Seize your moment!
Downswell says Argentina friendly presents world of opportunities
Jamaica Football Federation Technical Director Wendell Downswell (right) talks to Reggae Boyz Assistant Coach John Wall before the team departed the Norman Manley International Airport on Saturday. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

As the Reggae Boyz prepare to tackle former world champions Argentina in Tuesday's friendly international match, technical director of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Wendell Downswell is urging the Jamaican players to use the opportunity to impress the coaching staff.

The encounter, which will be newly appointed Reggae Boyz Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson's first match in charge, is set for Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, starting 7:00 pm Jamaica time.

Downswell told the Jamaica Observer the game is important for the Boyz because, among other things, it forms part of the federation's plans for next year's start of the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

"The expectations are high because it is a new thrust as it relates to Jamaica's football, and for us, we are looking at a grand opportunity to shape the nation's football," said Downswell.

DOWNSWELL...we are looking at a grand opportunity to shape the nation's football (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"This is a grand opportunity for the coach to have a look at these players and to see where we are, especially against a team such as Argentina. This is an excellent platform for the coach to to see them [players] against world-class opponents and for the players to showcase their talents and impress the coaching staff," he said.

Downswell underscored that the Argentines, who are one of the favourites to win the 2022 Fifa World Cup tournament, scheduled for November 20 to December 18 in Qatar, have assembled their marquee players for Tuesday's game.

"This is a very strong Argentina team because they are going to the World Cup, so this forms part of their preparations going forward and they are looking forward to a grand performance and equally we are," he said.

"This is a strong Jamaican team because this is probably the most formidable team that we could put in place presently, and hence this is an excellent platform to evaluate our players and to see where we are and then we can make the plans as it relates to 2023," Downswell stated.

The former national coach pointed out that the Reggae Boyz should also use this game as an inspirational tool because it offers the opportunity to play against Argentina icon Lionel Messi, widely regarded one of the finest players the game has seen.

"I think this should inspire the players a lot because this may be the last time that they will see Messi in this hemisphere in his career and, therefore, it will be a sold-out game," Downswell said.

"You can imagine the audience worldwide that will be zooming on this game and so it is an excellent platform for our players to play against one of the greatest players ever," he said.

BY ROBERT BAILEY Observer writer

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