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 Jamaica: The 22 for France 98

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( June 3 was the deadline to submit the final roster.)

The list that Coach René Simoes presents is made up up of:

Goalkeepers: Wearing Number 1. on his shirt, Waren Barrett, 26 years of age (Violet Kickers), 13. Aaron Lawrence 27 (Reno), 14. Donovan Ricketts 20 (Waddadah).

Defenders: 21. Durrent Brown 32 (Waddadah), 4. Linval Dixon 25 (Hazard), 5. Yan Goodison 25 (Olympic Gardens), 2. Stephen Malcolm 28 (Seba Utd), 12. Dean Sewell 25 (Constant Spring), 19. Frank Sinclair 27 (Chelsea, England).

Midfielders: 7. Peter Cargill 33 (Harbour View), 3. Christopher Dawes 22 (Los Angeles Galaxy, United States), 16. Robert Earle 32 (Wimbledon, England), 15. Ricardo Gardener 19 (Harbour View), 20. Darryl Powell 26 (Derby County, England), 6. Fitzroy Simpson 27 (Portsmouth, England), 11. Theodore Whitmore 24 (Seba Utd), 9. Andrew Williams 20 (Real Mona).

Forwards: 10. Walter Boyd 25 (Arnett Gardens), 18. Deon Burton 21 (Derby County, England), 8. Marcus Gayle 28 (Wimbledon, England), 22. Paul Hall 28 (Portsmouth, England), 17. Onandy Lowe 25 (Harbour View),

Who did not make it: D Ricardo Gardner 18, D Gregory Messam 23, D Donald Stewart 21, M Altimont Butler 28, M Cornel Chin-Sue 21, M Stephen Malcolm 27, M Garth Peterkin 22, F Steve Green 19, F Wolde Harris 23, F Paul Young 28.

Jamaica soccer coach Rene Simoes surprised the nation's soccer fans by adding the wayward striker Walter Boyd to his 22-member World Cup squad.

Boyd had not played for Jamaica since the beginning of the year, when he was dropped from the team for failing to attend the nation's annual Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards in February.

Boyd issued a public apology for his behavior on May 19, and asked for another chance to revive his international soccer career.Simoes had said two days later that there would be no surprise selections in the squad. But in announcing his selection on Tuesday, Simoes described how impressed he had been by the penitent striker's tearful apology on Sunday in New York.

The only lingering question about the rest of the squad was whether injured defender Linval Dixon would recover in time to make the trip to France.

Dixon suffered an injured knee during practice at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay and missed the Reggae Boyz' last warmup on Sunday against a team of Caribbean all-stars at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

Team officials said he had recovered well from minor surgery to his injured knee and was deemed fit to make the trip to France.

Jamaica is likely to be the novelty act of the World Cup, just as Cameroon was in Italy in 1990. It also wants to emulate Cameroon's performance by reaching the quarterfinals.

At 1,000-1 odds to win the World Cup, Jamaica is given scant chance of even making it to the second round. But the underdog tag is something the "Reggae Boyz" have used to their advantage.

Relying on stingy defense, Jamaica has been anything but pushovers for soccer giants like Brazil and up-and-comers such as the United States. In their qualifying campaign, the Jamaicans amassed an unbeaten home record of 30 matches over three years.

Coach Rene Simoes, a Brazilian import, insists his team isn't built around stars. But the Jamaicans have more than their share of individual flair.

In Deon Burton, who plays for Derby County in the English Premier League, they have a goal-hungry forward with opportunistic instincts.

Overlapping fullback Ricardo Gardener, who scored in a 1-0 upset win over Colombia last August, could be a sensation in France.

With a reggae theme song and even a Jamaican tourism campaign built around them, the "Reggae Boyz" certainly are colorful. Offensive-minded they are not, scoring two or more goals only five times in their 20 qualifying games.

Still, Simoes is credited with transforming Jamaican soccer and making the nation capable of becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the finals since Haiti in 1974.

A youth coach in Brazil, Simoes became Jamaica's technical director in late 1994 and courted businesses to get his program off the ground.

Comments? Additions? Predictions?

 
 

Fitzroy Simpson

Deon Burton

Frank Sinclair

©AFP

 

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