Grenada gains respect at 2008
gains respect after T&T and Cuba win
Photos by Don Streete
what may their best tournament performance
to date, Grenada took care of both T&T and
Cuba to reach the Digicel Cup final against
Jamaica. The win against Trinidad was the
biggest story of the tournament and with the
upset of T&T, the Grenadians manage to
clinch second place in Group A to advance to
the Gold Cup for the first time.
Grenada win over Trinidad
and Tobago must have been very gratifying
Spice Boys since
Grenada had not beaten T&T in 12 straight
meetings dating back to their runner-up
finish in the inaugural
Caribbean cup in 1989.
Grenada lost to
T&T in the final and since that time
they had not placed any higher than
fourth (in 1997) in the tournament. However
the latest turn of events the Grenadians would
be the first to tell you that was then and
this is now.
In the opening game of Digicel 2008
Grenada was top of T&T from the
get go and had to ride a stroke of bad luck
when Anthony Modeste missed a penalty at the
17 minute that would have given Grenada the
early lead. The penalty was given after T&T
captain Aurtis Whitley was called for a
handball in the penalty area and Modeste
shot straight to T&T goalkeeper Marvin
Phillip to keep the game goalless. .
However in spite of the missed penalty the Grenada Spice Boys took the lead at the 36th
minute, after Kithson Bain scored from a left side
cross and although Grenada continued to have the edge in the
run of play it was T&T that changed the
score on the board.
Striker Cornell Glen scored from a
well orchestrated combination
play from Keon Daniel
and Aklie Edwards down the T&T the left side
to tie the score at the 76th minute mark.
The momentum switch but
T&T could not convert their scoring
opportunities late in the game, and as is
usually the case, Grenada
made the Warriors pay when Ricky Charles
scored in injury time to give Grenada a 2-1
their celebration over their big upset
against T&Tit seemed like the spice boys
forgot that their next game was against
tournament favorite Jamaica and could not
maintain or come up to the intensity of the
Trinidad game and was blown out by the
Reggae Boyz 4-0.
Grenada bounced back in their third and last
group game, and defeated Barbados 4-2 to
give them 6 points and put
the pressure back on T&T with 3 points to
defeat Jamaica in the second game of the
double header. As it turned out T&T only mustered a
1-1 tie with Jamaica and was eliminated from
advanced into the Digicel Cup
semi final with Jamaica, Cuba, and
Guadeloupe and with the schedule based on
the cross over of teams
of the groups, Grenada was up against Group
B winner Cuba.
opened their semi final game in fine fashion and was
rewarded with a penalty at the 12th minute
of the game. This time there was no mistake
as Ricky Charles
converted the penalty to put Grenada ahead.
Not to be outdone Cuba Joel Colome equalized
only a couple of minutes after the game
restarted and Cuba surged ahead on a goal by
Roberto Linares at the 33rd minute mark.
Grenada was not to be denied as Kithson Bain
scored with four minutes remaining to send the game into
overtime and with no scoring in the overtime
period, Grenada went on to defeat Cuba
6-5 on penalty kicks to book
their spot into the Digicel Caribbean
Championship against Jamaica.
The four semi final teams is guaranteed a
spot in next year’s 12-team CONCACAF Gold
Cup while Grenada was seeking its first
title against a Jamaica team that was
looking to give new head coach John Barnes a
title in his debut as manager while
redeeming themselves after the
disappointment of failing to reach the final
round of the World Cup qualifying.
defeat Grenada 2-0 to win 2008 Caribbean
Photos by Don StreeteJamaica Reggae Boyz defeated
2-0 to win the
Digicel Cup and the 2008 Caribbean Championship.
Luton Shelton provided the Reggae Boyz scoring from
two penalties scored on both sides of the break. The
Digicel final was played at the Jamaica National
Stadium in Kingston, better known as the “office”
where only the strong can survive.
received US$120,000 for their win while Grenada
receive US70.000 as
The final was the
second meeting of the teams in the tournament, and
although Jamaica made light work of Grenada in the
first game, Grenada seem to be better prepared for
the Boyz the second time around.
