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Jamaica Football  by Aldwyn McGill

Can Reggae Boyz regain form?

After a good performance at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup the big question is can the Reggae Boyz regain their form for the upcoming 2014 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers?

All things considered, Jamaica is on track to advance as one of the final six nations which will be competing for four spots to get to the 2014 World Cup Brazil. The Reggae Boyz made short work of their Group B opponents at the Gold Cup and is ranked #3 in the CONCACAF region.

Jamaica reached the quarter finals of the Gold Cup after opening the tournament with three wins, no losses and no draws in group play. One of Jamaica victims at the group stage was Honduras, a team which qualified for the last (2010) FIFA World Cup in South Africa.       

The Reggae Boyz are definitely on track but in order to accomplish their goal the Reggae Boyz will have to raise their game, exercise more discipline in movement off the ball and stick together as a team.

Jamaica 2-0 loss to USA in the quarter finals showed that there is still room for improvement in the Reggae Boyz play.

Jamaica will be a force to be reckoned with since the team is almost invincible at the office in Kingston, where the crowd makes life extremely difficult for opposing teams to gain a result. 

Jamaica also has depth after unveiling some young talent from their 2011 W-C team.

The Young Boyz qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, and ended Jamaica's drought which dated back to its debut appearance in 1999.  

2011 Gold Cup Review   

 By Michael Lewis (concacaf.com)

WASHINGTON -- Jamaica's exit from the Gold Cup was forgettable: a 2-0 loss to the United States in which it was outshot 18-8 and finished with 10 men. Yet, Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore felt his team had nothing to be ashamed of in the tournament.                                   

The Jamaicans won all three of their opening-round games and outscored the opposition 7-0, the only team not to concede a goal. Sunday's loss, however, was as one-side for the Americans as Jamaicans were in the group stage.

"Sometimes it can be nerves. Sometimes it can be the opposition," Whitmore told the Jamaica Observer. "I think some of our better players never played [Sunday], but I think overall it was a good performance from the national team, and with the players that we had in this tournament, the future looks bright and I must congratulate the players again for the hard work throughout this tournament."

There is much to be optimistic about. More and more Jamaican players are competing abroad. Of the 14 Jamaicans who can play in Major League Soccer, seven were on the Gold Cup team with European opportunities probably developing over the coming months.

"The fact is that doors are being opened now for our players to go abroad to ply their trade, which is good," assistant coach Warren Barrett told CONCACAF.com "We have a number of players who play here in the U.S. We have a number of players in Europe.

"So that has really broadened their horizons for the national team, and also the professional environment and attitude that they find themselves in. Week in and week out, they play in very strong, competitive leagues, so at the end of the day, that enhances our national team."

The Jamaicans are trying to emulate the success of the Reggae Boyz of 1998, who qualified the country for its first World Cup in France. They have stumbled several times since, but many observers felt that this version is the Caribbean side's most talented and disciplined team.

"I can say the ones in the past were way more talented than us right now," said defender Shavar Thomas, who plays with Sporting Kansas City (MLS). "But we have a thing that we've been doing since 2009, where everyone focuses as a team. This is a team atmosphere and everybody works for the team."

The Jamaicans' focus has changed as well.

"We have professional guys who play overseas at big clubs, but a lot of times when they got here, the focus was not the same as they would do at their clubs," Thomas said. "And that's a major difference [this year]. Since the last Gold Cup in 2009, we said, 'We have too much talent not to advance.' And we said that we have to do this as a team, as a group. And that's what's been working so far."

Ranked 55th in the monthly FIFA World Rankings -- fourth in CONCACAF behind the United States, Mexico and Honduras, the Jamaicans won't have to start its World Cup qualifying run for Brazil until the semifinal round along with the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Cuba.

That will allow Whitmore and his staff to make some long-range plans.

"When we return home we will sit and discus where we go from here because for now we just have to concentrate on some practice games and focus on the 2014 campaign," he told the Observer. "We have some areas in the team that we need to start looking at to get it more competitive, so we have a lot of work to do."

 Jamaica U-17 qualify for World Cup Mexico

 

Montego Bay Jamaica--Drawn into Group C, with Trinidad and Tobago, and Guatemala, the Young  Jamaica Reggae Boyz clinched a spot in the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Mexico after winning the group and defeating Honduras 2-1 in the quarter final of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship at St Catherine Park in Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

 

The semi final berth marked Jamaica's return to the FIFA U-17 finals after its first appearance in 1999 when the team also qualified from Montego Bay.

Jamaica rode a brace scored by Jason Wright on both sides of the half to deliver the telling blows to Honduras.

 

Improving with every match,

the Young Reggae Boyz capitalized on the large turn out which allowed the players to rise to the occasion and take care of business when needed.

 

The Young Reggae Boyz advanced to the quarter finals after beating Guatemala 1-0 in its last group match, filtered in with a favorable tie breaker win over Trinidad and Tobago to break the Group C deadlock, and send Trinidad and Tobago in the hands of Canada while Jamaica faced what seemed to be an easier Honduras team.

 

The home crowd advantage loomed large for Jamaica as their youngsters gained in confidence and believed that anything was possible as the tournament progressed. Jamaica was definitely the dark horse in the race, with no pun intended, but for the upcoming World Cup the Young Reggae Boyz would have to improve on their team chemistry which showed with their timid and tentative running off the ball.

 

The Young Boyz defense will also need some work but they are getting consistent play from Kemo Wallace in the left wing back position and captain Omar Holness in the midfield which coach Downswell should utilize as a good area to build his team. With  timely scoring from point man Wright, I would venture to say that Jamaica still needs better performances from the other positions to be a force in Mexico.

 

However, Pint size #19 Cardell Benbo has played well and should have be given a starting assignment at least in the third place Consolation match. Benbo not only excite the crowd off the bench but together with captain Holness seemed to be the only real creator of scoring opportunities in Jamaica U-17 midfield.

 

Benbo may also have to concentrate more on scoring when he breaks down defenses which he is doing with relative ease. This is an area in which Coach Wendell Downswell will have to earn his keep by coming up with more player combination and rotations of players to stimulate a better tactical game plan in order to break down the tougher defenses in Mexico.

 

But for the moment, the  Young Reggae Boyz has done remarkably well and deserves a lot of credit for stepping up their game in the quarter finals against Honduras. They gave everything coach Downswell and the home fans could have asked, and came away with a 2-1 victory to seal Jamaica's entry as CONCACAF's fourth and final entry to the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.

 

The Young Reggae Boyz did not end their quarter final match particularly well, and allowed Honduras to make the game very interesting towards the end of regulation with a beauty of a header from Bryan Rochez in the 65th minute from a left side cross ball to cut Jamaica lead in half. 

