André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Omar Cummings may have been battling injury problems in recent times, but the 30-year-old striker was looking as sharp as ever as the Reggae Boyz tuned up for Friday's World Cup Qualifier against the US at the Jamaica Football Federation Football Centre at UWI, Mona, yesterday.
Cummings, who plays for Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer (MLS), suffered a Grade II ankle sprain in May and only made his return to the international scene during Jamaica's 2-0 friendly international win against El Salvador last month. He didn't seem to miss a beat, finding the net with regularity, as he prepared for what will also be a personal battle for him.
The striker, who says he is hoping to be among the first Jamaicans to beat the US in a football game, is also looking forward to securing bragging rights from some of his MLS colleagues, when both teams lock horns inside the National Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.
"I am definitely looking forward to this game and it's not a game that we can take lightly. We haven't beaten them yet and I am sure that everyone here would love to be among the generation of players that gets that done and so we are looking forward to doing that, looking forward to the challenge and feeling pretty confident about our chances," Cummings told The Gleaner.
"For players who do play in the MLS it's also a huge bragging right. I have a few players (on my team) that are in the (US) national team or in the pool of the national team, so it's not only for the country and yourself, but also a bragging right for us when we get back into the locker rooms in the US," Cummings smiled before sounding a warning to his teammates.
"They (US) are a very determined team and they are not going to take us lightly, if anything they have a lot of respect for us, seeing the number of us that play in the league (MLS). They always ask why we aren't doing even better with the calibre of players that we have in the league, so it will be a very tough one for us," Cummings said.
With seven international goals to his name, Cummings reported that he is now fully over the injury issues and that he is looking forward to taking his training ground displays onto the field, where it really matters.
"I'm feeling good, I played the last game for my club team and so I'm in pretty good shape," he shared.
"I have to try and be professional about it even in training, having fun but we still have to do things right especially in front of goal. You want to stay sharp and put the chances away in training, so that on the day you don't make any mistakes," Cummings added.
Mistakes are something Jamaican fans will be hoping that Cummings and the other Jamaicans will keep to a minimum, as they hunt their first win over the Americans after 18 tries, with top spot in CONCACAF Group A up for grabs.