Reggae Boyz must fight for Jamaica
Mr Sean Williams, our assistant sports editor, could not have said it any better: the climbing jet carrying Jamaica's Reggae Boyz from Kingston to Panama yesterday morning was "symbolic of the soaring hopes of a nation".
For, as Mr Williams so aptly put it in yesterday's lead sport story, the Reggae Boyz will, when they meet Panama this evening, seek to conjure a miracle in their desire to reverse a spell of unfortunate results in their Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, that leave them at the bottom of the six-nation play-offs with a measly two points from six matches.
It will be exceedingly difficult for the Boyz to qualify for the World Cup Finals without a win in Panama City this evening. But even as we acknowledge that fact, we hope that the team will end that game with a positive result.
As was the case earlier in the campaign, the Reggae Boyz will need to find the right chemistry, given the addition of new England-based players to the squad.
The self-belief that was evident among members of the team earlier this year after the loss to Costa Rica, cannot be allowed to wane, because that will contribute immensely to how they perform tonight.
"We are better than we are showing," was the view expressed by Mr Marvin Elliot.
Mr Donovan Ricketts, the team captain, was convinced that the team has the ability to do much better. His assessment at the time was that they had things they needed to sort out "and get back on the right track".
We hope that they have. We also expect that the team would have been inspired by new head coach, Mr Winfried Schafer, who earlier this week told journalists that the Reggae Boyz need to "go to Panama confident, with power".
But it was coach Schafer's associated comments in that interview that impressed us most: "I want players who have heart for Jamaica... if they don't have heart, I don't want them," he said.
That, to us, sums up what is really required of the Reggae Boyz for the remainder of this qualifying period. For, without that heart, that burning zeal to win and see Jamaica through to the World Cup Finals, we would really just be mere participants in a competition that brings together the world's best players.
So tonight, when the Reggae Boyz take the field, and indeed for the remainder of this qualifying phase, they must, as coach Schafer said, be a team, not 11 players, but a team that will fight for each other and, most important, for Jamaica.