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Reggae Boyz To Tackle Tottenham Hotspur
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
The Reggae Boyz will face a stern test ahead of what promises to be their two toughest home games in the ultimate phase of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) for next year's FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil, when they tackle English Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs).
The match against Spurs, who currently lie fourth in the Barclays Premier League, will be played on May 23 inside the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Nassau Paradise Island.
The teams accepted an invitation from the Government of The Bahamas, and the stage is set for the first match featuring an English Premier League Club in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The match will also mark one of the major events in the new 15,000-seat stadium, as well as the yearlong celebration of The Bahamas' 40th anniversary of Independence.
"The Bahamian Government just built a massive new stadium and they needed to have a major event to inaugurate it," Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, revealed to The Gleaner.
"We were asked by the Bahamian Football Association to be that team playing against Tottenham Hotspur, who are going to be guests of the Bahamian Government.
"We gladly accepted the offer from the Bahamian Football Association to be part of the celebration and to be that team to play against Tottenham," he added.
The match comes just 11 days before the Boyz tackle Mexico in their fourth of six final-round WCQ - inside the National Stadium - before three days later also hosting the United States of America.
"We are going to use that game (against Spurs) as a warm-up because it is just before we play Mexico in Jamaica," Burrell expressed. "So we are going to treat the tour as a training camp and the game as a game to fine-tune our preparations going into the game against Mexico."
Burrell has already made arrangements with the Bahamian authorities to host the Reggae Boyz squad in the island for a week prior to the Spurs encounter, so as to allow the team time to properly prepare for the Mexico match.
"That game could not have come at a better time," Burrell reasoned. "So the plan is for all the members of the team to go to Bahamas and train, so at the conclusion of that we will be more than ready for the Mexican encounter in Jamaica."
Burrell also revealed that it has been agreed that both teams will field their strongest sides. This means the Boyz could come up against one of the best players in the world this season, Welsh winger Gareth Bale, as well as the likes of English forward Jermaine Defoe and his Togolese partner, Emmanuel Adebayor.
"It is a massive game and we have been assured that all of Tottenham Hotspur's first-string players, their entire team, will be there," Burrell disclosed. "On the other hand, we have been asked to field our strongest team as well, which fits right into our plans as we tackle Mexico days after.
"We will have all of our England-based players, because the Premier League season would have ended around the same time."