Momentum building for Haiti vs. Jamaica Clash

Leonard Smart - April 25 2009, 4:48 PM

Momentum building for Boyz-Haiti clash

Sean Williams

Friday, April 24, 2009

With over a month to go to kick-off, momentum is already building for the Reggae Boyz's friendly international match against Haiti at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, organisers say.

The game, to be played on Saturday, May 23, is being promoted as part of a special weekend of celebrations for south Florida's vast Caribbean Diaspora and expectations are running high with supporters of both teams.

"The vibe is exactly what we expected, a lot of excitement," said Jeremy Mullings of promoters Paradise Music Distribution and Rush Promotions.

Mullings, speaking from Florida on Wednesday, said while Jamaican and Haitian expatriates "have a certain respect for each other", their football teams have a history of fierce competition on the field of play.

"They each have something to prove in terms of dominance in Caribbean football as both have been to the World Cup," he said.

Haiti was the second Caribbean nation to go to the FIFA World Cup in 1972, while Jamaica was the first English-speaking country to make it to the game's big stage back in 1998. Cuba in 1938 was the first to go to the World Cup, while Trinidad and Tobago did so in 2006.

Haitian agent, Miguel Trujillo, on Wednesday said his team is taking the match-up against rivals Jamaica "very seriously".

He added that in the past Jamaica have underestimated Haiti, but warned that if they do so this time around "they will be in for a surprise".

Haiti and Jamaica first played each other in 1925 and their last meeting, according to eloratings.net, was back on October 1, 2006, where the Boyz were 2-0 winners at the National Stadium in a Digicel Caribbean Cup qualifier.

Soon after the announcement of next month's fixture was made by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell last week, the promoters immediately launched a marketing and advertising campaign as they seek to fill the 20,500-capacity Lockhart Stadium, a venue that has hosted the Boyz on many occasions.

"...Promotions have started, but we have found that hardcore soccer fans already know about the match.

Our radio and television campaigns have began.

We will also be utilising the Internet heavily as well as text messaging and e-mail," said Mullings.

In keeping with the "party vibe" weekend in south Florida and month-long May celebrations by Haiti's 8.9 million citizens on the island, the organisers are seriously contemplating pre-game and half-time shows featuring both cultures.

"We are considering showcasing local talent, a tune-fi-tune reggae vs compas (a Haitian musical genre)," explained Mullings whose company is well known for promoting popular entertainment events in South Florida and Jamaica.

Ticket costs for the game will be US$20 for local registered soccer players, US$25 presold general admission, and $30 and $35 at the gate.

Both Jamaica (ranked 70th by FIFA) and Haiti (ranked 119) are using the game as part of preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup to be staged in the USA in an unprecedented 13 cities from July 2-26.

Jamaica have also secured a game with Central American champions Panama for the National Stadium on June 7 at 6:00 pm.

The senior team's last friendly international was played on the first FIFA date of the year, February 11 in London, when they played to an entertaining 0-0 tie with Nigeria's Super Eagles.

The Boyz were idle on the following FIFA calendar dates of March 28 and April 1.

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Comments

Tiba says...

First thing first, do we know if US is going to grant a "VISA" to these Haitian players to cross the border? Keep us... more »

Simon says...

please put the time of the game and how much it costs more »