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Jamaica adds Egypt to the list of International Friendlies

Jamaica adds Egypt to the list of International Friendlies

Posted by Shanelle Weir on May 08, 2014

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have added yet another high-profile opponent, in the shape of Egypt, to a clutch of glamour-friendly international matches to be played over a two-week span starting later this month. Having already pinned down Serbia for May 26 in New Jersey, Switzerland in Lucerne four days later, and former world champions France on June 8 in Lille, the Boyz have slipped in Egypt’s Pharaohs for a June 4 showdown in London.

The latest game will be played at the 9,000-capacity Matchroom Stadium, the home of League One Leyton Orient. Kick-off time is yet to be decided. President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell, said yesterday that tying down Egypt so late in the day fulfils the goal of the governing body to take advantage of those choice dates on the eve of kick-off to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals.

In addition, he noted that the flurry of matches represents “intense” activity for the senior programme as it prepares in essence for the CFU Caribbean Cup, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Centennial Cup America and qualifiers for the Russia 2018 World Cup Finals. “Securing another highprofile opponent is in keeping with our vision of preparing the team well to compete at the highest level. Egypt is a many-time African champion and is ranked highly by FIFA, so that will be a tough test for us. “All these matches also represent the preparation phase of the upcoming Caribbean Cup, and we must prepare properly and I can’t think of a better way to prepare, especially with the added incentive of a possible place in the centennial 2016 edition of the Copa America,” said Burrell from the Cayman Islands yesterday.

The local football boss said outside of when Jamaica played in the France 1998 World Cup, this latest series of matches ranks highly from a competitive standpoint. “This series of games will be tough and will present the coaching staff, led by Mr Winfried Schaefer, with the opportunity to look at players in different conditions and match situations,” Burrell noted. But with this series of games set outside of the FIFA calendar, there could be a difficulty securing the services, in particular, of players plying their trade in the US Major League or those in Scandinavia. “What I can say is that we intend to field our strongest possible team in all of these matches.

The reality is that these matches will not be played during the FIFA window, therefore, we have to be negotiating with the clubs to see how best we can proceed.

“We are mindful that these clubs have invested a lot in these players, and in the interest of those clubs, the players and the federation that also has a stake in the said players, we continue to have discussions and hope for the best,” Burrell said.

Usually, Jamaica, currently ranked 82nd by FIFA, would compose teams for international duty with a mix of the best local talent and professionals based in the USA and Europe.

After completing their assignment against Egypt, the Boyz will travel by bullet train from London to Lille, France, for their meeting with the 1998 World Cup champions to round out the four-match tour.

Egypt, ranked 24th by FIFA, is the most successful African team, having won the African Cup Nations a record seven times with their latest conquest coming in 2010.

Egypt have been ranked as high as ninth in the FIFA World Rankings, making them one of only two African national teams to enter the world’s top 10.

Despite this, Egypt have so far managed only two appearances in the World Cup — 1934 and 1990.

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