SSR Accomplished magazine  featuring Thierry Henry

Jamaica Hex Projection   

By Aldwyn McGill 

While the play of the Jamaica Reggae Boyz at the 2014 World Cup Brazil has wavered, my opinion on their chances has not. I maintained that home field and a revamped offense was their way to success.  This was apparent after watching the Caribbean Championship in Antigua where it was obvious to me that the Reggae Boyz offensive strategies needed fine tuning; It seemed like the only logical explanation after watching Jamaica under coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore with such talented players (compared to the opposition) was sent packing at the group stage of the CFU tournament with only one goal scored and a winless (0-2-1) record.

 

Little did I know that Jamaica’s scoring problem would have resurfaced at the semi-final round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers (WCQ) where the Reggae Boyz did advance to the final (Hexagonal’) round, but that was after approaching the last group match of the round trailing both USA and Guatemala, on points and on goal difference. Luckily, the Reggae Boyz was the beneficiary of a USA victory against Guatemala while all the other chips fell in place.   

 

As the last Caribbean hope in the Hexagonal (final) round, the Boyz had delivered on home field to that point, so a revamped offensive should have been the main concern of coach Whitmore to put teams away.  Understandably, Jamaica scoring problem was masked when the Reggae Boyz opened the Hex' with a well-deserved historic 0-0 draw at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico and the hype attract an expected sold out crowd for the next game against Panama in Kingston. But the hype and momentum did not transformed into goals before a sold out crowd at the “Office” in Kingston.

 

The Reggae Boyz took an early lead but Panama equalized and took over the play for a 1-1 final score. Jamaica has since scored just one goal in four matches and is the first team in the 2014 Hex’ to lose at home; not once, but twice. After a (third consecutive) 2-0 loss in Honduras, Coach Whitmore did the honourable thing and resigned.

 

The JFF in  its wisdom,  hired the ever experienced German Winfried 'Winnie' Schafer as head coach of the Reggae Boyz. Vin Blaine, head of the Jamaica women’s program, was named as Schafer’s assistant for the remainder of the 2014 campaign. Surprisingly, Schafer has made it clear that he was not in Jamaica to change the style of play, but more to change the mentality of the players. But, I think that he will soon discover that he will have to change the Reggae Boyz style of play somewhat, in order to produce the goals needed to win games.

 

It is no secret that Jamaica has to win its four remaining games to stand any realistic chance for a top four finish.  The Boyz is in last place in the six-team standings with just two points and two goals scored. My hunch is that we may see (as per the 2010 W-C campaign) the Reggae Boyz play a wide open style to end their 2014 campaign on a positive note.  But the million dollar question is, will it also be too little, too late?  

 

For the complexion of the race to change from its present state into Jamaica's favour, more teams will have to lose at home.                                                                          

 

Pick up SSR Magazine Vol. 9 called ‘Accomplished’ from www.ssrmagazine.com and read what Whitmore and some of the Reggae Boyz’ had to say about their Hex’perience before the September break. 

 

 

SSR Vol 9 Accomplished (Thierry Henry)

Produced by Aldwyn McGill
Details  Price: $9.99    (NEW RELEASE)    

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