Sport

14 overseas-based Boyz for Guyana game

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Sunday, April 22, 2012    

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HEAD coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore has summoned 14 overseas-based players for a friendly international against Guyana slated for the Montego Bay Sports Complex on May 18.

Among them are the Waftord pair of Nyron Nosworthy and Adrian Mariappa, whose availability is subject to their Jamaican immigration and citizenship documentation verification.

Others invited are Chris Humphrey (Motherwell Scotland), Omar Daley (Motherwell Scotland), Ricardo Fuller (Stoke City England), Damion Stewart (Notts County England), Nathan Smith (Chesterfield England) Claude Davis (Crawley Town England), Keammar Daley (Preston North End England), Marlon King (Birmingham England) Lance Laing (Fort LauderdaleStrikers USA), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver (Whitecaps USA), O'Brian Woodbine (VPS Finland), Luton Shelton (Karabukspor (Turkey).

Of the 14 players, there are seven defenders, three midfielders and four forwards.

It's the first time in a spell that so many England-based players have been named in a Reggae Boyz squad -- due mainly to the players' availability as the UK football season winds down.

Also, Whitmore is using the opportunity to have a fresh look at the established members, plus close-ups of the new recruits as he homes in on his final squad for CONCACAF Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers due to kick off inside the National Stadium on June 8.

"Having looked at our overseas-based and local-based players, we are now finalising plans," the former Jamaica international was quoted as saying in a release from the JFF.

"As we face a long qualifying period ahead, it has been necessary to look broadly, home and away and to be very open in our objective of putting the best available team on the pitch for every game," the release added.

The Guyana game comes exactly three weeks before Jamaica open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Guatemala at the CONCACAF semi-final stage.

Jamaica, ranked 47th by FIFA and the Caribbean's No 1 team, also have Antigua and Barbados and the USA in their group of the home-and-away play-off series.

Whitmore has indicated that fans will begin to see the shape of his squad emerging with the Guyana match-up and two quickfire games against Panama on May 27 in Kingston and a return in Panama City five days later.

Most, if not all, of the current overseas invitees, along with the best local talent should figure in the remaining friendlies -- a sort of final audition for players seriously seeking to secure spots in Whitmore's 'Mission to Rio' squad.

Following an undesirable set of results last year, the Boyz bounced back with encouraging performances and results this year in four friendly matches.

In February, they defeated Cuba (1-0 and 3-0) in two games in Kingston and Montego Bay, before journeying to New Zealand to chisel out a 3-2 over the Oceana giants.

In a lone game in March on a downsized FIFA calendar for friendly internationals, 10-man Jamaica and Costa Rica played to a 0-0 draw inside 'The Office'.

Though he may say that the final results in these practice games are not by themselves crucial, Whitmore would no doubt want to maintain his winning run to take a positive momentum into the World Cup qualifiers.

JFF boss Captain Horace Burrell said he negotiated the Guyana game because it could give players and the technical staff a feel of Antigua and Barbuda, who are grouped with the Boyz in the CONCACAF eliminations.

Guyana, who have seen a recent surge in their game, are expected to be at full strength for the 8:00 pm kick-off in the scenic north-west of the island, which has recently staged a flurry of international matches.

Guyana eliminated former regional powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago to advance to the CONCACAF semi-finals.

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