Sun | Apr 30, 2017

Boyz hunt Copa America warm-up win

Published:Friday | March 27, 2015 | 3:00 AMRobert Bailey
Rodolph Austin

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz will face Venezuela's in a friendly match at the Montego Bay Sports Complex tonight at 8 o'clock.

The 39-man Venezuela delegation arrived yesterday full of confidence ahead of today's encounter. Both teams will be using the match as part of their build up to the 2015 Copa America tournament, which starts in June.

The teams will be meeting for a fifth time. The Boyz have won once, lost twice and drawn once.

The last time both teams met was 2011 at the same venue. The Boyz were beaten 2-0.

Venezuela finished fourth in the 2011 edition of the Copa America, their best-ever showing, and are drawn in Group C alongside Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

Jamaica will make their debut in the tournament and will play in Group B where they will face Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

England-based duo, Adrian Mariappa and Garath McCleary, are back to bolster the Boyz and they could avenge that last defeat.

Mariappa, who plays for Crystal Palace in the English Premier League, is expected to form the backbone of the Jamaican defence along with Wes Morgan, who is returning to the team after missing last year's CFU Caribbean Cup Championships.

 

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McCleary, a winger with Reading FC, last played for the Reggae Boyz in March last year and is in good form, scoring twice earlier this week to help his team qualify for the FA Cup semi-finals.

Also returning to the team is Montego Bay United striker Dino Williams while Alvas Powell, Hughan Grey and Kemar Lawrence were all part of the winning Caribbean Cup team.

Jamaica's coach Winfried Schafer has also included local-based players, goalkeeper Peter Harrison of Arnett Gardens, and the Montego Bay United duo Ricardo Morris and Owayne Gordon. The other members of the squad are Romeo Parkes, Jermaine Taylor, Giles Barnes, Darren Mattocks, Daniel Gordon, Rodolph Austin, Joel Grant, Jobi McAnuff, JeVaughn Watson and Duwayne Kerr.

The Reggae Boyz will play their second of two friendly matches against Cuba on Monday at the same venue.