Posted on February 4, 2013
By Aldwyn McGill
Special to TropiGol.com
The kickoff of the CONCACAF hexagonal round is only days away and although Mexico and the United States are favored to advance out of
the three automatic spots to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz is very much in the mix as the last Caribbean hope.
Jamaica opens the hex round against Mexico in Mexico City on Wendesday, and I consider it to be a game that will bring out the best in the Reggae Boyz since motivation is a factor. Players usually relish playing against the best and Mexico is undoubtedly the best team in the region at the present time.
Taking everything in context I feel like Jamaica has nothing to lose and all to gain in Mexico. The most important thing in that game is for the Reggae Boyz to give a good performance and keep the score close.
While all games are important, Jamaica’s next game against Panama is huge in terms of importance.
Jamaica not only has to get positive results at The Office against Panama on March 22 but the Boyz have to show up for their point in Costa Rica four days later on March 26.
The hex is very competitive and there is not much difference in the teams. According to the hex trend any of the six participating teams can lose away from home and style of play may only determine which team had the advantage in the run of play, but at times not on the scoreboard.
Player availability is the key since injury and suspensions can be hindrances. Mental and physical readiness has to be expected when technical and tactical maneuvers will create individual brilliance at opportune times for teams to score and win games.
Mexico, the U.S., Panama and Honduras were picked by the pundits as the four teams to advance, but the last time I looked at the match-ups, Jamaica and Costa Rica chances seemed just as good as any of the other teams.
With only three automatic berths available for Brazil, the fourth spot is another way of getting to Brazil. It is what I call the scenic route, via a playoff series against the winner of the Oceania region.
The most successful trend has been to take care of home field advantage. It does not always hold true when the race tightens in the second half of the schedule but at the last (2010) hexagonal round there were no undefeated teams at the end of the first half of the schedule based on the home field trend.
Trinidad and Tobago was the only team which had lost at home (Tobago) to Costa Rica in the first half of the 2010 schedule
while home field was instrumental in El Salvador upsetting Mexico and Costa Rica defeating both USA and Honduras.
Hence, it is important for Jamaica fans to turn out in their large numbers to support the Reggae Boyz, who have had an undefeated streak at The Office in Kingston in the semifinal round of the 2010 World Cup qualifying that included Mexico, Honduras and Canada and seems more capable this time around.
So let’s go Jamaica!!!!
Aldwyn McGill is the editor of SSR Magazine. Photo by Aldwyn McGill/SSR Magazine.
Categories: Caribbean, Guest Writer, Jamaica, Mexico, My Two Cents, World Cup Qualifying
Tags: Brazil 2014, CONCACAF, hexagonal, The Office, World Cup qualifying