 

Honduras also missed two glorious scoring chances from in close that would have sent the match into overtime but Jamaica did not need a third goal, as  their 2-1 lead held up as the final score. In the semi final match against USA.

 

The Young Reggae Boyz continued to perform under their normal standard of play and it is yet to be determined if they are up to the level of the other teams in the final four after losing to Panama in the third place match from another listless performance.

 

Coach Downswell has time to put together what seems to be a decent pool of talent, which has Toronto's native #20 Shawn Chaud Lawson (son of soccer star Jimmy Lawson of Magic Soccer Club) in its roster. Shawn started most of Jamaica's U-17 matches. 

 

At the conclusion of the tournament Coach Downswell paid tribute to his players and thanked the crowd for their support and contribution.

 "Full marks to the youngsters as they fought the whole way.  "I love these fans here and they supported us in a great way for the whole tournament. We just need to focus now on getting better and better as a team." coach Downswell concluded. 

 

I agree 100 percent with coach Downswell's assessment, since the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be a lot tougher and his players will have to get better to stand any chance of going as deep at W-C Mexico.

Caribbean Soccer at its Best

Jamaica Reggae Boyz defeat Guadeloupe to retain Digicel Cup

by Aldwyn McGill

Sunday, December 5th 2010 Jamaica Reggae Boyz retained the Digicel Caribbean Cup after defeating Guadeloupe 5-4 on penalty kicks .

The final was a nail biting affair as the teams remained deadlock at one apiece from halftime to the end of overtime and took the penalty kicks down to the wire.

 

The Digicel Caribbean Cup soccer Championship final was played at the Pierre Aliker stadium in Dillon, Martinique, and was watched worldwide on the concacaf.com network. It was a well attended final that attracted scouts from throughout the region

With scouts in the midst it was only fitting that Jamaica Reggae Boyz striker Omar Cummings was on hand to showcase his talent. Cummings plays for the Colorado Rapids in the MLS and may be picked up by a team in Mexico or Europe sometime soon.

 

To expedite his case to interested clubs, Cummings scored the opening goal from a neat set up by Luton Shelton in the 26 minute. But Guadeloupe was not going down without a fight since it was the second meeting of the teams after Guadeloupe had lost to Jamaica 2-0 in the group stage from a scoreless first half and gave up the second goal in that game in injury time.

 

The Frenchmen  were prepared and four minutes after the Reggae Boyz surged ahead, Guadeloupe captain Stephane Auvrey equalized. Auvrey returned to the line up after serving a game suspension for accumulation of yellow cards and his contribution in the midfield was invaluable.

 

The teams went into the half tied 1-1 and there were no defining moment to separate the teams. It was a fitting end to the three month tournament as the  standard of improve dramatically from the group stage in a highly competitive atmosphere.

 

At the group stage the defending champion Jamaica was going through its opposition like a hot knife through butter while Cuba also ran away with its Group H. But the domination stopped at the semi finals stage as Guadeloupe upset Cuba 2-1 and Jamaica had to grind out a close overtime win over Grenada 2-1.

 

Grenada contested every ball against Jamaica and competed right down to the end in a game which the Reggae Boyz eventually score in overtime for the win. Cuba defeated Grenada 1-0 for third place as the final four teams advance to the upcoming 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.

 

Until such a time  the next tournament the Reggae Boyz should enjoy their accomplishment as the deserving 2010 champions of the Caribbean. It is also very likely that Jamaica will give the other teams in CONCACAF a run for their money at next summer Gold Cup.  

 

Kicking first and down to its fifth penalty Troy Smith scored while Guadeloupe's fifth penalty was shot wide by Lamboude. Besides the Caribbean championship trophy Jamaica received a cheque for 120,000USD which is the largest cash prize for football in the region.

 

Guadeloupe, got 70,000 USD as runners up, while Cuba and Grenada received 50,000USD and 30,000USD respectively for third and fourth place. 

 

The Reggae Boyz was the most consistent team at the Digicel Caribbean Championship and finished the tournament as the only team without a loss. One area in which coach Theodore Whitmore has to work on with his team is discipline.

 

What I witness at the 2009 Gold Cup against Costa Rica in Ohio occurred again against Grenada in the semi final match. The Reggae Boyz received a red card. In Ohio it was Rodolph Austin and in Martinique it was Sergio Campbell.

 

On both occasion the Reggae Boyz had to struggle after the red. Luckily in Martinique the Boyz had a 2-1 lead and could have held on for the win. In Ohio, the Reggae Boyz was not as fortunate and gave up a goal after Austin's ejection. It turned out to be a 1-0 final score and Jamaica was eliminated.  

 

Without these incidents, I have no doubt that Jamaica can continue to enjoy success and there are positive signs. Since the 2009 Gold Cup Austin has matured and was voted the MVP of the Digicel Championship. He was also a force against Canada in the International friendly match and may be one of the upcoming leaders of the Reggae Boyz at the forceful age of 26.

 

Austin plays for the Norwegian Premier League side Brann, after attempts by Stoke City to acquire him failed in 2009 as it was reported that he was refused a work permit. But Brann FC has been a good developing curve for Austin who has turned into a dynamite player for Jamaica.

 

Coach Whitmore also deserves a lot of credit for making adjustments for the big game. In the final his team was patient and stayed the course. If these calm and collective effort continues for Jamaica, the Reggae Boyz fans will definitely have more to cheer about in the future.

 

Digicel Caribbean Championship 2010 Report

Group H

GP

W

D

L

+/-

PTS

Cuba

3

2

0

0

3:0

7

Grenada

3

1

2

0

2:1

5

Trinidad & Tobago

3

0

1

2

1:3

3

Martinique

3

0

1

2

1:3

1

26.11.2010

Trinidad & Tobago - Cuba

0:2 (0:1)

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

26.11.2010

Martinique -Grenada

1:1 (0:1)

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

28.11.2010

Grenada- Trinidad & Tobago

1:0

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

28.11.2010

Martinique  - Cuba

0:1

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

30.11.2010

Cuba - Grenada

0:0

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

30.11.2010

Martinique- Trinidad & Tobago

 0:1

Pierre Aliker, Martinique

Group B

Group I

GP

W

D

L

+/-

PTS

Jamaica

3

3

0

0

10:1

9

Guadeloupe

3

1

0

1

2:3

4

Antigua & Barbuda

3

0

1

1

1:3

3

Guyana

3

0

0

2

1:6

1

26.11.2010

Guyana - Guadeloupe

1:1 (1:1)

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

26.11.2010

Jamaica - Antigua & Barbuda

4:1 (2:0)

