Boyz must win
REGISTERING victory will be the prime target for Jamaica's senior men's national football team when they tackle Panama in a Group B CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) match at the National Stadium tonight, beginning at 9 p.m.
The match is one of six in the fourth round (semi-finals) series, which consists of three groups of four, from which the top two will advance.
Matches at this stage promise to be more difficult. Reggae Boyz head coach Winfried Schafer has rounded up close to his strongest squad for the match.
Panama's Luis Tejada is out and will not lead the goal hunt alongside Roberto Nurse and Armando Cooper.
"Panama is a very good team. They play very good football, have very strong payers, so we have to go the limit in our performance, our fitness, our power, and continue to full the stadium," said Schafer.
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have experienced Panama's toughness. Both teams have notched two victories apiece and share four draws in their last eight encounters, dating back to September 2004.
Their closeness is also reflected by their rankings, Jamaica at 61 and Panama 65. None have ever won by more than odd.
Captain Rodolph Austin is back to partner Je-Vaughn Watson in central midfield, as well as influential flank midfielders Jobi McAnuff and Garath McCleary, plus Wes Morgan, the Leicester City captain and defence-line leader.
Others complementing that sector are Adrian Mariappa, an offensive threat at times, and Michael Hector, who was unnecessarily booed last occasion at the stadium.
Also among the defensive options is Alvas Powell, who is still being rewarded with a spot in the Jamaica team despite walking out on his country at the Gold Cup following their match against El Salvador in Toronto nearly three months ago.
Schafer, will not be on the bench owing to a one-match ban by FIFA for a verbal spat with match officials after winning in Nicaragua.