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Jamaica add London friendly to face Egypt

HAPPY MAN: Captain Horace Burrell, Jamaica Football Federation president

JAMAICA WILL will travel to London to tackle Egypt in an international friendly on June 4 at Leyton Orient's Matchroom Stadium.

The Caribbean outfit have added the former African champions, currently no24 on the FIFA world rankings, to their array of top-class opponents in a whistlestop tour of Europe.

But the Pharaohs will be forced to use a weakened squad as key players from leading sides Ahly and Zamalek still involved in the African championships. Egypt coach Shawky Gharib turned down friendlies with World Cup contenders Belgium, Colombia or Russia and instead opted for Jamaica.

Captain Horace Burrell, Jamaica Football Federation president, said: “Securing another high profile opponent is in keeping with our vision of preparing the team well to compete at the highest level. Egypt will be a tough test for us.”

After the Reggae Boyz travel to the United States for a friendly against Serbia on May 26 in the soccer-specific Red Bull Arena at Harrison, New Jersey – home to the Major League Soccer outfit the New York Red Bulls – they fly to Europe to embark on a testing set of matches to prepare for this year's Caribbean Cup finals in Montego Bay.

The Boyz face hosts Switzerland in Lucerne on May 30, will tackle Egypt in the first meeting between the sides on June 4 and then France entertain them in Lille on June 8. Both Switzerland and France are using the games as a warm-up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil.

Jamaica, who have slipped to no9 on the CONCACAF rankings behind fellow Caribbean sides behind Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti following a disastrous qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, are eager to return to their position as the top team in the region under German coach Winfried Schaefer.

Schaefer is keen to see how his Boyz cope with stiff opposition as he prepares his squad for November's Caribbean Football Union Championship in Montego Bay, a qualifier for the prestigious Gold Cup.

Egypt are likely to prove the easiest team to beat but are far from a push-over despite having not reached Brazil 2014. The Pharaohs will not be at full strength and are due to visit hosts Chile for a friendly at Santiago on 30 May before facing the Boyz in London.

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