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

29.11.2010

Antigua & Barbuda- Guyana

1:0

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

29.11.2010

Guadeloupe - Jamaica

0:2

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

01.11.2010

Guadeloupe - Antigua & Barbuda

1:0

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

01.12.2010

Guyana- Jamaica

0:4

Riviere Pilote Stadium Mart

 

Semi Final 1 03/12/2010 17:30 Pierre Aliker,
Dillon
Cuba Winner H 1:2  Guadeloupe Runner-up I 
Semi Final 2 03/12/2010 20:30 Jamaica Winner I  2:1 Grenada        Runner-up H 
3rd Place 05/12/2010 16:00 Cuba Loser SF 2  1:0 Grenada            Loser SF 1 
FINAL 05/12/2010 19:00 Jamaica Winner SF 1 1:1 4-5 PK Guadeloupe  Winner SF 2 


Group I (
second match) digicelfootball.com Report

Guadeloupe vs Jamaica-Monday, November 29th 2010 – Stade de Riviere Pilote, Martinique:


Jamaica maintained their 100% record in the Digicel Cup tonight with a comprehensive performance against a strong Guadeloupe side that now assures them of winning Group I and qualifying to the Digicel Cup semi finals.

Jamaica played with the slight advantage of the wind in the first half and were nearly in front after only a minutes play when Dale Richards took advantage of the elements and let fly from all of 20 yards only for his shot to be well saved by an alert Bus in the French goal.

Richards continued to cause a huge amount of trouble down the left and when his cross was met by an inrushing Shelton from the left, his header shaved the far post when it seemed as if the Jamaicans were about to take the lead.

Richards almost went it alone soon after when he won a dash for the ball with French keeper Bus but when he turned to lob the ball back in the direction of the goal, Mocka had managed to scramble back and safely headed the ball away on the line.

Jamaica looked comfortable on the ball and moved it around with confidence and a growing swagger. It seemed more likely they would open the scoring soon but could not under estimate their technically sound opponents.

Guadeloupe were being out matched in most areas of the field but they still had to concede a goal which allowed their confidence grow more as the half wore on. With 4 minutes to half time Gotin had their best chance of the half when he turned and lashed out at his shot from the right side of the goal 8 yards out, but his effort went harmlessly wide and Miller was not troubled.

The French started the second half a lot brighter than they did the first and with Auvray making runs into the box they started to look a real threat. On 52 minutes the French should have scored when Mocka played a delicate chipped cross between the Jamaican defence for Auvray to launch himself at the ball with a flying header but his effort went inches past the post.

The Reggae Boyz took their warning seriously and went straight down the other end and scored. That man again Dale Richards was yet again the thorn in the side for the French and his beautiful cross was met 8 yards out with a firm header that Shaun Francis met and planted into the corner. The young Francis turned and celebrated ecstatically in the corner, and rightly so as he notched his first ever senior goal for Jamaica in this his fourth appearance in the famous yellow shirt.

Jamaica were presented a gift to end this match as a contest when on 62 minutes Richards beat everyone to the ball and cut back for top scorer Shelton who somehow blasted over from 5 yards when he seemed destined to extend his lead in his search for the Digicel Golden Boot award.

Guadeloupe kept searching for the equalizer and the introduction of Collet with his wicked left foot added an attacking impetus that the French lacked in the first half. The Jamaicans responded with a calculated substitute of their own with coach Whitmore bringing on the big target man Johnson who was causing all sorts of trouble up front as he combined well with Shelton. Johnson had a chance to finish it off on 88 minutes after his strength saw him through two challenges before he smashed his shot off the legs of Bus in the Guadeloupe goal.

With time running out Guadeloupe had a free kick 20 yards out and well within striking range for dead ball specialist Jean Luc Lamboude. But when his free kick hit the wall, the Jamaicans broke with speed and after the French dallied in possession Johnson took full advantage of their reluctance to clear the ball and gleefully stroked Jamaica's second goal home in injury time.

The result now assures the Reggae Boyz of qualification to the semi finals of the Digicel Cup and in top spot from Group I no matter what the other results, will mean their automatic qualification to the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2011.

Guadeloupe must now win their final game against Antigua and hope that Jamaica keep their 100% record against Guyana.
The Digicel Cup Finals will be played from November 26 through to December 5 in Martinique with live television broadcast worldwide courtesy of Digicel as well as live radio coverage, images and updates on www.digicelgroup.com.

Guadeloupe: 1 Yohann Bus 4 Ulick Lupede 5. Dominique Mocka 6 Stephane Auvray (Captain) 9. Ludovic Gotin (15. Livio Nabab 67 mins)13 Jean Luc Lomboude 18 Eddy Viator 14 Julien Ictoi 17 Larry Hanany (8. Fabien Belson 52 mins)19 Larry Clavier 20 Loic Loval
Coach: Roger Salnot

Jamaica: 13. Dwayne Miller 4 Shavar Thomas (Captain) 6 Jermaine Taylor 7 Lovel Palmer 10 Keammar Daley 11 Dane Richards (2. Richard Edwards 82 mins) 14 Omar Cummings (9. Ryan Johnson 65 mins) 15 Shaun Francis (16. Troy Smith 75 mins) 17 Rodolph Austin 19 Adrian Reid 21 Luton Shelton Coach: Theodore Whitmore

Referee: Walter Lopez (Guatemala) Assistant Referee 1: Egbert Paesch ( Aruba) Assistant Referee 2: Ramon Louisville (Suriname) Match Commissioner: Hubert Isenia (Curacao)

Group I (first match) digicelfootball.com Report

Jamaica vs Antigua and Barbuda Saturday, November 27th 2010 – Stade Riviere Pilote, Martinique: Jamaica started the defence of their Digicel Cup title by outclassing Antigua & Barbuda in wet and windy conditions in Martinique in the opening games of Group I of the Digicel Cup Finals.
The Reggae Boyz competing in their first game of the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup started brightly but were in a game against a lively and energetic Antiguan side who did not seem to be daunted by their opponents.

That confidence was soon knocked when after only 14 minutes play, Dane Richards turned the ball into the path of Luton Shelton who had the easiest of tasks by placing the ball past Decastro with a confident sidefoot into the Antiguan net.

Richards almost made it 2 five minutes later, when the pacey striker knocked the ball over the advancing Decastro after a long ball had put him through, only for Dublin to show his pace by outsprinting the Jamaican striker to clear what would have been a certain goal for the Reggae Boyz.

The reigning Digicel Cup champions looked to stamp their authority on this game and always looked the more likely to extend their lead as their pace and quick passing looked as if it would undo Antigua on a few more occasions at least.

On 37 minutes a long ball over the top from Shaun Francis allowed Luton Shelton to race clear and when confronted by keeper Decastro, he cleverly cut back across the retreating defenders and slotted home to make it 2-0.

