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CONCACAF Soccer Update   By Aldwyn McGill

Reggae Boyz eliminated after 3-0 win over Canada

Jamaica Reggae Boyz was eliminated from the CONCACAF W-C qualifiers after their 3-0 victory over Canada fell short of the 6 goals that was needed to over come Mexico superior goal difference. Mexico 1-0 loss to Honduras in the "Group of Death" ....Stay Tuned for more info


"Reggae Boyz still alive in Group of Death"

Jamaica Reggae Boyz under Interim head coach Theodore Whitmore kept their slim hopes of advancing to CONCACAF W-C final round alive after Luton Shelton scored at the 16th minute to give the Boyz a 1-0 win over Honduras and 7 points. Jamaica is making full use of their home field advantage at the office in Kingston, Jamaica after Hurricane Gustav forced the Boyz second game against Mexico to be moved Mexico City.


As a result the Reggae Boyz lost to Mexico 3-0 and ended up playing their first three World Cup qualifier games away from home and suffered two losses and a tie in their opening game against Canada at BMO Field to be given up for dead in the group of death.


However with the firing of Brazilian coach Rene Simoes after their first three away games the Boyz has won back to back games against Mexico 1-0, and Honduras 1-0 under interim head coach Theodore Whitmore to get a much needed spark of life as Mexico tied 2-2 with Canada and sit at the top of the Group B standings with 10 points to Honduras 9 and Jamaica 7 points.


With Mexico playing Honduras in Honduras and Jamaica up against Canada on November 19 the Boyz will have to hope for a Mexico win while they take of Canada in the friendly confines of the "office" in Kingston, to have any chance of advancing to the final round of the CONCACAF W-C qualifiers.


In lieu of the seriousness of the situation the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has extended the coaching assignment of interim head coach Whitmore to include the Canada game. Originally Joe Barnes was supposed to take over the Jamaica Reggae Boyz from November 1 but due to Whitmore and the Boyz present success the 

JFF has decided to hold off on their earlier coaching change announcement.


Barnes Named New Coach Of Reggae Boyz

Jamaica Football Federation official press release - September 16, 2008

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) at its Extra-Ordinary Board Meeting held today, Tuesday, 16 September, unanimously ratified the decision announced by its President Captain Horace Burrell to sever ties with Technical Director, Rene Simoes and the full contingent of Brazilian staff with immediate effect. It was agreed that based on recent developments, this separation was in the best interest of the Federation.

The JFF Board expressed its profound appreciation for the tremendous contribution to Jamaica’s football by Mr. Simoes and wishes for him and his Brazilian colleagues all the best in their future endeavors. The JFF is of the view that Mr. Simoes’ legacy will forever be enshrined in the annals of Jamaica’s sporting history and his association with the nation’s football has created in a very significant way the international appeal and local enthusiasm in the football product at the levels of players, coaches, administrators, government, corporate and spectator support. This is the level of popularization that the JFF is confident has created the platform for it to build its long term development programme.

The JFF wishes to announce the appointment of former England International and Jamaican born, Mr. John Barnes as the new National Coach for the Senior Football Team. Mr. Barnes will take up official duties on November 1 and will be in charge of the preparation of the national team for the Digicel Caribbean Cup (DCC) between December 1 to 15, the CONCACAF Gold Cup scheduled for June 2009, and the Final Round World Cup Qualifiers in 2009, should Jamaica advance to this stage of the competition. Mr. Barnes’ contract will be reviewed following the afore-mentioned events.

Mr. Barnes played professional football for Watford, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic in the Premier league and League Championship. He made 409 appearances for Liverpool scoring 108 goals. He was voted Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year 1988 and 1990 and PFA Footballer of the Year 1988. In 1997 he was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

In the summer of 1999 Mr. Barnes joined Scottish giants Celtic as Head Coach, where he laid the foundations for the club’s future success including overseeing the redevelopment of the team with the recruitment of Henrik Larsson among others.

He has since joined Channel 5 (England) and is the channel’s principle football presenter and regularly brings his insightful knowledge and understanding of football to television screens around the world.
Further, the JFF wishes to announce that former national player and current Assistant National Coach, Mr. Theodore Whitmore will take charge of the very important remaining World Cup Qualifying games at home. Mr. Whitmore will continue as Assistant National Coach to Mr. Barnes, following these semi-final round games.

