Jamaica Lines Up Catalonia Friendly Ahead Of South American Jaunt

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Reggae Boyz still seeking to appoint head coach before tackling CONCACAF Nations League group games

Managerless Jamaica have a hectic June to tackle with two friendlies and a trio of CONCACAF Nations League matches.

The Reggae Boyz, who are searching for a new head coach following their dishevelled displays in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, face the Spanish region of Catalonia on 25 May before playing kicking off some competitive games.

Suriname are next up for Nations League action. They are playing both their home and away matches next month, hosting the Boyz on 4 June and three days later visiting the National Stadium in Kingston.

  

Before Jamaica encounter familiar foes Mexico in the Nations League group stages, they have a mouthwatering friendly against South American heavyweights Uruguay on 11 June.

Catalonia, who are not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA, have an impressive record having chalked up victories over Argentina, Brazil, France and Spain. Jamaica were due to play a friendly against them in March 2021, but it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sergio Gonzalez, the 45-year-old manager of Catalonia, is also the head coach with La Liga outfit Cadiz. So he always has a plethora of players from the Spanish top flight to choose from.

Jamaica’s South American jaunt follows with back-to-back matches against the minnows of the Dutch colony of Suriname. Like Jamaica, Suriname were promoted from League B after finishing top of their group in the inaugural Nations League competition.

Suriname are unlikely to be feared as they have suffered fairly recent defeats to the Boyz, losing in the Nations League and last year’s Gold Cup.

Uruguay, who are preparing for a shot at winning the prestigious World Cup in Qatar this year, will play hosts to Jamaica at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

The South American giants, twice World Cup champions, last faced Jamaica at the 2016 COPA America Centenario when they romped to a 3-0 success. The Boyz have registered only one win in their five meetings, stunning Uruguay 2-0 at the National Stadium in 2004.

  

Mexico, the only side in the regional Nations League competition to be ranked inside FIFA’s top ten, will visit Jamaica for a showdown on June 14. The return leg is scheduled for March 25 2023. Mexico and Jamaica have had numerous tussles in recent times, with ‘El Tri’ getting the better of the Boyz.

The winner of each three-team group stage will progress to the finals in June 2023, with the event serving as a qualifier for the prestigious 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Jamaica are guaranteed an appearance in the 17th edition of the Gold Cup, in June and July 2023, if they can avoid finishing bottom of their group.

However, with such a hectic schedule lined up then the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) should install a head coach.

London-based Paul Hall, a former player for the Boyz, who was promoted from assistant coach to interim head coach last December is touted to be taking over.

Rudolph Speid, JFF competitions chairman, recently disclosed to The Gleaner newspaper about 49-year-old Hall: “We haven’t finished assessing him as yet, but he is still the frontrunner.”

Despite Hall’s baptism of fire ending in four defeats on the spin, the QPR U23 head coach managed to register a win in his final game at the helm.

March’s 2-1 home success over out-of-sorts Honduras leaves a far from impressive record. Understandably, these performances and results under Hall has strongly divided fans, former players and many of the island’s leading coaches as to whether he is the right man to guide Jamaica forward.

JAMAICA’S FIXTURES
25 May | Catalonia (a) | friendly
4 June | Suriname (a) | Nations League
7 June | Suriname (h)| Nations League
11 June | Uruguay (a) | friendly
14 June | Mexico (h) | Nations League

  

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