Panama trains for Copa America Centenario play-in
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Panama (pictured) trained at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on December 26, 2015. (Photo: Federación Panameña de Fútbol)

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Under sunny and pleasant conditions Saturday morning at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez, Panama opened a training camp for its Copa America Centenario play-off against Cuba. 

The Panamanians will host the match as part of a doubleheader at the same venue on January 8 for CONCACAF’s last two spots in the historic competition. Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti will meet in the other game. 

Thirty-two players convened for the session conducted under the direction of assistant coach Elkin Sanchez and physical trainer Edgar Carvajal. The duo filled in for head coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who will join the squad on January 2 in Costa Rica. They focused on conditioning exercises, small-sided games and ball work during the two-hour session. 

"The players have taken care for these festivities,” said Carvajal. “The match against Cuba is important and we take it seriously. We hope that as the days go by the new ones adapt. On the 30th, we’ll submit the list of those traveling to Costa Rica in order to complete conditioning.” 

Defender Adolfo Machado fulfilled his club commitments with newly-crowned Costa Rican champion Saprissa on Tuesday and did not work with the group. Forward Ismael Diaz will travel to Portugal to rejoin his club Porto on Sunday.