Mr. Barnes will attend the afore-mentioned games to observe proceedings as well as lend moral support to Mr. Whitmore and the national senior team. He is due to arrive in Jamaica on Wednesday, 8 October for the Mexico game scheduled for Saturday, 11 October, and departs Thursday, 16 October following the Honduras game on Wednesday, 15 October, both games to be played at the National Stadium in Kingston.

In the meantime, the JFF has mandated its Technical Committee to finalize work on the National Development Plan commissioned a few months ago, in time for presentation at the Board of Directors Meeting slated for next November. This plan should include the coaching recommendations for all the remaining national teams, namely:
1. U23 Men
2. U20 Men
3. U17 Boys
4. U15 Boys
5. Senior Women
6. U20 Women
7. U17 Girls
8. U15 Girls

Also, it is expected that the national coaching development programme will be tabled at the afore-mentioned meeting.
Jamaica under Theodore Whitmore vs Mexico (Reggae Boyz website)

Interim National coach Theodore Whitmore wasted little time in putting his stamp on the Jamaican team that will be under his charge for World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Honduras on October 11 and 15 respectively.
The former national standout, now in his second stint as interim coach chose a squad which saw a massive overhaul from the previous ones selected under the watch of former Technical Director Rene Simoes. The man who scored Jamaica’s two goals in the country’s historic win over Japan at the world Cup finals in France 1998 recalled no fewer than eight players who had not featured for Simoes.
Chief among the players called in are forward Marlon King, midfielders Jermaine Johnson, Oneil Thompson, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Omar Daley as well as defenders Claude Davis and Damian Stewart. Midfielder/forward Dane Richards and forward Omar Cummings have also been recalled.
The trio of King, Daley and Campbell-Ryce were not recalled after the Bahamas qualifiers. King, who played in the first leg against the Bahamas, Daley, who tasted action in both legs and Campbell-Ryce who was present but did not see a single minute of action against them.
Thompson, who plays in Norway, last represented the country against Guatemala and El Salvador in November 2007. Dane Richards who also played in those games have not donned the national colours since.
Johnson played as a substitute against St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Grenada in the matches leading up to the qualifiers against the Bahamas but did not selected for the squad to face the Bahamas. Damian Stewart on the other hand last represented the country in February against Costa Rica while Omar Cummings had a promising cameo against Canada on August 20 but was not invited for the Mexico and Honduras matches.
Consistent with the faith shown in the recalled players who played an exciting brand of football for him in his first term as Interim Coach when he had wins over Guatemala and El Salvador, Whitmore has again teamed up with veteran coach Bradley Stewart.
Stewart, who is regarded as one of the better football minds in the country, has been associated with a number of local clubs such as Duhaney Park, Rivoli, Arnett Gardens, Hazard and Waterhouse in different capacities. He is also a former coach of the then Jamaica Juvenile team and was also actively involved in the development of Women’s football in the country.
The players will arrive in the island between Sunday October 5 and Monday October 6, 2008 for the games which will now be played at 7:00pm. Ticket prices will remain the same but for Bleachers which has been reduced to $1,000.00.
Walter Enrique Quesada Cordero of Costa Rica will be the man in the middle for Jamaica’s crucial game against Mexico. He will be assisted by compatriots Leonel Leal Bermudez and Osvaldo Luna Gutierrez with Vinicio Gerrardo Mena Solano serving as fourth official. Trinidad and Tobago’s Osmond Downer will be the Referee Assessor while Hugo Salcedo of the United States has been given the assignment of Commissioner.
For the Honduras game four days later a Trinidad and Tobago quartet will be in
charge. Referee Neal Brizan will be assisted by Michael Ragoonath and Simon Baptiste. Victor Moore of Barbados will assess the referees while Victor Hugo Estrada Barrios is the assigned Commissioner.
Jamaica’s Full Squad: Goalkeepers – Donovan Ricketts, Shawn Sawyers; Defenders - Ricardo Gardner, Ian Goodison, Claude Davis, Damian Stewart, Tyrone Marshall, Jermaine Taylor, Shavar Thomas, Demar Stewart; Midfielders – Rodolph Austin, Demar Phillips, Oneil Thompson, Jermaine Johnson, Omar Daley, Wolry Wolfe, Jamal Campbell-Ryce; Forwards - Ricardo Fuller, Marlon King, Luton Shelton, Dane Richards, Omar Cummings.

