Sport

Boyz upbeat!

Boyz positive as they prepare for day with destiny

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 15, 2012    

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THE Reggae Boyz looked upbeat during their first training session yesterday since returning home as they prepare for tomorrow's crucial World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda at the National Stadium at 6:00 pm.

Head coach Theodore Whitmore got the training session going half an hour before the scheduled 6:00 pm start with a light workout and the players looked lively and raring to go.

"We are a little bit disappointed but we still have a game so we have to remain positive on the Antigua game and we know what it takes and have to go out there and deliver," said Whitmore.

Following Jamaica's 1-2 loss to Guatemala on Friday, the Reggae Boyz's destiny are now out of their hands. They are on seven points, three behind both USA and Guatemala with one game remaining, and goal difference will be crucial in the final outcome.

The leaders have identical goal averages of +3, while Jamaica currently have a zero goal average. A victory for Jamaica tomorrow by at least three goals and any loss in the other tie will see them advancing to the final round of six teams, where three gain automatic berths to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals, and the fourth-placed team engage in a two-way tie with the winner of Oceania.

"We don't want to concentrate on the Guatemala-US game. We have a chance and we want to make sure we do what we have to do," explained Whitmore.

"We don't want to say if we did know. We just want to go and stay positive and try to get something out of the game come Tuesday (tomorrow) night," he added.

The Reggae Boyz invited Wolmer's High schoolboy Jorginho James and Harbour View's Montrose Phinn to the 22-man training squad, while injured centre-half Adrian Marriappa remained on the sidelines and jogged a few

laps under the watchful eyes of massuer Pablo Camargo.

Kavin Bryan also remained on the sideline, while the suspended Jason Morrison who is out on cards, was absent. Midfielder enforcer Rodolph Austin returned to training after missing the last game and looked sharp and focused. Whitemore and his coaching staff put the team through what they called "phase play" where they looked at attacking options and a lot of emphasis was put on finishing, something that was missing last Friday in Guatemala City.

Also there were a lot of crossing and finishing drills as clearly the emphasis is on goal scoring, something which will be critical on Tuesday if Jamaica is to advance to the CONCACAF World Cup quaification.

On Friday, the Boyz rallied from a 16th-minute Carlos Figueroa strike to level the score in the 61st via a Luton Shelton penalty, but misfortune struck five minutes from the end when captain Carlos Ruiz popped up to glance home a firm header to give the Central Americans all three points.

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