Barnes aims to clip Eagles

(Jamaica Observer) John Barnes has recruited two newcomers to the Jamaica squad for their friendly international against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in London on February 11.

They are defender English-born Tyrone Mears who plies his trade in France with League One club Olympique Marseille and midfielder Darren Pratley of English Championship side, Swansea City.

Mears, 25 – born in Stockport, England – plays right-back and made a loan move from Derby County last year, but is yet to make an official appearance for his new club.

He previously played for Manchester City, Preston North End and West Ham United. He played 70 games for Preston and scored four goals between 2002-06.

Pratley – born in Barking, England – was sold by Fulham to Swansea for £100,000 in June 2006 and is the club’s captain.

He has made 93 appearances for them with 10 goals to his name. Pratley’s father’s parents are Jamaican-born.

Other members of the 20-man squad are goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts, Shawn Sawyers; defenders Ricardo Gardner (captain), Ian Goodison, Claude Davis, Damion Stewart, Tyrone Marshall, Eric Vernan; midfielders Rudolph Austin, Jason Morrison, Jermaine Johnson, Demar Phillips, Omar Daley, Jamal Campbell-Ryce; forwards Marlon King, Dane Richards, Ricardo Fuller and Luton Shelton.

Meanwhile, Nigeria coach, Shaibu Amodu, has named a 24-man squad for the London showdown.

It includes goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Dele Aiyenugba; defenders Daniel Shittu, Joseph Yobo, Obinna Nwaneri, Taiye Taiwo, Chidi Odiah, Adeleye Ayodele, Onyekachi Apam, Olubayo Adefemi; midfielders John Mikel Obi, Kalu Uche, Paul Obiefule, Sani Kaita, Seyi Olofinjana, Femi Ajilore, Yusuf Ayila; forwards Nwankwo Kanu (captain), Ikechukwu Uche, Obinna Nsofor, Osaze Odemwingie, Joseph Akpala, and Michael Eneramo.

According to Jamaica Football Federation boss, Horace Burrell, he and his Nigerian counterparts agreed to final terms last week.

The game, which will be the fifth meeting between the teams, is at the 20,000-capacity Den in south-east London – the home of English League One side Millwall.

‘The game is definitely on, more than 90 per cent I would say. We have wrapped up all the major stuffs and only a few minor details remain to be dealt with,’ Burrell said from New York where he was attending CONCACAF Executive Committee meetings.

Burrell said he is also trying to arrange matches in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

‘I’m confident that we’ll have games on these dates because it’s very important to the continuance of the development of our programme. I am in discussions with federations from all over the world, including top footballing countries in Asia.’

Most of these games, he conceded, will be played overseas as the JFF feels the squeeze of the economic downturn.

He however promised that ‘a number of big matches’ will take place inside ‘The Office’, nonetheless.

‘We will not be leaving out the home fans because they gave unbelievable support in our three World Cup qualifying matches played at the National Stadium.

‘Yes, our first couple of friendly games will be played away, but we have plans to bring a number of big teams to Jamaica.’

The other FIFA dates for 2009 are March 28-April 1, June 6-10, August 12, September 5-9, October 10-14 and November 14-18.

Nigeria, ranked 17th by FIFA, were originally due to play west African rivals Ghana, but the latter backed out and opted to play No 15th-ranked Egypt.

The Eagles are getting in shape for their South Africa 2010 Group B World Cup Qualifiers and the African Nations Cup in Angola.

In four meetings between the nations, Jamaica (66th in latest FIFA rankings) have won once, lost twice and drawn once.

In their first meeting in May 2002 in a friendly tournament in England, Nigeria were 1-0 winners.

Six months later, the Reggae Boyz visited the Africans on the continent and came away with a 0-0 draw.

In 2003, the Jamaicans hosted the Eagles in Kingston and clipped their wings 3-2. The last meeting was in 2004 in another friendly tournament in England where Nigeria blanked the Boyz 2-0.