Three minutes later and the Reggae Boyz were three up. This time Dane Richards was the scorer after another through ball caught the Antiguan defence flat once again and yet again the Jamaican striker took his opportunity at the first time of asking.

Antigua were given a lifeline at the start of the second half when substitute Gason Gregory on the pitch only 3 minutes, made an immediate impact when his thunderous free kick from 30 yards flew past a bewildered Dwayne Miller who could only palm at the thunderbolt but not prevent it crashing into the back of his net.

Antigua's confidence now rose ten-fold and they took to their opponents with a new found purpose. On 55 minutes Byers looked odds on to pull another back for Antigua as he charged down on Jamaica's goal only for a wonderful one handed flying save from Miller that turned the ball out for a corner preventing a second for the underdogs.

Antigua continued to play with purpose and were testing the Jamaican defence more and more with Byers growing in confidence after a wicked curling effort just flew past the post.

Richards then broke away on 66 minutes and with two defenders to beat, his trickery and pace got him around those but when faced with just the keeper, seemed to rush his shot and blasted over the bar, when he seemed odds on to score a wonder goal.

The game moved equally between both ends for the remainder of the game with Antigua certainly looking more purposeful and were probably ruing those lacklustre defensive frailties for a few mad moments in the first half which were now looking so costly to them.

Jamaica saw out the dying moments pinned back and while they were on the back foot they were comfortable enough to ensure that the three points were secured as they end their opening encounter of the Digicel Cup 2010 top of their Group I here in Martinique.

The Digicel Cup Finals will be played from November 26 through to December 5 in Martinique with live television broadcast worldwide courtesy of Digicel as well as live radio coverage, images and updates on  digicelfootball.com 


Jamaica: 13. Dwayne Miller 2 Richard Edwards 4 Shavar Thomas (Captain) 6 Jermaine Taylor 7 Lovel Palmer 10 Keammar Daley (5. O'Brian Woodbine 74 mins) 11 Dane Richards (8. Eric Vernon 81 mins) 13 Dwayne Miller 15 Shaun Francis 17 Rodolph Austin (18 Keneil Moodie 90 mins) 19 Adrian Reid 21 Luton Shelton Coach: Theodore Whitmore

Antigua & Barbuda: 18 Keita Decastro 5 Dave Carr 6 Joshua Parker 12 Justin Cochrane 13 Kieran Murtagh 14 Randolph Burton (2. Ranja Christian 70 mins) 17 George Dublin (Captain) 19 Martin McCoy 20 Akeem Thomas (8. Quinton Griffith 90 mins) 11 Jamie Thomas (7. Gason Gregory 46 mins) 16 Peter Byers Coach: Rowan Benjamin
Referee: Enrico Wijngaarde ( Suriname) Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Louisville (Suriname) Assistant Referee 2: Egbert Paesch (Aruba) Match Commissioner: Patrick Beckles (Barbados)


 

Soca Warriors start on wrong foot

Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors got off on the wrong foot in their opening match at the final stage of the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Championship. The Warriors opened their Group H match listless as Cuba dominated for a 2-0 win.  Of great significance is the fact that host Martinique came back to draw with Grenada 1-1 in the second match of the Group H doubleheader to set up what could be a race down to the wire for the group title.

If the trend continues not only the group title will be up for grabs, but also Latapy's coaching job if the Soca Warriors does not improve on their performance.


Reggae Boyz ready to defend Caribbean title

by Aldwyn McGill

The Digicel Caribbean Championship is in its final stage (3) with eight teams placed into two groups (H and I). The final stage will be played in Martinique where the top two teams in each group will advance to the semi finals and automatically qualify for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

 

Guyana is the only team which has survived from stage one of the tournament, which makes this final stage a very interesting preposition for the current champion Jamaica and its competitors in Group I.

 

The Reggae Boyz is in Group I with Guadeloupe, Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda, and although favored, nothing is a given. Guadeloupe is tough and Guyana should be ready to compete after playing the most games.

 

Guyana has also moved up in the FIFA world rankings and in the CFU rankings which is added incentive for the team to do well. A win in their opening match against Guadeloupe will give Guyana a realistic chance to advance out of the group.

 

Jamaica under Coach Theodore Whitmore is ready and Whitmore voiced his sentiments in an exclusive with Digicel.com. "We are feeling confident about the upcoming games  - the boys are ready to go out and represent their country and defend their title" said the coach.

 

He acknowledged that there is pressure to retain the title but emphasized his team's anticipation of overcoming the pressure due to their preparation for the tournament.

 

"Yes, we are reigning champions and there is a little bit of pressure there" Whitmore continued, "Jamaica - along with Trinidad & Tobago - is one of the top two teams in the Caribbean, that doesn't mean it's going to be a walk over -ut we have prepared physically and mentally

 

"We played a friendly in Florida last week against Costa Rica which we drew 0-0. It was a fairly good performance and I think we achieved most of what we wanted. We were more organized and, technically, we also improved in the second half - most importantly we didn't lose the game.

 

Jamaica arrived in Martinique this week, and may have to hit the ground running to get off to a good start in its first game against Antigua and Barbuda, in what will be the Reggae Boyz first competitive match of the tournament,

 

Teams will be without their European players since the tournament is not FIFA sanctioned. Meaning that the only overseas players available to play are the MLS players whose season is over and that certainly favors Jamaica who has a wealth of talent in the MLS.

 

The Reggae Boyz 2014 campaign is on track after opening with a 1-0 in their International friendly match in January against Canada and closing off the year with a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica after beating El Ticos at the office in Kingston.

 

Trinidad and Tobago under Coach Russell Latapy have their story to tell and should not be taken lightly, nor should Guadeloupe Cuba, or Grenada.

 

Grenada qualified for the first time in the 2008 version of the Caribbean championship and there is nothing like the taste of success as a motivator. Guadeloupe heads into the final stage with an unbeaten record having defeated Grenada 3-0, Puerto Rico 3-2 and St. Kitts & Nevis 2-1.

 

But the team with the biggest motivation is T&T which has not won the title in recent years. In fact it has been 11 years since the Soca Warriors were Caribbean champions and there is no secret that coach Latapy is under pressure to produce with his job on the line.

 

Thus far Latapy's and his troops have responded and the Warriors are unbeaten after defeating Haiti 4-0, St. Vincent & the Grenadines 6-2 and Guyana 2-1. But Grenada and Cuba have also enjoyed solid performances to advance in the tournament.

 

The tournament kicks off this Friday with Trinidad & Tobago in tough against Cuba and host Martinique taking on Grenada in Group H action. On Saturday, Guyana will play Guadeloupe and Antigua & Barbuda will come face to face with Jamaica to open Group I.

