Centre-back Lowe believes Boyz can beat Mexico at feared Azteca
LOWE... I don't think we're fearful (Photo: Paul Reid)

CATHERINE HALL, St James — Veteran Jamaican defender Damion Lowe thinks Jamaica stands a good chance to beat a Mexican team that is at a crossroads in their programme when the teams meet on Sunday in the Group A of League A semi-finals of the Concacaf Nations League at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Lowe, who has captained the team in the past, says with a number of veteran Mexican players stepping down and the younger players not as accustomed to teams in Concacaf, the Reggae Boyz stand a good chance of upsetting them and qualifying for the Nations League final slated for in June in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Speaking to the media before Friday's final training session at the Montego Bay Sports Complex before the team left for Mexico, Lowe, who plays for the Philadelphia Union, says any fear factor that was attributed to the Jamaicans playing in Mexico could have been coming from the fans and not the players.

"To be honest, since I've been playing for Jamaica, I think Mexico have only beaten us twice and I have played against them probably five or six times. To be honest, I don't think we're fearful, I think it was more from a fans' perspective because even from back in the days you still had Reggae Boyz going to the Azteca and causing problems," he said.

Lowe said it was about application.

"It's just getting the results sometimes you have a bogey team which you just can't beat, but a lot has changed. Our football has grown and we've got Mexico in our transition time and it's an important time for us," he told members of the media.

"We're transitioning, but also we have players that are experienced with the Mexico team. A lot of the older guys have stepped down and you know the younger guys are coming and they're not as experienced in Concacaf as we are. So it should, you know, work to our advantage," he added.

Jamaica, Lowe said, came close to getting their first win at the Azteca not long ago.

"I think in the last World Cup qualifiers we played there, we could have won the game. We weren't at full potential; a lot of overseas-based players weren't available, but the local guys came in and they did really well. And you know, and I think [in] that game, we came off 2-1, but I think, to be honest, that game showed that we can really do some damage," he reasoned.

Lowe believes the recent five-day camp has worked well as it gave the players time to learn the new system being put in by the coaching staff.

"It's been good so far, taking things step by step, a lot of new players, a new coaching staff, new philosophy, so we're just trying to put the puzzle together," he said. "It's piecing together good, I think the players have bought into the system and we're trying to have an identity, finally... I'm trying to basically just work with the coach [and] understanding the role that he wants us to play," said the towering defender.

Lowe said the inherent speed of Jamaicans and their physicality could be a good base on which to build the playing style.

"Over the years, decades, Jamaican people have been the fastest in the world and more physical, skilful, so at the end of the day, we have to just buy into the system and use that to our advantage," he said. "Use what works for us and don't try to do something else that isn't going to work for the coach. He's good at what he does. His philosophy is good," he concluded.

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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