Sun | May 27, 2018

Game on! - Waite, Gaynor welcome friendly int'l between Jamaica and Saudi Arabia

Published:Friday | September 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment
Jamaica's Je-Vaughn Watson (left) fights for the ball against Canada's David Junior Hoilett during the second half of an international friendly football match on Saturday, September 2, at BMO Field in Toronto.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has confirmed that the proposed international friendly match between Jamaica and hosts Saudi Arabia, set for October 7 in Riyadh, will go ahead as planned.

There were concerns that the game would have been scrapped for that date, as the application by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to have the match played had not been submitted to FIFA on time.

However, JFF Vice-president Bruce Gaynor confirmed to The Gleaner that the problem was sorted.

"The game is very much on," he said. "This is a good opportunity for us to take our young players and our local players to experience somewhere in the Middle East."

Gaynor said that friendlies such as these are valuable because they provide experience in unusual environments, and he said that the JFF will always be looking to get similar matches in the future.

"The JFF will play anywhere around the world once it is safe to go there," he said.




Meanwhile, Reggae Boyz assistant coach Jerome Waite said that the team will not let the environment, which many consider unusual and possibly hostile on the night, get the better of the team.

"Look, this is a team that faced USA and Mexico in the Gold Cup in what people would say was a tough environment to play in, but the players worked hard and gave a good showing of themselves," Waite said. "So I don't think they would be overawed by the environment."

Although a squad has not yet been named, Waite said that the team will be made up of local- and overseas-based players, meaning it is likely to feature the same core of players who finished as runners-up in this year's CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

"It's a mixture. You will have to continue to get games, and games help to build up players and give them valuable experience, especially against a team like Saudi Arabia that is going to the World Cup next year."

Waite added that the coaching staff had been looking at the last result, which was a 1-0 loss to hosts Canada, and although there are positives to take from the result, they will be assessing the team's defending and attack in upcoming training sessions.