SPORTING ALERT – The race for places from the CONCACAF for the 2018 World Cup will pick up major pace on Friday with six qualifying games across North America.
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A lot of focus will come from Group B where Jamaica will take on Panama in a must-win contest on the road at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
The Reggae Boyz currently sit in third place in the group, six points behind leaders Costa Rica and three below their next opponents after four games, so anything but a victory will more than likely end their chance of moving on.
Leicester City captain and leading defender Wes Morgan will play a big part in Jamaica’s chance of progressing, but coach Winfried Schaefer’s main problem rests in the attack.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup finalists have struggled to score goals in these qualifiers and have a goal difference of -4, which is even bettered by the last place nation in the group, Haiti.
Panama knows that a win against Jamaica will put the country in a very strong position and Los Canaleros head coach Hernan Dario Gomez wants his players to avoid any slip ups.
“We need to make that small step because sometimes we get everything right and then we go and trip up right at the end,” the Colombian coach said.
“We have to win these types of matches to change our history.”
Meanwhile, Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake, who will be another important figure for the Caribbean Islanders, revealed that he and his teammates are ready to do battle.
“They are a good team and we respect them, but we don’t fear them for sure,” Blake told the Jamaica Observer. “We have to go out there and impose our game and stick to our game plan and not worry so much about them.”
He added: “We want those three points at the end of the day… it’s tough Probably half of Jamaica don’t believe in us right now, but we have to do what we have to do and make Jamaica proud.”
In other CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, St. Vincent and the Grenadines takes on the USA and Trinidad and Tobago face Guatemala in a still very wide-open Group C.
CONCACAF World Cup Fixtures
Friday 2 September
5:00pm Honduras v Canada
10:06pm El Salvador v Mexico
8:00pm Haiti v Costa Rica
9:30pm Panama v Jamaica
3:30pm St. Vincent and the Grenadines v USA
7:00pm Trinidad and Tobago v Guatemala