Damion Lowe says upcoming Reggae Boyz matches ‘very important’ | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Reggae Boyz defender, Damion Lowe, has described the final and decisive window of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying as “very important” despite Jamaica having already crashed out of contention for a place in Qatar in November.

The Reggae Boyz will host El Salvador at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday at 6:05 pm. They will then play away to Canada on Sunday, before closing out the campaign against Honduras at home next Wednesday.

“It’s very important, I mean it’s going to be a long year still. We have the Nations League coming up which is very important, we want to win it,” said Lowe in a media interview.

The gritty defender said it was unfortunate that Jamaica did not qualify for the World Cup. However, he noted that the remaining World Cup games “will prepare us to reach the goal of winning the Nations League”.

Lowe hinted that the Reggae Boyz were hampered by a lack of preparation this campaign.

“Preparation is key. If we don’t prepare properly we won’t qualify or win anything,” said Lowe. Looking ahead, he said the Jamaica Football Federation must focus on preparing and keeping the squad together as much as possible “so we can gel and play well”.

Despite Jamaica being out of contention for a World Cup berth, Lowe said it was still important that the fans turn out at the National Stadium on Thursday to cheer on the Boyz when they take on El Salvador, which are still in the hunt for a place in the inter-confederation playoffs

“We are playing for pride, we’re playing to show that hey, listen, unfortunately we didn’t qualify for the World Cup but we still have a task at hand and we want to show the nation that we are still working hard and want to get positive results and it’s a new beginning, new venture, new journey,” Lowe said.

When asked about the youngsters who have been selected in the 24-man squad for the remaining three games, he said “It’s good. It’s always good to get the youngsters [playing], get them caps, get them the experience”.

“Other countries are doing it, bringing in the young players and giving them a taste of the professional world because at the end of the day, if you don’t give them caps, if you don’t give them the experience when will they get the experience?” he asked.

The Reggae Boyz squad is minus several key players including West Ham forward Michail Antonio, Brentford FC Ethan Pinnock, Rangers Kemar Roofe, and Jamal Lowe of , Bournemouth.

However, making a return is Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey who had been sidelined with a protracted injury.

Canada lead the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying with 25 points and the USA are second with 21, ahead of Mexico on goal difference. Panama are fourth with 17 points, followed by Costa Rica with 16, El Salvador with nine, Jamaica with seven, and Honduras with three.

The top three nations earn berths for this year’s tournament in Qatar and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff in June against the Oceania champion, likely New Zealand.

Jamaica were eliminated from contention for a spot at the 2022 World Cup after losing 1-0 to Costa Rica at the National Stadium on February 2.

Joel Campbell scored the lone goal in the 62nd minute as the Reggae Boyz lost their sixth game of the campaign and their third at home.