Jamaica’s men’s senior football team captain, Rodolph Austin, said it’ll be an honour to play against Lionel Messi when the teams face off in the Copa America Group B match at Sausalito Stadium here this evening, starting at 6:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
“For me, it’s definitely a dream come true,” the Jamaican told the media about playing against Messi, at a press conference ahead of their final training session yesterday.
“Personally, I know for me and my teammates to be on the same pitch against Messi, it’s a pleasure.”
The players went about practice with a lot of intensity, and judging from the line-ups, coach Winfried Schäfer appears set to make three changes to his starting 11. Dwayne Miller appears set to take over from Duwayne Kerr, who has been outstanding, but made an error which caused the goal in their last match.
Wes Morgan, Michael Hector, Adrian Mariappa, and Kemar Lawrence will remain the back four, with Austin and Je-Vaughn Watson in front at central midfield. Garath McLeary stays at wide left, while Lance Laing, who replaced Simon Dawkins in previous matches, looks set for the starting role. Jobi McAnuff operated as a withdrawn striker behind Deshorn Brown, set for his first start.
Meanwhile, even as Austin showered the left-footed Argentine genius – arguably the world’s best player – with praises, he said his team aims to make its country proud.
“Messi is the best player in the world, a fantastic player, and it seems like he’s a nice guy. I don’t know him personally, but on the pitch he’s very humble and stuff. But it’s just for us to go there and do our best against him and the other 10 men on the pitch because it’s 11 men against 11.