EYES RIGHT - Boyz look to continue winning run against Suriname

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Saturday, November 17, 2018

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CATHERINE HALL, St James — Despite having the team for only two training sessions, Head Coach Theodore Whitmore is confident Jamaica can make it three wins from three starts in the Concacaf Nations League when they take on Suriname at the Montego Bay Sports Complex today starting at 7:00 pm.

Jamaica, who are ranked number six in Concacaf and are sixth in the points table with six points, will face the 20th-ranked Suriname who are on four points but coming off a morale-boosting 5-0 win over the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in their last game, played at home.

Ten countries have won their first two games in the Nations League, with Jamaica in sixth spot based on goal difference after their 4-0 win over the Cayman Islands and 6-0 win over Bonaire.

“We are expecting a good performance from the players,” Whitmore told the Jamaica Observer. “It is not the best of situations and it is not conducive to what we would want, but we hope for the best come Saturday,” he said of the limited preparations the team has had.

He said he was prepared for a tough game none the less. “Anytime we play against Caribbean teams we know it is going to be tough. The last game in Bonaire it was more like wrestling, so we have to focus and get our minds on the job.”

The Jamaican team will be made up of local and US-based players.

Whitmore said the coaching staff would not decide on a starting team until after yesterday's second training session at the Catherine Hall venue.

Their options might be one less after Jamiel Hardware pulled up in training on Thursday with a groin injury and Whitmore could be limited to just 19 players.

“It won't be easy but we must be organised and compact and take the chances we get and put them away,” Whitmore said.

The Surinamese team arrived in the island from Florida on Wednesday after a camp, and their confidence will be up after their big win over the BVI.

In five meetings dating back 52 years to 1966, Jamaica have only lost to Suriname twice, 3-5 in their first meeting and 30 years later in 1996 when Onandi Lowe scored Jamaica's lone goal in a 1-3 loss in a Caribbean Cup first-round game played in Trinidad and Tobago.

All three wins for Jamaica were by 1-0 margins — twice in back-to-back games in March and April 1996 in their successful FIFA World Cup qualification, with Whitmore scoring in the first game played in Suriname and Paul “Tegat” Davis scoring in their return game played at National Stadium.

The most recent game was two years ago at National Stadium when Cory Burke, who is in this team and could be in the starting XI, scored the winner.

Burke has scored three of Jamaica's 10 goals in their last two games, while Ricardo Morris, who also had a brace against Bonaire, 20-year-old Peter-Lee Vassell, Owayne Gordon and Dane Kelly, who came off the bench, add to the tally.

Darren Mattocks, who also scored a double in the win over the Cayman Islands, started the two previous game and Whitmore could lean towards staying as close to the core of the last two games as he can.

After being held goalless by Dominica in their first game, Suriname exploded against the BVI with Stefano Rijssel scoring twice in the one-sided game, and they will be hoping to get at least a point from the game today.

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