Jamaica has beaten Trinidad and Tobago twice in its friendly matches, 3-1 in T&T and 1-0 in its return match at the Office in Kingston in preparation for the tournament. The two teams are favored to clash in the final for all the marbles, but no one told that to Cuba and Guadeloupe 

 

Jamaica defeat Grenada 2-0 to win 2008 Caribbean Championship

                                                                                          Photos by Don Streete

 Jamaica Reggae Boyz King of the Caribbean

Jamaica Reggae Boyz defeated Grenada 2-0 to win the Digicel Cup and the 2008 Caribbean Championship. Luton Shelton provided the Reggae Boyz scoring from two penalties 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.

 Jamaica received US$120,000 for their win, while Grenada received US$70.000 as runners up. 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 tremours 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 the final.

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 2009.

 

The JFF and new coach and former England and Liverpool winger John Barnes and his staff also  deserves a lot of credit for putting their 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 ingenuity 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 Spicy 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 Reggae Boyz eliminated from 2010 W-C

                                                                                          Photos by Don Streete

The Jamaica Reggae Boyz was eliminated from the CONCACAF W-C qualifiers after they fell short of their target with a 3-0 win over Canada. The Boyz was in search of six clear goals that were projected to vault Jamaica into the final round ahead of Mexico based on goal difference while Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors defeated Cuba 3-0 at Hasley Crawford Stadium to advance into the final round of the CONCACAF W-C qualifier.

 
As a result, Caribbean fans did not get their early present from Santa. They asked Mr. Claus for Jamaica and T&T to advance into the final round, but as it turn out it was not to be. Naughty or nice was not a part of the equation. The rule of thumb in sports is to have your points in hand, to put yourself in a position to control your own destiny.


Unfortunately for the Jamaica and their supporters, Honduras defeated Mexico 1-0 on a Mexico own goal that vaulted Honduras into first place with 12 points and Mexico into second place with 10 points. Jamaica with 10 points was eliminated from World Cup 2010 South Africa on goal difference with zero compared to Mexico's plus three.


However, for a while in the Canada game, it seemed like the Reggae Boyz could have scored the required amount of goals after Luton Shelton dribbled around Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld to score the Reggae Boyz first goal at the 27th minute. The goal sent the sold out crowd at the office into frenzy in anticipation of goals galore but player pride stepped in and Canada defense adjusted well and kept the score 1-0 to the half.


Marlon King, recalled to the Reggae Boyz team for his offensive threat, scored a penalty at the 58th minute after Demar Phillips was tripped inside the penalty area, the lights flickered, and hopes returned as the possibility of advancing reappeared.


However, as the game progressed into the later stages, hopes started to fail since the 6-goal target faded. Omar Cummings scored Jamaica third goal from an Ian Goddison's cross at the 85 minute to make it 3-0 for the Reggae Boyz but by then all eyes and ears at the office were on the net trying to find out if Mexico beat Honduras.

 
Under different circumstances Jamaica Reggae Boyz would have been the story of the CONCACAF W-C qualifier had they move onto the final round. However, with the upcoming Digicel Caribbean Championship finals hosted in Jamaica, it would be interesting to see if Jamaica's new technical director of football, John Barnes can continue to improve the Reggae Boyz football with a roster consisting of mostly local players.


In port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors came alive after a tentative first half on a wet and heavy Hasley Crawford field. However, after a scoreless first half the cream rose to the top as the Cuba defense weaken as the game progressed.


First, it was striker Kenwyne Jones goal at the 67-minute after moving in all alone on goal. Then two minutes later captain Dwight Yorke scored after breaking free unmolested to tuck the ball under the advancing Cuba goalkeeper. Keon Daniel scored in the closing minutes of the game to give T&T a 3-0 win and a spot into the final round.


In T&T before the Cuba game their was a lot of reflecting about the Warriors historic victory over Bahrain that gave T&T a spot into W-C Germany 2006. However after covering all the teams in this year's qualifier it would be safe to say that the Soca Warriors would have to concentrate on speed, fitness and a precise scouting report to improve their chances of getting through to World Cup South Africa.


last Saturday the match schedule for the six-team 'hexagonal' round was finalized and the first games of the final round are schedule for February 11, with Trinidad and Tobago travelling to play El Salvador while Costa Rica stays at home to play Honduras.


This is a good match up for the Warriors to start their final push, but the Mexicans could be scratching their heads in lieu of their big first leg test against CONCACAF #1 ranked USA. This could be the turning point for Mexico's coach Eriksson and his team who will be under the gun to win in the US or else.


Final round schedule for the North, Central America, and Caribbean Zone
Wednesday 11 February Costa Rica-Honduras El Salvador-Trinidad and Tobago USA-Mexico
Saturday 28 March Mexico-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-Honduras El Salvador-USA
Wednesday 1 April Costa Rica-El Salvador USA-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-Mexico
Wednesday 3 June Costa Rica-USA
Saturday 6 June Trinidad and Tobago-Costa Rica El Salvador-Mexico USA-Honduras
Wednesday 10 June Mexico-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-El Salvador
Wednesday 12 August Honduras-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-El Salvador Mexico-USA


The top three finishing teams automatically qualify for South Africa 2010, while the fourth place team will play a South American opponent for the last CONCACAF spots.
 

Caribbean Soccer fans fasten Seat Belt for rough ride to 2010     

The third round of CONCACAF World Coup qualifying is heading into its sixth and final game, and after the surprising results of the fifth games it is recommended that all Caribbean soccer fans fasten their seat belts for what could be a very anxious and action filled landing on the evening of November 19.

 

With three of the final six spots in the CONCACAF tournament still up for grabs, the games of importance are the ones in the T&T and Jamaica groups. The outcome of the respective Group A and B games will fill the three available spots into the next round. Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala is battling it out for the last spot in group A after USA clinched the other spot and the group title with a 6-1 win over Cuba.

 

Trinidad and Tobago: However  if the Warriors performance in their 2-1 win and first ever victory over USA is any indication of things to come, I think T&T is in the driver's seat to capture the last spot of Group A due to the fact that Guatemala will have to defeat USA in the US and hope that Cuba defeats T&T in Port of Spain, to qualify ahead of the Soca Warriors.

 

One thing for certain is that Yorke and Latapy have provided the Soca Warriors with the leadership that was lacking in the team earlier in the campaign but it is my belief that coach Maturana and the TTFF can only utilize Latapy and Yorke as a quick and temporary fix to a long term problem.

 

The lingering question for T&T coach Maturana is whether Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy can continue to man the minutes they are playing and still be effective as the tournament moves deeper into the next round.

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz on the other hand seem to be ripe and ready and although the Boyz did not get the breaks at the start of their W-C qualifying campaign, I still think that Hurricane Gustav and the lack of a home game was a major hurdle for the Boyz and not the lack of leadership by fired coach Rene Simoes.

