Aston Villa's Star-man Leon Bailey is not among the Reggae Boyz traveling party to Copa America 2024

Will the Reggae Boyz struggle without Leon 'Chippy' Bailey?
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Neville Williams/GettyImages

Ecuador and Jamaica will play each other in the opening match of the 2024 Copa America football tournament on Wednesday, June 26, at 3:00 p.m. local time at the Allegiant Stadium in Nevada.  

This will mark the fifth meeting between both countries. However, it will be the first time a CONMEBOL Copa America match will occur in Nevada. Nevada is the home of the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League, and it has hosted several high-profile events, such as the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Final, the 2023 Concacaf Nations League Final, and international friendlies of European clubs such as FC Barcelona, ​​Borussia Dortmund, and AC Milan, among others. The Allegiant was also home to the NFL's last Super Bowl.

The Reggae Boyz will participate in their third CONMEBOL Copa América and are still searching for their first win or draw. Jamaica first entered the tournament in 2015 and was beaten by Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay by an identical 1-0 margin. They participated in the game again the following year, but once again finished last in their group, suffering a 3–0 defeat against Uruguay, 1-0 to Venezuela and 2-0 to Mexico.   

The Reggae Boyz booked their ticket to the 2024 Copa América by advanced to the semifinals of the 2023–24 CONCACAF Nations League after defeating Canada in the quarterfinals. 

The coach of the Reggae Boyz, Heimir Hallgrimsson, recently named his squad for the Copa America, and once again, Aston Villa’s star man Leon Bailey was left off the roaster. Some fans had mixed reactions but were happy to see young Kaheim Dixon from Arnette Gardens in the set-up. Shamar Nicholson of Clermont, Bobby Decordova-Reid Fulham FC, and Demarai Gray Al-Ettifaq are expected to pull the strings for Jamaica.  

Meanwhile, this is Ecuador's 30th appearance at CONMEBOL Copa America this summer. Only two participating teams from CONMEBOL have never won the tournament, La Tri and Venezuela. However, with a core of young, exciting players, Ecuador is expected to reach the quarterfinals at least. To achieve that milestone, they would match their finish at the last tournament in 2021 before losing to eventual champions Argentina 3-0. 

Some of Ecuador's players to watch are Chelsea FC's Moisés Caicedo, who opened his Chelsea account with a wonder strike on Sunday's final day of the English Premier League. In the EPL, Pervis Estupinan of Brighton & Hove Albion is expected to travel with the team alongside Piero Hincapié, the newly crowned Bundesliga invincible champion with Bayer Leverkusen. 

A win from either team will set the tone for the rest of the tournament. Jamaica, who has never won a match at Copa America, would relish this opportunity to get its first victory over Ecuador. The two met four times in friendlies, Ecuador winning twice, and the other two matches ended in a draw. The last match-up between the two was on September 7, 2018, which resulted in a 2-0 victory for La Tri, with goals from Enner Valencia and Renato Ibarra. This will be the first time the two countries will meet in an international competition. This match will be the first of three games played at the Allegiant Stadium and promises to be a dicey encounter. 

The rest of the Jamaican squad reads:

Andre Blake

Michael Hector

Richard King

Dexter Lembikisa

Greg Leigh

Di'Shon Bernard

Tayvon Gray

Adrian Mariappa

Alvas Powell

Daniel Johnson

Joel Latibeaudiere

Kasey Palmer

Karoy Anderson

Devon Williams

Kevon Lambert

Renaldo Cephas

Cory Burke

Romario Williams

Jamal Lowe

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