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Costa Rica, Panama Friendlies For Reggae Boyz
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
The Reggae Boyz are set to enter their Brazil 2012 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on a high, after it was revealed yesterday that they will play Costa Rica and Panama at the National Stadium on March 21 and May 27.
The matches, which were secured by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President, Captain Horace Burrell, earlier this week, will see the Boyz thus competing in five friendly internationals before opening their campaign on June 8 against Guatemala at the National Stadium.
The other matches that were previously confirmed are two home fixtures against Cuba - next week Wednesday and Friday at the National Stadium and the Montego Bay Sports Complex, respectively - and an away game against potential play-off challenger New Zealand on February 29.
"As we continue our preparations for the start of our World Cup campaign, it gives us great pleasure to announce that we have confirmed another two friendlies," said Burrell at a JFF press conference yesterday, where it was also announced that Digicel would renew their sponsorship of the national football programme.
"The hope is that stemming from these games, we will be well rehearsed for our opener against Guatemala," he added.
Jamaica and Guatemala have been drawn in Group A of CONCACAF's semi-final round qualifying stage along with the United States and Antigua and Barbuda.
The top two teams from the group will advance to the six-team final round from which the top three teams will advance to Brazil.
The team finishing fourth will enter into a play-off with the winner of the Oceanic region, which was represented at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Meanwhile, it was also announced yesterday that overseas-based Ryan Johnson, Jevaughn Watson, and Jermaine Taylor will join the Boyz squad on February 19 for the February 22 Cuba friendly.
The trio will join members of a local-based cadre of players who returned to a training camp yesterday.