Reggae Boyz tune up tonight

Jamaicans from across Grand Cayman will congregate at the TE McField tonight for another visit of the Reggae Boyz.

Reggae Boyz drop by Cayman

Cayman have trained hard for these matches. Photo: Ron Shillingford

They arrived on Tuesday for a couple of friendly games against Cayman and the first one, kicks off 7pm, is against a select side.

The Reggae Boyz are fine tuning for the Gold Cup competition in the United States next month.

Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller is the biggest name in the Jamaica squad which is now under the direction of Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, who recently took over the helm from John Barnes. Prolific scorer Luton Shelton is also in the Jamaica squad of 19.

Barnes is now boss at English League One club Tranmere Rovers.

Jamaica play the full Cayman national side at the Truman Bodden Field on Sunday, again kick off 7pm.

Jamaica captain Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner did not make the trip. He stayed in Jamaica to get treatment on a leg injury. Defender Ian Goodison stayed in England to sort out passport and work permit problems.

Jamaica faile to reach the last round of the World Cup qualifiers for next year’s tournament in South Africa so Whitmore has to set his sights on more modest competitions like the Gold Cup to motivate his squad.

‘We just have to treat this Gold Cup as our World Cup. We have to treat it as our only chance,’ he said at a press conference at the Centre of Excellence in Prospect.

‘The reality is that we’ve a good squad that is capable of winning the competition. It’s just for us to go there and demonstrate on the field. We expect a good performance and good performances always bring good results.’

Whitmore is hopeful that his best players will be in shape for the Gold Cup. ‘There are a lot of concerns, not only about Gardner, but Marlon King and Jamal Campbell-Ryce as well,’ he said.

Cayman technical director Carl Brown is pleased to see his Jamaican compatriots back. Brown coached the Reggae Boyz five times over a 23 year period.

‘This is an opportunity for our players to be exposed to top quality players. If we’re going to improve, this is the type of games we need.

‘We mustn’t be afraid of playing the best who are available to us. People question why we play Jamaica so often but this is the sort of relationship that exists in football across the world.’

Cayman keeper Joseph Tatum said: ‘This is definitely a step up from any international game I’ve played before. Our preparation has gone really well, we’ve trained hard and I’m looking forward to it.’

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now