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FOOTBALL: Ricketts to defend Jamaica's goal for the 100th time

Published:Friday | September 6, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor – Sport



PANAMA CITY, Panama:

For the 100th time, Donovan ‘Tall P’ Ricketts, has the responsibility of protecting goal for Jamaica’s senior men’s national football team, when they tackle Panama in a crucial CONCACAF Final round World Cup Qualifying match at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium tonight, beginning at 9 p.m.




The Reggae Boy goalkeeper is embracing the momentous occasion.



However, he will not harp on it, at least not for the moment.



Instead, Ricketts has fixed his focus on a bigger target, winning the match to restore the country’s faint hopes of qualifying for next year’s Finals in home of revered football powerhouse Brazil.



“I’ll think about it after the game because it is an important game,” Ricketts offered in relation to notching his ‘goalkeeping century’ for Jamaica in the game later.



“You can’t focus too much on the milestone; we’ve three points to get.



“Other than that it’s a tremendous achievement to get 100 caps for your country.”



It is an achievement that contrasts significantly to his team’s current predicament.



The Reggae Boyz are bottom of the standings in the six-nation play-offs on two points, having failed to win any of their six matches.



With three to qualify automatically for Brazil and a fourth given a half chance via a play-off with Oceania champions New Zealand for a spot, Panama are also in a desperate position.



The Central Americans are second from bottom with six points.



The United States lead with 13 points, followed by Costa Rica (11), Mexico (eight) and Honduras (seven).



All the teams have played six of their 10 matches.



Despite previous form, Ricketts said the Reggae Boyz are confident of beating Panama.



“I think we’re optimistic, we’ve the players to do it,” he said.



“Our backs are against the wall we’ve to get a result, hopefully we’ll come out swinging and get the three points.”



Both teams played to a 1-1 tie in their first-leg tie at the National Stadium in Kingston.



After tonight’s match, Jamaica will host Costa Rica at the National Stadium next Tuesday.



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