JFF, Boyz ready to count their blessings
The Reggae Boyz will not be short on blessings when they line up for their next match in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying semi-final play-offs against Costa Rica at the National Stadium on Friday, March 25.
They will be needing every bit of it. Costa Rica lead the four nations in Group B challenging for two spots to the Final Round play-offs. After two rounds, the Central Americans have maximum six points and with Jamaica lying joint second with Panama on three points, plus due to play in Costa Rica four days later, getting a good result will be key.
As the match will be held on Good Friday, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Captain Horace Burrell said they will be moving to appease their Christian adorers with a church service ahead of the football match, which is slated to kick off at 7 p.m.
“Being a religious day, Good Friday, and with Jamaica being a Christian society, the JFF recognises the significance,” said Burrell.
His organisation had moved for a postponement as a mark of respect to people who, by way of tradition, observe Good Friday as a deeply religious day. But FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, denied the request.
“The day is of religious significance and we’re trying to ensure that we do something special to show our recognition for this special day,” admitted Burrell.
“The JFF, having been unsuccessful in having the date changed, decided that the next best thing to do is to arrange to have a period of reverence and celebration and so we have a committee in place and we will be giving some details shortly.
“Basically we’re looking at having a praise-and-worship period to start at around five o’clock. We would dedicate a period to religious sermon, and so the Christians too will be asked to contribute by buying a ticket to come in there,” he divulged.
Continuing, he said: “We’ll be having some religious leaders to lead us in service. We’ll encourage the church groups at a high level to be a part of it and ask the Christians to come and be a part of it.”
This sort of service would be somewhat different from what has occurred in the past, especially in the era when the men’s national senior team was coached by Rene Simoes, who hails from the largely Catholic and football-mad country, Brazil.
Simoes guided the country to its first and only senior men’s World Cup Finals appearance in 1998 in France and throughout the campaign, he was also famous for wearing his jersey with the words ‘Jesus Saves’ written on it.
“In the past, Reverend All Miller has always preached,” reminded Burrell of the pre-game happenings.
In reference to the upcoming event, he noted: “You’ve to show respect to the Christian society and to God. Come in, enjoy the service and enjoy the football game.”