Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
With eight days remaining before Jamaica face Mexico in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying final round, it appears that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has taken a big gamble with a lack of preparation ahead of the crucial clash.
Jamaica will face CONCACAF kingpins Mexico in the opening game of the hexagonal stage inside the Azteca, Mexico City, on Wednesday, February 6, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Despite never having won against Mexico in Mexico, no training camp has yet been called in preparation for the game.
Most of the members of the Jamaica squad are expected to be drafted from overseas-based clubs in Europe and North America.
However, the overseas-based players will be available only a couple days prior to the game and are expected to fly to Mexico from where their clubs are based, which further limits any opportunity for training.
What is expected to make the situation more complex is the fact that a number of new players who have never played with the squad were recently drafted by the JFF on a scouting trip to the United Kingdom, led by JFF president Captain Horace Burrell.
When contacted yesterday, Burrell was not prepared to divulge any details on game preparation.
Announcement of squad
"The coach (Theodore Whitmore) will announce that (squad) and give details at a press conference on Wednesday at the federation's offices," he told The Gleaner.
Pressed as to whether or not Jamaica has sacrificed this game against Mexico based on their history, Burrell emphasised: "I have decided to mandate a press conference where the media can ask questions."
On the last occasion that both teams met in a WCQ, Jamaica won 1-0 at the National Stadium in Kingston on October 11, 2008, courtesy of a strike by Ricardo Fuller.
However, in the last 20 clashes between the teams, dating back to March 28, 1963, Mexico have won 16 times, drawing once and losing thrice.
While Mexico have been to the World Cup Finals many times, Jamaica qualified only once and that was in 1998 in France.
For this final round series, Mexico qualified easily, while Jamaica advanced on the final match in the WCQ semi-final series last year.
Jamaica's first home game will be against Panama on March 22 at the National Stadium, starting at 8:30 p.m.