Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Reggae Boyz defender eyes Copa America upset

Published:Saturday | June 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Reggae Boyz at breakfast yesterday in Vina Del Mar, Chile.


DEFEATING Argentina looks near impossible. But one of the Reggae Boyz with a key role to play in that gargantuan Copa America task, central defender Michael Hector, believes that if Jamaica plays to its strengths and tightens up in defence, anything could happen.

"We are good going forward. We are quick; we are strong. I think we need to use that to our advantage and try and cause an upset because if we want to stay in the competition, we've got to beat Argentina," said Hector.

Without a point, Jamaica must win against the beaten World Cup finalists, ranked number three in the world, to maintain any hope of advancing from Group B as one of the best third-place teams in the competition.

There are three groups of four teams each. Argentina and Copa America runners-up Paraguay are tied with four points atop the group, with Uruguay, the defending champions, on three.

Jamaica will tackle Argentina here tomorrow, while Paraguay will battle Uruguay.

The Argentine team is loaded with star quality, some of the game's best offensive players in Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Manchester City's Sergio Ag¸ero, Manchester United's Angel di Maria and Paris St Germain's Ezequiel Lavezzi, which make them seemingly unbeatable against 65th-ranked Jamaica.

"You never know with football. Anything can happen on the day, but we've got to cut out the silly mistakes that lead to goals and if we stay solid, then a set piece or a counter-attack could do it," Hector remarked.

The 22-year-old Reading defender was recently drafted by coach Winfried Sch‰fer and has represented Jamaica twice in both Copa America 1-0 losses against Uruguay and Paraguay.

From birth, it appears, he could only play for only one country.

strong connection to ja

"My dad always put me in a Jamaica shirt when I was younger growing up in London, and from his side of the family, there's a strong connection to Jamaica. I've always wanted the opportunity to play for Jamaica and I knew that if I had the chance, I was going to choose Jamaica first," he said.

"It's an honour for me that I'm part of the team in such a way that I'm starting games and I'm playing, and I feel that Jamaica's on the rise and it's a good time for me to join the group. I feel we can push towards the World Cup.

"It's (Copa America) a great test for me and the players ... to play in tournaments like these. You want to test yourself against the best players in the world and you can only do that if you play in a big tournament, and this is a big tournament."

As it relates to the team, Hector says "it's a good bunch" that's making advances.

"There're lads that are loud, those who are quiet, those who are jokers and stuff like that. Anywhere in football you go, it's like that, and you need that to be a good team ... but it has to be serious when it gets down to meetings and games, and we're getting that balance right and that's only going to help us going forward."