Jamaica fire Simoes after Honduras loss

 The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF)  fire Technical Director Rene Simoes after the Reggae Boyz lose to Honduras 2-0 in their third game of the CONCACAF third round World Cup qualifiers.   The Reggae Boyz are in last place in the tough Group 2 with one point after losing to Mexico 3-0 and tying with Canada in Toronto in their first game. 


Horace Burrell the JFF President announced the firing of Technical Director Rene Simoes after the team suffered two successive losses to Mexico and Honduras and seemed confident that the firing is the right move and optimistic that the Reggae Boyz can bounce back.


"I could have allowed things to go on as they are, but honestly I would not be performing my duties in the way that it is expected and to push Jamaica's football forward," Burrell stated


"We are not out, first of all, and we have three games at home (remaining in the semi-finals)," he said. "We are going to get re-energised and we are going to hope for good results." Burrell is expected to name a successor to Simoes within the coming week but has emphasize


Anxious moments for Canadian Caribbean soccer fans

 09-09-2008: Just when the Canadian Caribbean fans were anxiously awaiting their teams making a move for the top two positions of their group 2 of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers the Canucks blew an early lead and came up short in a 2-1 loss to Honduras while the Jamaica Reggae Boyz did the unthinkable and gave up an early goal against Mexico in Mexico City to set the tone for a smothering 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Mexicans.


Haiti did not do much for their cause by being trounced by El Salvador 5-0 and Cuba on the other hand was on the short end of a 1-0 loss to USA. As a result at present the burden of the Canadian Caribbean World Cup hopes seems to sit squarely on the shoulders of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors who slipped up somewhat by conceding the equalizing goal to Guatemala at the 95 minute after taking the lead in the game ten minutes earlier.


However in retrospect the Honduras game was a devastating loss for Canada and with Mexico on their plate this Wednesday at press time the Canucks could find themselves up a creek without a paddle in Mexico City in search of at least a point to have any shot of advancing out of Group 2.


Heading into the Honduras game last Saturday I though the game was even since Canada had the home field advantage but that theory was blown to bits as soon as I arrived in Montreal and Saputo Stadium looked like San Pedro Sula Stadium in Honduras with an 8:1 advantage of Honduras supporters in national colours.


In spite of the disparity in supporters Canada scored on a powerful header by Adrian Serioux from a Patrice Bernier left side corner kick to silence the crowd as a small number of Canada fans celebrate the goal.


However Honduras clawed back into the game and adapted to the heavy stadium field a lot better than to add to Canada woes their best offensive player in the game midfielder Thomasz Radzinski had to leave the game at the 15th minute mark after suffering a serious cut to his hand after he slid into the touch line signs while making a last effort to convert on a scoring opportunity.


That was a big blow for Canada since their offensive punch disappeared and Honduras took control of the game with long periods of ball possession. Honduras struck for two goals just after halftime to defeat Canada 2-1 to the delight of pro Honduras crowd.


The CONCACAF W/C qualifiers continues on September 10 (press time) as Canada face off with Group 2 leader Mexico in a critical game at Tuxtla Gutierrez in Mexico while Jamaica plays Honduras in another tough game for the Reggae Boyz at San Pedro Sula in Honduras but Reggae Boyz coach Simoes remains optimistic and said that his team would perform better with the extra time in preparation for the game compared to the last minute fiasco of Hurricane Gustav.


The big showdown on Wednesday will be for first place in Group1 when the Trinidad & Tobago Soca Warriors play USA at the Toyota Park in Chicago while Guatemala tries to get back in the swing of the group race against Cuba in Guatemala City.


Costa Rica in Group 3 play will try to secure a spot into the second round when they play Haiti in Port-Au-Prince while El Salvador will play Surinam at Paramaribo in Surinam.


Jamaica tie Canada in W/C Qualifier first leg 


August 20, 2008

The opening Group 2 World Cup qualifier match between Canada and Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto lived up to its billing as the Reggae Boyz and Canucks continue their impressive run in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in an effort to re-emerge at a World Cup after a long absence.


The Jamaica-Canada game was played before a record crowd of 21,978 fans at BMO Field and although Canada enjoyed the better of the exchanges and the 12th man advantage their lack of production and continuity on offense was their main obstacle.


