As all of Jamaica anticipates the crucial final match in their World Cup Qualifying group, The Reggae Boyz prepare physically and mentally for the task at hand. The task: to beat Canada by at least five goals.

But Assistant Head Coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore feels that physical training is not the only way to prepare for such a challenge. Last night, just 24 hours before their crucial match against Canada, the Reggae Boyz including coaching staff, Technical Director John Barnes and JFF President Horace Burrell, sat down to a team building dinner at Norma’s on the Terrace compliments of Reggae Boyz sponsor Digicel.

Coach Whitmore explains the reason for the dinner: “The players always eat at the hotel the night before the match, but this time we thought a more relaxed environment would do them good as a team. This is something we used to do when we were qualifying for World Cup 98 and it worked then, so we decided to bring this back.

A dinner like this, in a setting like this, helps with building a team’s spirit. We all laughed and chatted and it was a nice little chill vibe. It brings a unity to the team which I think is important. It’s all about a positive vibe before a match and we need this now more than ever. We would love to do this before every big match. Thanks again to Digicel for helping us make this possible.

Reggae Boyz Captain, Ricardo ‘Bebe’ Gardner, also commented on the team building dinner: “The dinner was great. It’s good to get everyone together to sit and have a laugh and chat. It’s always good to be united as a team and last night really did that. Tonight is a crucial match and last night was a good tension breaker. We are confident about tonight. We are all going to give our hearts to this game, individually and collectively.”

Tonight’s match against Canada is the last match of the group and the top two teams will enter into the final qualifying round for 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The Reggae Boys are currently at third place in the group and need a win tonight. They also need for Honduras to lose their match against Mexico in tonight’s match. If Honduras draws against Mexico, Jamaica must win by at least 5 goals to be able to qualify for the next round.

Coach Whitmore explains just how crucial tonight’s game is for the Reggae Boyz: “The team knows what they have to do tonight and we are focused. I guarantee a good performance and the results will reflect our determination. We are looking to win by at least 5 goals so that we don’t have to worry about the Honduras vs. Mexico match. Our destiny is in our own hands and we don’t want to depend on the results of Honduras.”

Digicel Sports Sponsorship Manager, Paula Pinnock-MacLeod commented on the success of the dinner: “It was a great evening and the Boyz got an opportunity to relax as a team in a way that they would not normally have a chance to do because of their overseas commitments. The Reggae Boyz victory to date is no small accomplishment and we are happy to have had the opportunity to show Tappa and the Boyz how much they are appreciated not only by Digicel but by the entire country.”

This is not the Reggae Boyz final match this year, however, as on their journey to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, The Reggae Boyz will stop off at the Finals of the Digicel Caribbean Championships next month in Jamaica where they are expected to do well.

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