Reggae Boyz one down, one to go in international friendlies against Saudi Arabia

Published on 16 November 2020

Photo: A Member of the Jamaica Senior Men’s team coaching staff

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (November 16, 2020)—Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will be seek to level the score when they meet Saudi Arabia Tuesday for the second of a two-game friendly series. This after the number one Caribbean team and 48th in the world lost 3-0 in game one in the capital city, Riyadh, on Saturday.

The encounter marked the team’s return to international football after Covid-19 protocols temporarily halted football across the globe. The Jamaicans had more than rust with which to contend.

As a sign of the times, a player and a technical staffer tested positive for Covid-19 two days before the opener. This after a goalkeeper returned home because of the virus before the team reached its destination. Management had earlier replaced an overseas-based player after a member of his substantive team tested positive, forcing him into quarantine. Additionally, five members of the team were still in mandatory quarantine in Saudi Arabia after arriving late. On Monday, the delegation reported that an administrative member of the team had also tested positive.

On the pitch, the Saudis, ranked 67th in the world, were the dominant side, going one up from the penalty spot in the 10th minute (Salel Al-Dawsari). Goal number two would come in the 44th (Saleh Al-Shehri), and the third in the 77th (Firas Al-Buraikan).

The match was Jamaica’s first since March 11 and their first defeat in seven games.

The encounter reignited Saudi Arabia’s preparations for the resumption of the 2020 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers next year. The Reggae Boyz, meanwhile, are gearing up for the Concacaf Gold Cup ahead of World Cup Qualifiers.

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