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Reggae Boyz to face Messi’s Argentina

Published:Wednesday | November 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Paul Clarke photo Jamaica's Reggae Boyz, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell (left), head coach Winfried Schafer (eighth right) and other JFF staff members celebrate winning the 2014 CFU Men's Caribbean Cup final, following their 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Trinidad and Tobago at the Montego Bay Stadium last week Tuesday night.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC):

Caribbean champions Jamaica will face off with the giants of South American football in the prestigious Copa America scheduled for June next year in Chile.

The Reggae Boyz have been drawn to play back-to-back matches against Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay in a group B, presenting a major challenge for the Caribbean powerhouse.

Uruguay have won the Copa America 15 times, while Argentina have been title holders on 14 occasions and Paraguay twice.

Jamaica are the first Caribbean team to be invited to the competition, the oldest continental tournament in football, celebrating 98 years of rivalry.

"I know it's going to be an extremely great challenge, but as Jamaicans, we usually perform at our best when the odds are stacked against us, or when our backs are against the wall," said Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, who attended the draw at Quinta Vergara in Vina del Mar, Chile, Monday evening.

"Argentina defeated us 5-0 in the World Cup, and though they were a great team then and perhaps a greater team now with the likes of (Lionel) Messi within their ranks, we intend, as the first Caribbean team to play in the prestigious Copa America, to give it the best shot at a payback."

In Group A, hosts Chile, guest team Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia will do battle, while six-time world champions Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela will cross swords in Group C.

The Copa America 2015, which will be hosted by eight Chilean cities, runs from June 11 to July 4.

Jamaica are just coming off winning the CFU Caribbean Cup in Montego Bay, where they defeated arch-rivals Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors 4-3 on penalties.