However in spite of their valiant efforts, the
penalties at the 17th
and 70th minutes left Grenada
emotionally drained and seemed to remove any real
prospects of a Grenada upset, especially against a
Jamaica team that was no accommodating and leaving
limited space for Grenada to exploit.
Jamaica proved to be King of this tournament and barring
a few listless moments where the Jamaica fans found
the Reggae Boyz play to be uninspiring, the
Boyz deserve a lot of credit for digging deep to get
their game back on track after an early exit from
the 2010 W-C qualifiers.
The Boyz first glitch was on the Trinidad and Tobago
group game when the Boyz struggled and allowed T&T
to tie the score 1-1 towards the end of the game. At
that time there were a few tremors but not enough to
do any damage since T&T was out of the tournament.
Then came the unpleasantaries when the Jamaica fans
felt that the Boyz was showing no urgency in their
play in the first half of their semi final game
against Guadeloupe and showed their displeasure by
showering the Boyz with a chorus of boos at the end
of the half for good measure.
The gesture worked as the Boyz responded with an
inspired style of play after a listless 1-0 halftime
lead to defeat Guadeloupe 2-0 and secure a spot into
Cuba, the other team favored to reach the final, did
not adjust and as a result was not as fortunate as
Jamaica when they met Grenada. With their semi final
spot secured heading into their last group game
against Haiti, the Cubans opted to rest their
starters for the semi final.
There plan backfired as Grenada stepped up the tempo
and caused the Cubans to struggled to reestablish
their defensively chemistry. Grenada gained
confidence as the game progressed and managed to
squeeze in a late equalizer to send the game into
overtime tied at two goals apiece.
The score remained deadlock with no additional
scoring in the overtime period as Grenada went on to
defeat Cuba 6-5 on penalty kicks to set up a rematch
with Jamaica for the final.
Guadeloupe finished the Digicel tournament with a
5-4 win over Cuba again on penalty kicks for third
place over Cuba after the teams finished scoreless.
Guadeloupe received US50.000 for the win, while Cuba
received US30,000 for their fourth place finish.
The 2008 Digicel tournament may mean different
things to different people, but one thing that seem
to be in the makings is that the four semi finalists
of the Digicel Caribbean championship could make
life very difficult for the top seeds at Gold Cup
The JFF and
new coach and former England and Liverpool winger
John Barnes and his staff also deserves a lot of
credit for putting
football program and the
revitalized Reggae Boyz
back on the good foot to win a championship in such
a short space of time.
Barnes must have been made aware that technical and
tactical improvements may not have been strong
points of negotiation with the JFF since winning may
have been the yard stick.
However with the Digicel Cup safely in Jamaica
hands, Barnes exhaled and said
"After the disappointment of the World Cup
qualifying campaign recently, we needed this and we
did it ".
In retrospect it was Barnes who needed the win and
with his added ingenuinity he has now extended the
Boyz undefeated streak to 8 games dating back to the
beginning of October against Mexico.
Grenada is also making great strides in their
football and if the 2008 Digicel Cup is any
indication. The Spicey Greens created the biggest
upset at the Cup after knocking Trinidad and Tobago
out of Gold Cup 2009 and qualify for the CONCACAF
Gold Cup for the first time as a result.
Jamaica 2- Grenada 0
0:0, 4:5 on penalties
Cuba - Grenada
2:2, 5:6 on penalties
Jamaica - Guadeloupe
Haiti and T&T
sent packing from Caribbean Championship
The Digicel Caribbean football Championship is
coming down to the wire this weekend and although it
seems to be cool runnings for the Reggae Boyz in the
friendly confines of the office in Kingston, there
are teams that are certain to try and change the
tempo of the games.
and Grenada clinched first and second place of Group
A and as a result will be playing Guadeloupe and
Cuba respectively in the semi final of the Digicel
Caribbean Championship on Thursday as all four teams
automatically clinched a spot into the CONCACAF Gold
Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago the first and second
place finishers at the 2006 Digicel Caribbean
Championship, disappointed their supporters by
finishing third in their respective groups, because
they tried to accomplish their objective in the last
game instead of the three games provided.