 

However one of the concerns of the Canadian Caribbean fans was that Jamaica and Canada were in the same group and also in tough company with Mexico and Honduras. Now three months later it seems like those sentiments has resurfaced since Canada and Jamaica will now have to play each other in a very critical game for the Reggae Boyz to advance into the next round.

 

Jamaica is a must win situation and to the dismay of their supporters, the Canucks seem to be enjoying their new role as spoilers after being eliminated from a 3-1 loss to Honduras in Honduras. Since then Canada has tied 2-2 with Mexico in Edmonton and forced Mexico's celebration of clinching a spot into the next round to be postponed to their next game.

 

Jamaica is favored to win the game against Canada in Kingston but the Boyz are aware that the game still has to be played and Canada cannot be taken lightly. After back to back loses to Mexico 3-0, and Honduras 2-0, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) felt it was time to move in a different direction and fired head coach Rene Simoes. John Barnes was hired to take over the coaching duties in November in time for the Boyze last game.

 

However under interim head coach Theodore Whitmore the Reggae Boyz is on a winning streak after putting together back to back 1-0 wins over both Mexico and Honduras with the luxury of the world fastest man in Usain Bolt and his Olympic teammates at "the office" to support the team. With the present success coach Whitmore assignment was extended to the end of the round.

 

While most Caribbean fans are optimistic about the Boyz chances against Canada they are extremely nervous about Mexico chances of defeating Honduras in Honduras. However should the Boyz take care of business and the cards fall in their favor, Jamaica will undoubtedly be the dark horse and the team to watch in the final round of the CONCACAF qualifiers.

 

It is for this reason that I think that the Mexico and Honduras fans are also fastening their seat belts, since Mexico has only one point to show from their last two games after winning their first three. Honduras is also coming off a lost to Jamaica which short circuit their three game winning streak.

 

Mexico has 10 points to Honduras 9 points, while the Reggae Boyz are alive and still kicking in the Group of Death with 7 points. However with only two spot available the Boyz will have  to defeat Canada and hope that Mexico defeat Honduras to have any realistic chance of advancing to the next round.

 

"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.


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 lost to Honduras 2-0 in their third game of the CONCACAF third round World Cup qualifiers.   The Reggae Boyz are in last place in Group 2 with one point after losing to Mexico 3-0 and tying with Canada in Toronto in their first two matches. 

 

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. Burrell is optimistic that the Reggae Boyz can get back on track.

 

"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.

 

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 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. Jamaica Reggae Boyz on the other hand 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 and got trounced by El Salvador 5-0, while Cuba was on the short end of a 1-0 loss to USA. As a result the Canadian Caribbean fans World Cup hopes are quarely 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.

 

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

 

Heading into the Honduras game last Saturday I though the odds balanced out since Canada had the home field advantage. But that theory was blown to bits when I arrived at Montreal's Saputo Stadium and it looked like San Pedro Sula Stadium in Honduras. There was an 8:1 advantage of Honduras supporters present and in national (blue/while) 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 celebrated the goal.

 

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

 

Radzinski lost 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 much to the delight of the pro Honduras crowd.

 

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

 

The big showdown on Wednesday will be for first place in Group 1, as Trinidad & Tobago Soca Warriors clash with USA at the Toyota Park in Chicago. Guatemala on the other hand will try to get back into the swing of the group race against Cuba in Guatemala City.

 

Costa Rica in Group 3 will try to secure a spot into the second round when they travel to play Haiti in Port-Au-Prince and El Salvador will try to keep pace against 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 continued 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.

 

Many die hard Canuck’s fans, think that the tie may come back to haunt the team since Canada did not capitalize on their territorial advantage. As a result, Jamaica managed to create set plays from several counter attacks down their flanks late in the first half to gain 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 like 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. Dero 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 by coach Mitchell reasoning behind striker Ali Gerba's absence from the starting line up or his late replacement of Rob Friend at the 87th minute of play. 

 

Headin ginto the game Ali Gerba was the second leading scorer in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and 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, the two defenses played well as reflected by the 0-0 halftime score. The big question was which team would gain the early momentum at the beginning of the second half.

The answer came no sooner than two minutes into the second half, when Julian De Guzman unleashed a 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). Jamaica equalizer occurred when Canadian goalkeeper Pat Onstad reacted late to an in swinging left side corner kick by Reggae Boyz Andrew Williams and found himself and the ball into his net at the first post.

 

With two goals in 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 both teams 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. Honduras is on the menu for Canada on September 6 in Montreal and 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 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 is in a must win situation and 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 fight for for the second spot of the group with Surinam .


 

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.

 

Soca Warriors shock Reggae Boyz in Rhythm Clash

 

VS     

Kingston: The long awaited soccer Rhythms Clash between Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors and Jamaica Reggae Boyz turned out to be a “ Soca Warriors shocker in Jamaica”.  In a game where the Reggae Boyz dominated for over 70 minutes of play, Trinidad and Tobago lived up to their Warriors image by picking up a late tempo to score two goals to secure a surprising 2-2 tie in extra time.

 

The result of the Rhythm Clash was a favorable one for the Soca Warriors and probably a blessing in disguise for the disappointed Reggae Boyz. When you factor in the inexperience of the T&T team and the sudden withdrawal of their key players, the Reggae Boyz would have to learn that the game is played for 90+ minutes and a slim 2 goal lead is erasable.

 

However from my vantage point the Reggae Boyz performed to their level of physical readiness in the first half of the game, but it could be argued that their mental toughness may be in question. Unfortunately for Jamaica coach Rene Simoes it was public knowledge that Trinidad and Tobago had a young and inexperience roster especially with the absence of Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards and Collin Samuel.

 

I am of the belief that Rene Simoes mistake had more to do with his assessment of Coach Maturana T&T team resiliency. With an attainable 2-0 half time advantage, coach Simoes replaced goalkeeper Donavan Ricketts and captain Marlon King at the break.

 

Simoes biggest mistake was replacing striker #6 Marlon King since King was the player that had the young Warriors defender in a mess with his running off the ball.  When King was in the game, the T&T defenders had no idea where he was and where he was heading. For the most part it was behind the Warriors defense to receive his passes.

 

After the early tentative minutes, the Reggae Boyz broke the game wide open with an effective and entertaining offensive display after missing a few chances. Marlon King opened the scoring for Reggae Boyz at the 34th minute on text book turn around shot after getting the inside position on his defender from the left flank.

 

The Reggae Boyz fans erupted on the goal and the show had began on the expense of a number of last minute tackles and switch coverage by the T&T defense. The Reggae Boyz fans were buzzing with excitement and licking their chops in anticipation of a Jamaica rout.

