group 1. Ja­maica, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, will be miss­ing cap­tain Je-vaughn Wat­son and full-back Ke­mar Lawrence through in­jury, but al­though Coach Theodore Whit­more ex­pects a very dif­fi­cult match, he is just as op­ti­mistic that they will get the bet­ter of their op­po­nents and move on to the re­gional foot­ball fi­nals and se­cure their place in the CONCACAF show­piece, the Gold Cup. “We know Suri­name are a very hard-run­ning team, and when any of these Caribbean teams play against Ja­maica, they are al­ways up for it. We know the sit­u­a­tion and we know it’s go­ing to be tough, but we

are looking for­ward to a good game, a good result and a pos­i­tive per­for­mance,” he told the Sun­day Gleaner.

“We are the cham­pi­ons of the Caribbean and we are looking for­ward to be­ing a part of the Caribbean Cup and the Gold Cup as well, so we have to do what we have to do ... and we don’t want to leave any­thing to chance,” Whit­more, who was a mem­ber of the team that lost to Suri­name in 1996, added.

Al­though the team will miss the ex­pe­ri­ence of Wat­son in mid­field and Lawrence’s qual­ity at left-back, Whit­more thinks this group is more than ca­pa­ble of mak­ing up for their ab­sence.

“With the ab­sence of these play­ers, we are a bit un­bal­anced, but it’s work­able and we are looking for a pos­i­tive result. It’s go­ing to be tough, but we will main­tain a level head and look for a pos­i­tive result. It’s the same play­ers from the Guyana game and they are hun­gry, mo­ti­vated and fo­cused, so we will be giv­ing a 110 per­cent per­for­mance,” he said. Key play­ers for Ja­maica will be for­ward Owayne Gor­don, de­fend­ers Di­coy Wil­liams, Shaun Fran­cis and Al­vas Pow­ell goal­keeper and cap­tain An­dre Blake and for­ward Dino Wil­liams.

RE­LY­ING ON KEY PLAY­ERS

Suri­name’s coach, Roberto Godeken, will be re­ly­ing on some key play­ers to give him vic­tory against the Reg­gae Boyz. Mid­field­ers Roxey Fer and Mitchell Kisoor are ex­pected to pro­vide much of the danger up­front for the vis­i­tors, and along with strik­ers Dim­itrie Apai and Ste­fano Ri­js­sel.

Ja­maica de­feated Guyana 4-2 in ex­tra-time in their Group I match, while Suri­name stopped the said op­po­nent 3-2 for both teams to come into to­day’s game on three points. If the game is tied at the end of 90 min­utes, ex­tra-time will be re­quired. If the ex­tra pe­riod fails to sep­a­rate the teams, penal­ties will be used to de­cide the win­ner.

PATRICK PLANTER/PHOTOGRAPHER

The Reg­gae Boyz en­gag­ing in a train­ing ses­sion at the Stadium East field last Tues­day.

Coach Theodore Whit­more

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