On February 22, on an eventful Ash Wednesday. Jamaica will be back in action and will be facing Caribbean Rivals and neighbors Cuba. Cuba is one opposition that the Jamaicans know always give them a hard time. In the past, the Cubans have always given the Jamaicans a run for their money. Cuba has been proven to be one of the fittest teams in the region, they are also known for their ball possession and their long range shooting.The Lions of the Caribbean and the Reggae Boyz have met 24 times in their history.With the Jamaicans winning 7 times, the Cubans winning 11 times and both teams drawing 6 times. The last time both teams met was in the Digicel Caribbean Cup back in 2005 in Barbados. It was fondly remembered as Luton Shelton got the goal that helped Jamaica clinch their 3rd Caribbean Cup at the time against a very robust Cuba team. The Cubans played in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup like Jamaica did but got knocked out of the 1st round without even picking up a point.
With Cuba reaching the Final Round of the Olympic Qualifiers, it is said that Cuba will be playing a U23 team vs Jamaica on February 22 and 24 and Febuary 29 vs Bolivia. Cuba’s main threat should come from 20 year old Yaudel Lahera who was part of that 2011 Gold Cup squad. Lahera is recognized in Cuba as a natural goal scorer and carries a strong presence. He plays for La Ciudad de la Havana in the Cuban League.
With the news that Jamaica will be calling up a few more players to finish putting the pieces to the puzzle, this should be the finishing touches in experimentation of players. The Jamaicans are expected to pick a competitive squad and the Boyz should be a able to get a positive result. Jamaica has got positive results in the past on Ash Wednesday. Like back in 2001 vs Trinidad with a Tyrone Marshall rocket from 35 yards out and in 2008 vs Costa Rica where he penetrated the Costa Rican defense with an expeditious header.
With the Boyz Unbeaten at the Office since 2007, that should be a sign to CONCACAF to show that we mean business and Cuba will have a hard time in the next few weeks.