Estadio Rommel Fernandez

Jamaicans abandon training session after series of explosions outside Panama City stadium | SIDELINE

The US national team is unquestionably enduring some questionable gamesmanship and distraction tactics from the Costa Rican Football Federation and local fans during its current trip to San Jose for Friday night's World Cup quaflifying match (10 pm ET, beIN Sport).

There's cab drivers blocking the road, the Costa Ricans not providing the USMNT with balls for training and a cow with an air horn disrupting interviews. That's the fun side of CONCACAF that you can shake your head at and laugh off.

And then there's the Jamaican national team, currently in Panama City to face Panama on Friday night, who fled from their training session on Thursday night as they thought the grounds outside the stadium were being blown up, according to the Jamaican Observer. That's the not-so-fun side of CONCACAF, otherwise known as Panama.

Turns out it was only fireworks being set off by the locals, but explosions were heard routinely for a few minutes, each time stopping the Reggae Boyz in their tracks on the field, only to resume momentarily until the next explosion came. Ultimately they left the field and appealed to the Match Commissioner  as they suspected it to be a planned tactic to intimidate the Jamaicans. 

This isn't the first time the Panamanians have pulled such stunts prior to a crucial qualifying match within the last year. Just last September, the Panamanian Football Federation promoted a party that took place outside the Canadian national team's hotel, which including things like fireworks, sirens, speakers and flares, that went into the late hours of the night.

A little bit of the usual CONCACAF antics are one thing, but a country's soccer governing body endorsing and promoting such things should probably be considered a step too far. And to put a group of men in a situation where they might think their lives are in imminent danger? That's certainly crossing the line.

The USMNT might be in store for something similar in a month's time when they close out their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Panama City on October 15.


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