Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Shootout at high noon

Coach expects stern test for Reggae Boyz against Cameroon

Published:Wednesday | November 9, 2022 | 12:12 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz celebrate a Leon Bailey goal during a Concacaf Nations League match against Mexico at the National Stadium back in June.
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz celebrate a Leon Bailey goal during a Concacaf Nations League match against Mexico at the National Stadium back in June.

JAMAICA’S REGGAE Boyz and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will square off in their first-ever meeting at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the African country today at noon, and Jamaica coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes it will be a good test for the majority local squad.

Although the Cameroon squad is also made up of homegrown players, Hallgrimsson believes the players from the West African country are playing at a high level and will present a challenge.

He contends that the professionalism and willingness the local boyz have shown to work hard and learn will be important when they face a highly motivated Cameroon squad.

“We got in the local players a group of honest guys trying their best. They should be respected. They made a long journey to play and represent their country, so I give them a lot of credit.

“It is going to be a tough match, so give them credit for working hard in training, being professional and taking on things we have put forward. They have been professional in everything they have done so far.

“We will see overall how the game will be played, but for now I can give them only credit,” he said.

He noted that the players in Cameroon’s squad are fighting for only three available spots on the World Cup roster, and with a full spectator turnout anticipated, he hopes his players can function efficiently in such an unfamiliar environment.


“We really don’t know the Cameroon team. Of course it is local players who are not going to the World Cup. Coach Rigobert Song said he will pick three players from the local squad to go to the World Cup.

“They have a lot to fight for and a lot to show and we will face a highly motivated group or players.

“There is also a lot of hype here for the national team for the World Cup, so we will face not only a highly motivated opponent with individual skills, but they will have a lot of people supporting them to give them a big send-off to Qatar,” he reasoned.

“We will approach the game like any other match. We have to keep the same way working and preparing. It will be the biggest crowd for these players. It is going to be interesting how we cope with the Cameroon team and the circumstances.

“Their players are physical, aggressive and fast. So this is going to be a real test for our local players,” he continued.

Jamaica have registered just one victory in their last seven attempts, with three defeats in that run.

The Indomitable Lions, however, have won most of their African Nations qualifiers at home and go into the game as favourites.

Hallgrimsson added that the team has maximised training so far and he will look for improvement in his players.

“We had four days of training. We had two days of defensive training and yesterday (Monday) was attack and today (Tuesday) was a normal stadium training.

“We are trying to maximise but we have to be very careful when you travel such a long distancw. We cannot overload the players, especially physically. But I think we have maximised what we can do in these four days.

“We are just working on the concepts, trying to get them to understand how we would like them to work

“We are working to improve the players in the future and this is the future of Jamaica’s national team,” he added.