 

To add to the celebration (TFC own) Reggae Boyz right back Tyrone Marshall out muscled his opposing defender to beat goalkeeper Jan Williams to give Jamaica a 2-0 lead at the 40th minute that held to the half.

The nature of the second goal must have given Jamaica coach Simoes a false sense of security as he inserted, Deon Burton for Marlon King at halftime and Tyrone Marshall was given the captain’s armband.

 

Goalkeeper Barrett was also replaced in the Reggae Boyz net with Duwayne Kerr which in reality was a change at both ends of their defense. Although Jamaica continued their dominance at the start of the second half, their vertical game appeared to have an underlying hint of showboating which spurred the Soca Warriors to firm up in an effort not to be embarrassed.

 

 As a result T&T clawed back into the contest, and was rewarded when substitute Osei Telesford broke free on the right from a head-on pass from Roberts to sizzle a shot past goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr. The goal stunned the Reggae Boyz supporters at the “Office” who at the 74th minute mark were already leaving with what they thought was a win in the bag for Jamaica.

 

The announcement of two minutes of extra time was left as indicated by the fourth official. Lightening struck twice and the ”Office” crowd was in shock. Warriors captain Aurtis Whitley eluded a Reggae Boyz defender on a fail defensive clearance and unleashed a 25 yard left footer that deflected slightly to beat the goalkeeper into Jamaica net. The equalizer sent the small contingent of Warriors fans into a frenzy much to the disappointment of the faithful Reggae Boyz fans, and the Soca Warriors escaped the Office with a 2-2 tie.

 

At the press conference, Reggae Boyz Technical Director Simoes was under pressure and admitted “When things are not going good, it is me the coach that everybody will look at. It was my decision to make the changes... it was my decision to take out Marlon King and put in Deon Burton.

Even JFF President Burrell voiced his opinion at the press conference “I, too, am disappointed, to say the least. It was very unfortunate that we did not win the game, but when you looked carefully at what happened, you would have seen that in the first half we had our more experienced players on the pitch.

'But one has to also understand... that there are players that the coach must look at with World Cup qualifiers just around the corner in June,' Burrell said.

Meanwhile, Trinidad's assistant coach Anton Corneal was not at a lost for words as he praised his young side for a gutsy second-half performance. Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica will play Bahamas and Bermuda respectively in their World Cup qualifying game on June 14 and 21-22 in a home and away series

 

Teams:

 TRI: - 1.Jan-Michael Williams, 5.Keyeno Thomas, 2.Kern Cupid, 15.Akeem Adams (3.Akile Edwards 46th), 13.Makan Hislop, 9.Aurtis Whitley (capt), 19.Keon Daniel, 6.Khaleem Hyland, 8.Kerry Baptiste (4.Osei Telesford 59th), 10.Darryl Roberts, 11.Randi Patterson (7.Jamaal Gay 59th).

 

JAM: Donovan Ricketts (Duwayne Kerr 46th), Adrian Reid, Demar Stewart, Obrian Woodbine, Oneil Thompson (Khari Stephenson), Tyrone Marshall, Rudolph Austin, Omar Daley (Ricardo Cousins 68th), Demar Phillips (Wolry Wolfe), Marlon King (capt) (Deon Burton 46th), Luton Shelton (James Thomas).

  

A Reggae Boyz team comprising of home based players opened their seven game Brazil tour with a 1-0 win over 2nd Division Tigers of Brazil and a 2-2 tie in their second game against another second division team. The results of the game on the tour seemed to be exactly what Jamaica's Technical director Brazilian Rene Simoes was seeking out of their three-week camp in Brazil as he intends to play tougher opponents towards the end of the tour.

 

Simoes insisted that the objective of the exercise was to develop confidence and mental toughness in his players and he was reported as saying that the group of players has shown maturity and is more professional than the players he had when he arrived in Jamaica in 1994. Based on the performances of the Reggae Boyz of late there is no reason to doubt that Rene Simoes and the Reggae Boyz program may have turned the corner. Only time will tell

 

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz vs T&T Soca Warriors

As old man winter with his unwelcome early presence, delivered lots of snow at our doorsteps, the Caribbean “snow birds” are thanking the Football Federations of Jamaica (JFF) and Trinidad and Tobago (TTFF) for their promise of heat, fun and excitement during the winter months. 

 

Last Sunday the two football Federations has included a Reggae Boyz- Soca Warriors   series to their football fun packages of International friendlies in preparation for their World Cup 2010 qualifying second round campaign. The first Trinidad and Tobago’s “Soca Warriors” - Jamaica’s “Reggae Boyz” game is scheduled for the National Stadium in Kingston on March 26.

 

 According to TTFF President Oliver Camps “The game comes at an ideal time as both countries will be in the process of getting prepared for the start of their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaigns. We always have a good rivalry with Jamaica and I expect that we will have a team inclusive of our best players to put on a good showing on the day,” Camps told TTFF Media on Sunday. Jamaica’s Football Federation President Horace Burrell reinforced Camps sentiment and is anticipating that the game would serve well to assist his country’s build up program for the 2010 campaign.

 

 The Football Federations pounced on the opportunity to fine tune their squad for their second round scheduled in June, 2008 after both T&T and Jamaica received a first round bye into the tournament. Both teams rosters are expected to have their overseas-based professionals and for this game it is a given that player motivation would not be a factor for the “Caribbean Rhythms Clash”.

 

 However one should be aware that the stakes of this game is only bragging rights and the outright winner to the Jamaica–T&T series would have to continue to work hard to maintain their emotional lift. The date of the first Reggae Boyz–Soca Warriors game (March 26) is a FIFA date and as such the second leg of the first round of World Cup qualifiers will be playing on the same day.

 

 The Jamaica-T&T rivalry is old hat for Jamaica new head coach Simoes. As coach of Jamaica he tied a friendly 0-0 against T&T during his campaign to France World Cup in 1998 with the Reggae Boyz's. Simoes lost to Jamaica 2-1 when he was head coach of Trinidad and Tobago in the closing stages of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. Both games were played at the Queen’s Park Oval. On the flipside T&T head coach Wim Rijsbergen can learn from this experience. Simoes will officially begin his duties with the JFF on January 5.  

 

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago 2010 campaign would end in the preliminary phase of the World Cup qualifiers, if T&T does not get past the winner of the Bermuda and Cayman Islands series and Jamaica does not get past the winner of the Bahamas/British Virgin Islands in June. The first round will be played on February 6 and March 26.  

T&T and Jamaica second round home and away games are on June 14 and June 21. Once through to the third round (semi-final stage), T&T could conceivably play against the United States, Cuba and Guatemala. If the second round is favorable for Jamaica they could potentially be in the group of death with Canada, Honduras and Mexico providing there are no upsets. 

