Sports

Venue change for Boyz-Saudi friendly

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States — The venue for this weekend's football match between Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and Saudi Arabia has changed, the Jamaica Observer understands.

The match was scheduled for 7:00 pm this Saturday at the King Fahd International Stadium, also called Pearl of Stadiums, in Riyadh. It is understood that news of the change came from the organisers on Monday afternoon, even as the Boyz made their way to the east coast cities of New York and Washington, DC, from Jamaica and their various club locations within the United States of America.

The game will now be played in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea, which is a modern commercial hub and gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The Theodore Whitmore-coached Boyz were scheduled to depart the USA last evening via New York and Washington, DC, for Jeddah, before making a connection to Riyadh. But with the change of venue, arrangements were being made to have the entire party depart from Washington, DC, yesterday for the near 12-hour flight to Jeddah.

They were expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia at about midday today (4:00 am Jamaica time).

Saudi Arabia have already qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, joining Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, as the Asian representatives in Russia. They finished second in their Group behind Japan.

The Saudis qualified for the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006, missing out on the 2010 and 2014 editions in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

The Jamaicans have played Saudi Arabia three times, winning one, losing one, and drawing the other. All three games were played between 1998 and 1999.

— Ian Burnett

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