Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
|Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:51 pm Post subject: England game a dream come true - Boxhill
|Ian Burnett, Sports Editor (Observer)
Saturday, May 27, 2006
London, England -
JFF boss Crenston Boxhill yesterday said Jamaica's friendly international
against England at Old Trafford on June 3 was a dream come true.
Boxhill was addressing a press conference at the Sopwell House on the
outskirts of London to officially announce the arrival of the Reggae Boyz,
as well as the start of a training camp sponsored by National Commercial
Bank (NCB) Money Transfer to the tune of $5.5 million.
The Boyz arrived in London on Thursday afternoon.
"It's something we've been looking towards for a very long time, to be on
the same playing field with England," Boxhill said.
"That dream will come true in another couple of days," he added.
But before the Boyz take on the 1966 World Cup winners, who are rated
in some quarters as a favourite to win the 2006 World Cup in Germany,
Jamaica will face another World Cup-bound team - Ghana - at Leicester
City's Walkers Stadium on Monday.
"It is really an honour and a pleasure for the Reggae Boyz to be here to
honour these two fixtures," said Boxhill.
"These are two formidable teams which have qualified for the World Cup
Finals and we're looking forward to playing them."
He said he was expecting a "tough" game from the Africans, who qualified
for the World Cup Finals for the first time.
And while Boxhill tried to bolster the importance of the Ghana game,
there was no denying that the match against the former colonial rulers
was the main attraction.
"For the England game, what can I say?" he declared. "Those of us who
are familiar with the history... this is a dream come true... England can be
referred to as the 'Mother Country', so to speak, with Jamaica being a
"In Jamaica the game is seen as a David vs Goliath situation... and ... it
makes it so much more interesting," added the JFF boss.
The game will pit the two nations for the first time and it has added
significance, as it is England's last game prior to their departure for
The agreement to play the England match was signed by president Boxhill
in January. He employed the services of Chris Nathaniel and his company
NVA Management, said to be one of the leading sports and entertainment
agencies, to broker a deal and arrange the match with the FA.
The fixture will see up to 10,000 seats being allocated to Jamaican fans.
All the JFF's proceeds from the game will be used for a National Youth
Development Programme promoting football in Jamaica.
Nathaniel said: "This fixture is set to be a huge event. With the current
Jamaican population in the UK and the following that the Jamaican team
enjoys, coupled with the fact that this is the first time these teams have
met, we are confident of a sell-out crowd.
"In fact, with the incredible support that both teams enjoy in this country,
it will be like a home game for both sides," he added.
"From a commercial point of view, this is a significant opportunity for the
JFF to establish itself on the world stage. The JFF's success at France '98
started the ball rolling, and now the opportunity to play against England
further puts them in the... spotlight and we're keen to capitalise on the
exposure...," he stated.
Boxhill thanked the sponsors of the training camp, NCB Money Transfer,
for sharing in the JFF's vision.
He said the camp was most important to properly prepare the team,
which suffered a 5-0 drubbing against Australia last October, having
travelled to England just a few days before the game.
For these two games, he assured the British media that the team would
be fully focused and prepared.
Meanwhile, Christian Stokes, senior executive of NCB Money Transfer,
lauded Boxhill for his leadership and backed the Reggae Boyz to perform
well against the more acclaimed English side.
"Jamaica is a country which has a very proud sporting tradition. It is from
this same tradition of sports that we draw our football team.
"We think we have the skills to compete well. We recognise that it is not
always possible to have the most money, or the biggest training ground
or the best facilities, but we have done well," he said.
Stokes said that NCB is the single most important private sector
organisation in Jamaica in terms of its development.