For many die hard Canuck’s fans the tie may come back to haunt the team since Canada did not capitalize on their territorial advantage and as a result Jamaica managed to create set plays from several counter attacks down their flanks to gained momentum heading into the second half.


To me there was no question that the Reggae Boyz vertical game was more dangerous than Canada’s although it took the Boyz a while to unleash their offense but after creating the space it was obvious that on every run the Boyz made on the flanks it seemed that their player had a clear path to goal to the delight of their cheering fans.  


I thought the early yellow card to Dwayne De Rosario for retaliation affected his game somewhat and work against him since he did not get the benefit of a few of the referee calls that should have gone his way.


I also thought that Canada’s Tomasz Radzinski and Bob Friend were struggling with their game in the offensive zone and I was baffled to coach Mitchell reasoning behind striker Ali Gerba absence from the starting line up or his late replacement of Rob Friend at the 87th minute of play. 


Canada Ali Gerba is the second leading scorer in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and it is no secret to be a productive scorer like Gerba one has to feel that he has the confidence of his coach to perform and be productive at that level.


However in spite of these offensive kinks and the defenses outweighing the offenses in a 0-0 halftime score the big question was which team would gained the early momentum at the beginning of the second half and no sooner than two minutes into the second half the answer came as Julian De Guzman unleashed a well hit 25 yard grounder through the leg of a Jamaica defender and off the finger tips of Jamaica’s goalkeeper Donavan Ricketts.


Not to be outdone the Reggae Boyz responded with a goal of their own (somewhat) when Canadian goalkeeper Pat Onstad reacted late and mishandled an Andrew Williams in swinging corner kick from the left side into his net at the first post.


With this unfortunate turn of events and two goals in just seven minutes after a scoreless first half most fans were on needles and pins since the two defenses were now playing a little less conservative and the winning goal seemed to be in the next offensive play.


Although there was no more scoring in the game there were a number of near misses and fantastic saves by the goalkeepers on both ends of the field. With big saves being the order of the day lady luck show up for Jamaica when “Man of the Match” Julian De Guzman sizzled a shot of the paint of the cross bar at the 87 minute mark


In retrospect I think Canada missed a golden opportunity to move up in the Group 2 standings since Mexico came from behind to defeat Honduras 2-1 and now leads the Group with three points and with Honduras on the menu for Canada on September 6 in Montreal it is imperative that Canada gain a result in that game before taking on Mexico in Edmonton.


Jamaica on the other hand dodged a bullet against Canada and should feel good about the one point gained in Toronto at BMO Field. However the Reggae Boyz are not out of the combat zone and would have to live up to their impressive home record when they meet #1 seed Mexico next at the “Office in Kingston Jamaica for their next game. 


Soccer Update: Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors made a strong bid for a spot in the final round of six and return to the World Cup after defeating Cuba 3-1 in Havana. With the win T&T sits at the top of Group I standing with USA after the US defeated Guatemala 1-0 after being outplayed.  Guatemala in a must win situation has to travel to play T&T in Port of Spain next while Cuba with lots at stake remains in Havana to play USA. 

In Group 3 heavily favored Costa Rica weather the storm to defeat El Salvador 1-0 while Haiti relied on the dramatics by scoring two goals in the last minutes of play to tie Surinam 2-2.  Costa Rica can move into the Group 3 driver seat with a win at home in their next game against Surinam while Haiti and El Salvador will do battle in San Salvador to posture with Surinam for the second spot of the group.


Its  Canada vs Jamaica at BMO Field

 The final week of preparation for the third round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers is here and all the action and excitement in the first leg match of Group 2 between Canada and Jamaica will be coming to you live and direct from BMO Field in Toronto on Wednesday.


When last I checked the two teams match up beautifully since Canada has a renewed sense of confidence that will keep them up to par with the Jamaica Reggae Boyz speed and rhythm. Although the game is in Toronto no one would venture to predict which team would ride the rhythm of the 12th man advantage come Wednesday.


What I can tell you is that there was a late rush for tickets from a large contingent of Caribbean fans and that does not clarify that scenario either. There is also supposed to a “Go for Goal Tour” arriving from Jamaica for the game but rest assured on game day the TFC season ticket holders may have the big say in which way the crowd support may swing.


However the major factor towards the outcome of the game is always the scoring summary and my estimation is that if either team scores an early goal that will open up the other team defensively or at least wake up the conceding team and allow them to turn up the power to overcome the deficit.


