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The Reggae Boyz will be back in action on October 10th as they face the Samurai Blue of Japan in a friendly international in Niigata, Japan. Both teams have played each other on 3 occasions at the senior level. Jamaica has won once, drawn once and lost once against them.
Their first appearance vs Japan was at the 1998 World Cup in France where Jamaica won 2-1 and became the smallest country to win a game at the World Cup. Both teams met again in 2000 in the King Hassan Cup in Morocco where Japan won 4-0 and 2 years later in Tokyo, Japan in a friendly, both teams played to a 1-1 draw.
Now almost 12 years later, both teams will face each other again for the 4th time. Japan will be using this friendly as part of their preparation to the 2015 Asian Cup which takes place in Australia in January, while Jamaica on the other hand will be using this friendly to sharpen up for the 2014 Caribbean Cup which will be hosted in Montego Bay between November 10th and 18th.Japan has called up a robust squad to face Jamaica which includes the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Mike Havenaar who all play for the elites of Europe.
Of the 3 players, their target man to keep an eye on is Shinji Kagawa. The former Manchester United player is a goal scoring midfielder as he has scored 19 goals in 58 games for Japan. In 2014, he has scored 3 goals in 5 matches.
Kagawa is a versatile attacking midfielder who is technically gifted and intelligent when in the final third.
In order to take away the sting from this player, he must be drifted wide and our defense must remain composed on the day.On the other side of things, Jamaica has called up quality as well. Deshorn Brown is a player who is having a stellar season in the MLS for 2014, he has scored 12 goals in 24 games and he scored his first 2 international goals for Jamaica earlier this year vs St. Lucia and Barbados.
His height, speed and finishing are qualities that will bring some sting to the Japanese backline.
Winfried Schaefer has also called up Cardel Benbow to the senior team. Benbow is best remembered for playing for Jamaica in the U-17 World Cup in 2011 in Mexico where he provided the assist for Jamaica’s first goal at the U-17 World Cup. The 19 year old is in a purple patch of form after strutting his stuff for Waterhouse in the CONCACAF Champions league vs Tauro FC of Panama and DC United from the MLS.
The Reggae Boyz certainly have an abundance of talent in store for the Samurai Blues of Japan. Winfried Schaefer certainly will have a headache for team selection for the starting 11.