As such the 2008 results of the Digicel Cup has
reinforced the notion that any team can be defeated
in Caribbean competition on any given day and if the
day given does not fall on a FIFA date the chances
are increase of an upset.
Unlike the Gold Cup it is understood that some of
the tournaments in the Caribbean will be played away
from FIFA dates and obviously the teams with the
most international players would be adversely
affected, but the old cliché is a team is only as
good as its bench.
Trinidad and Tobago
with a lack of team chemistry was the first casualty
of the tournament after they opened the tournament
with a 2-1 loss to Grenada after having the
distinction as the only surviving Caribbean team in
the upcoming final round of the CONCACAF World Cup
After the Grenada loss, the Warriors defeated
Barbados 2-1 in their second game but tied with
Jamaica 1-1 to slip to third place in the group. At
the time Jamaica was the group leader with a spot
into the semi final round at stake in the game. As a
result of the 1-1 tie T&T was eliminated since
Grenada had defeated Barbados 4-2 earlier to gain 6
points to the Warriors 4 points.
In Group B, Haiti the defending Caribbean champion
opened with a 1-1 tie against Antigua and Barbuda
and with a 3-2 loss against Guadeloupe in their
second game they fell short after only mustering a
1-0 victory over a Cuba team that had rested at
least six of their players.
was eliminated with 2 goals short of the 6 goals
scored by Guadeloupe with the two teams tied on
points and a goal difference of zero as Guadeloupe
tied with Antigua and Barbuda 1-1.
Although Jamaica will be tough to beat at home at
the office in Kingston, I am impress with the play
of Cuba which has been the most consistent team in
the tournament thus far and showed depth by not
allowing Haiti to score the required amount of goals
to advance with mostly bench players.
Guadeloupe is the dark horse in this race and
although they have not played to the level of their
Gold Cup semi final form thus far, they are more
than capable of stifling the Jamaica attack on a
good day. Guadeloupe showed resiliency after
regrouping to defeated Haiti 3-2 in their second
game after losing to Cuba 2-1, while closing of
their schedule with 2-2 tie against Antigua and
The Boyz stumble out of the blocks against Barbados
in their first game to come from behind to win 2-1,
and although they regrouped to do quick work of
Grenada in a 4-0 win they were not impressive
against T&T although as always the Soca
Warriors-Reggae Boyz clash was another nail biters
that ended in a 1-1 tie.
The fact that the Soca Warriors are out of the
tournament could hurt the Reggae Boyz since the
anticipated Jamaica – T&T final has dissipated and
Jamaica will have to pick up their intensity of play
and refocus to win the Championship in the absence
of the Soca Warriors.
Jamaica and Cuba are favored to reach the Digicel Cup final
but their favored edge is only on paper and at
present, paper can go up in smoke when Grenada and
Guadeloupe turn up the heat on game day. The two
semi final games will present a contrast of styles
in play and the team that can impose their will in
regards to ball possession I suspect will win their
The Digicel Caribbean Championship semi final is
schedule for this Thursday with Jamaica and Grenada
crossing over to play Guadeloupe and Cuba
Jamaica is riding a 6 game and is under pressure to
deliver since their
supporters and new Reggae Boyz coach John Barnes
will settle for nothing les than the Digicel
However Cuba does have a legitimate shot at the
championship after clinching their semi final spot
early and may have a tactical and physical advantage
with most of their starters rested. Grenada is no
slouch while having one of their best tournament
performance to date and the element of surprise on
their side for what that is worth.
will have to be more consistent since they were
embarrassed in their second game against Jamaica 4-0
after their big win against T&T. However they did
complete their group fixture with a convincing 4-2
win over Barbados to clinch second place in Group A.