The last scenario seems more likely and should it be Canada which can get off to an early lead it would no doubt present a sticky wicket for the Jamaica’s defensive coverage in an effort to curtail the ever dangerous Canadian midfielders in Dwayne De Rosario and Julian De Guzman.


This tandem is arguably at the top of their game since they both received MVP and Player of the Year awards for their exploits last with their clubs and Canada and were outstanding in their last game for Canada. Dwayne De Rosario plays for the MLS Houston Dynamo while his Canadian team mate Julian De Guzman plights his trade with Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna’s..


However in spite of the potency of De Rosario and De Guzman the Reggae Boyz and their Jamaican fans would tell you that they intent to leave Toronto with at least a point from this encounter and with coach Simoes back at the controls they are confident that it can happen.


It is conceivable that the Reggae Boyz defense may limit the production of the Canadian strikers but the challenge for Jamaica would be how they will adjust to the Canadian midfielder’s transitional game. Canada’s midfielders have improved their play dating back to Gold Cup 2007 and although the teams split victories in their friendly games in 2006 the teams were missing some of the players now in the team.


Presently the Reggae Boyz team boasts tons of speed and skill on their flanks which could force Canada’s strikers Tomasz Radzinski, and Ali Gerba (the most likely starting strikers) up front to track back to slow up the flank penetration to allow their midfielders to solidify their defensive positions.


The Reggae Boyz defense lead by TFC own Tyrone Marshall may bend but it may not break if Canada does not maintain offensive momentum to apply direct pressure. In failing to do that Marshall and company would be free to do what they do best which is push forward.


However as the Reggae Boyz prepare for their game at BMO Field coach Rene Simoes has made a brave push to install the discipline and pride that he thinks would be needed for Jamaica to advance to another World Cup and since Simoes was the man at the helm that when Jamaica Reggae Boyz made it to World Cup France in 1998 no one should oppose.


Based on Simoes fundamental policies it has been reported that striker Marlon King has been omitted from the Jamaica squad for the Canada game. King omission caught a lot of the Reggae Boyz supporters by surprise but in a letter to the media a month ago, Simoes cautioned that there would be surprises in store after speaking to his troops going public about discipline, self control, winning and a positive and creative attitude for the Jamaica team.


Simoes letter can be seen in its entirety on JamaicaWin.com and the most notable sections of his letter read “I will not compromise my principles in the name of a player, or the clubs or the persons who are connected to them,”


With Simoes in control it is conceivable that Jamaica could be coming into BMO Field with the same game plan as Canada which is to strike first and early but I would think that if Jamaica could limit Canada’s scoring chances Simoes would trade the early goal for a late lone goal and 3 points in hand to leave BMO Field.


For obvious reason Canada first option should be to take the early lead and let the chips fall where they may since Canada is at home and regardless of the support at BMO Field I think Canada would have to initiate the action to win this game.



Jamaica ready for Big W/C Qualifier test in group 2

 Jamaica Reggae Boyz seems to be ready for the big test against Canada, Mexico and Honduras in the third round of the CONCACAF Group 2 World Cup qualifiers. The Reggae Boyz advanced into the third round after disposing of Bahamas 7-0 and 6-0 in their second round games


In advancing into the third round Jamaica now find themselves in tough company in Group 2 with the likes of Honduras, Canada, and Mexico. Jamaica is on fire offensively of late and at present it seems like it would be very difficult for any team to shut down the Reggae Boyz offense.


However although Jamaica did not concede a goal against Bahamas, to move forward the Boyz will have to improve on their defense while maintaining their physical and mental toughness at home.


Honduras in this third round will have to get back to their Gold Cup form since they had to use their home field advantage to defeat Puerto Rico 4-0 after tying the first leg 2-2 in Puerto Rico. Honduras is a very capable team and showed their worth when they defeated Mexico in Gold Cup action last year, but that was then and this is now.


Until they are eliminated Mexico as always will be favored to qualify out of the CONCACAF zone, but the Tricolors were sluggish in their 2-0 first leg win over Belize which seem to indicate that their football is not out of the woods as yet when you add several other disappointing results at major tournaments over the last year.


However things are looking up for Mexico and with the hiring of Swede Sven Goran Eriksson and their decisive 7-0 win at home over Belize in their second leg that might have been just what the doctor ordered to keep the skeptics quiet until they open their third round game against Honduras.




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