Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Boyz upbeat ahead of Copa debut

Published:Saturday | June 13, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Jamaica's Wes Morgan controls the ball during a training session in Antofagasta, Chile, yesterday. Jamaica will face Uruguay in a Copa America match today.

ANTOFAGASTA, Chile:

THE DATE on the return ticket tells a story of Jamaica, as far as the Copa America football tournament is concerned.

June 21, 2015, is the day after the Reggae Boyz challenge mighty Argentina in their final Group B match.

It is expected to be their last.

This belief, goes contrary to that of the Jamaican footballers, who - loaded with the audacity that characterise their people - are looking to make an impact in the South American championship and progress from big first round company.

Argentina, with world best Lionel Messi, have won the Copa 14 times, second in line to Uruguay, against whom they will kick off this afternoon at 4 p.m. (2 p.m. Jamaica time). The Uruguayans have won the championship the most, 15 times, including last year. Paraguay, the other contender, won twice.

Twelve teams are competing, two as guests, and for the first time ever in their history - Jamaica and Mexico - in three groups of four. The top two from each group will advance, as well as the top-two third-placed countries, to the quarter-finals.

"I think being in any Jamaican squad you always have that self-belief and that determination and trust in your teammates. We believe that if we go out there and play to our ability individually and collectively then we'll create problems," said midfielder Joel (Jobi) McAnuff.

"We know the importance of the occasion and also the extent of the task in hand. But, in the past, we've faced some good teams and always given a good account of ourselves and we'll be looking to do the same tomorrow," McAnuff, said.

Striker Deshorn Brown was just as upbeat.

"The man them feel confident that we can create history and make trouble among the world class players," he said.

"We believe in each other. People out there don't think we'll get past this round, but you never know what can happen because the ball is round. If you give your all, 100 percent, things can happen, but if you have doubts in yourself certain things can happen."

Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller, back in the squad after a long injury layoff, is also full of optimism.

"It's a tough tournament, but this is football and anything can happen in football. We're positive we can go out and give a good performance.

"Uruguay are a good team, with good players, but football is played on the day. We've to go out there with a positive mentality, a positive frame of mind; we believe we can win because this is football."