 

Prior to the “Caribbean Rhythms Clash” between the Reggae Boyz and the Soca Warriors, Jamaica will be prancing on Ash Wednesday February 6 at Kingston National Stadium against Costa Rica while T&T will be having their Carnival last lap at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain against Guadeloupe on the same Ash Wednesday. 

 

The Reggae Boyz technical director René Simoes returned to Jamaica to start official duty in the company of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell on last weekend.

 

René Simoes tenure with the JFF would be for the duration of three-years and his duties as Technical Director includes all the national football teams, including the female teams. However Burrell revealed that Simoes was not the head coach of the Reggae Boyz and he was quite frank when he implied that “Jamaica simply cannot afford that”.  

 

Simoes is expected to utilize Chico Santos, the Brazilian coach he returned to Jamaica in the company of, and Theodore Whitmore as his assistant coach.  Whitmore coach Jamaica to two consecutive international friendly wins before Simoes appointment.

 

Jamaica Football turning the corner

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago qualify to CONCACAF Women’s Olympic

Jamaica joined Trinidad & Tobago into the six- team Qualification Final Round of the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic as the two Caribbean qualified for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Tournament, The CONCACAF Tournament, which will run from 2-13 April, include the defending champion, USA along with North Zone representatives Canada and Mexico, along with Central American qualifier Costa Rica with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago rounding of the field. The tournament will be played in Chihuahua, Mexico, from April 2 to13.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz advanced to the final round of 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualification after defeating host Cuba 3-0 on aggregate in Havana in the Caribbean Second Round. The Reggae Girlz won the first match 1:0 at the Estadio Pedro Marrero and Jamaica completed the two-game sweep of Cuba with a 2:0 triumph in the second-game at the same venue on Saturday. The Reggae Girlz has now played 450 minutes and has not conceded a goal and has outscored their Caribbean opponents 27-0 in CONCACAF qualification.

 

Jamaica Football

Jamaica Reggae Boyz and Jamaica Harbourview FC post monumental victories during the last week. Harbour View defeated Joe Public of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro-League 2-1 in the final of the Caribbean Football Union Club championship to secure a spot in the 2008 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.

In other action the Reggae Boyz defeated Guatemala  and El Salvador 2-0 and 3-0 respectively in their first International matches under  interim head coach Theodore Whitmore. The wins seemed to send a signal that Jamaica football could be on the rise under Horace Burrell the new leader in Horace Burrell as President, and their new interim coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore.

 

In the El Salvador the Reggae Boyz had a two goal performance from team captain Ricardo Gardner before  an estimated 20,000 enthused fans.  In the second game Jamaica defended two first half goals by Ricardo Fuller and Omar Daley scored in the 10th and 22nd minute on a wet and heavy field in Kingston. It should be noted that Toronto FC’s Tyrone played the full 90 minutes for Jamaica in the two game in the defensive midfielder position.

 

Soccer Salute in Toronto 2006  

                              Invitational  vs     Jamaica Flag  Invitational    
Soccer Salute 2006 was played before a large enthusiastic crowd at Allan Lamport Stadium in Toronto last Sunday with Trinidad and Tobago defeating Jamaica 1-0 on a goal scored by Kevin Jeffery in the 75th minute of play. After the two teams warmed up the atmosphere was very electrifying when the fans of the two teams started singing, chanting and making noise with anything in their possession in anticipation of the friendly rivalry.

 

For the promoters this must have been a welcomed change compared to earlier reports that some people could have left the venue after it was alleged that they were misinformed the time of the game but later found out that the time of the featured Invitational game (of the three games scheduled) was 7pm. If this was the case then unfortunately those people would have missed a level of soccer that has not been seen in the Caribbean community for quite some time.

  
The game started at a fast pace which favored the youthful T&T Invitational team who strung together several combinations of passes, while running into spaces to utilize the enormous size of the Lamport field. However their impressive start was stalled somewhat by the solid play of the Jamaican defense that shutdown their early advances without giving T&T a shot on their net.


At that point in the game the Jamaican midfielders lead by Reggae Boyz superstar Theodore Whitmore systematically took control of the game but as a payback they found the Trinidad and Tobago defense also were a tough bunch although the Jamaican attacks were potentially more dangerous due to their close proximity to the Trinidad net.  The Jamaicans however could not capitalize on their territorial advantage due to a high percentage of their shots going high and wide or their lacked of awareness or aggressiveness around the goal area. 


T&T Invitational withstood the pressure and showed the characteristics of the real Soca Warriors by not only staying competitive but battling back to have more direct chances on goals from headers from crosses that forced Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Barrett to come up with brilliant saves. On the flipside the dominant Reggae Boyz Invitational team had only a couple of direct shots on net: One a classic Whitmore low curving free kick that forced goalkeeper Ross Russell to make a full extension save to push the ball around the post. Although the half ended goalless the game was full with excitement and the level of play was definitely at International football/soccer standard. The large crowd was full with enthusiasm and the supporters of the teams were thrilled with their moments of scoring anxieties mixed with defensive scares.


Heading into the second half the game was delayed for over half an hour due to a lengthy halftime show. Needless to say this was not a popular decision with the players of both teams. The delay seemed to affect the Jamaica team as the second half started slowly with T&T having the first possession and from the touch off T&T seemed a little more settled after withstanding the dominant play of the Jamaican team in the latter stages of the first half.  T&T was more deliberate in their build up and play selections which balanced of the run of play and time of possession.  However although the game was more competitive  the slow precision build up of the Jamaican team could not be flawed or matched.

 

From my vantage point as T&T coach our defense had to be patient and continue to work hard to utilize the age advantage and cut down the space of Jamaica midfielders. As the game progress to the later stages  Reggae Boyz goal keeper Warren Barrett was put to the test and was forced to make at least three big stops to keep his team in the game. In the meantime the Jamaican team continued to hedge goal wards but without the urgency needed to capitalize on their potential scoring chances.

 

In the end the T&T Invitational team perseverance was rewarded when the Jamaica Invitational defense was caught out of position as T&T midfielder Kevin Jeffery broke free all alone on goalkeeper Barrett to tap in a bouncing ball over the keeper right shoulder into the goal. The T&T supporters went into a World Cup frenzy and with that momentum T&T created a few more scoring opportunities but found goalkeeper Barrett a difficult man to negotiate around whenever his defense went shopping for the tying goal.


After the game the Soccer Salute 2006 Challenge Trophy was presented by Jamaican Consulate General Mrs. Annemarie Bonner to the T&T Invitational team captain, goalkeeper Ross Russell, while the runner up trophy was presented to the Jamaican Invitational captain goalkeeper Warren Barrett by the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate General Mr. Michael Lashley. Soccer Salute closed off with some music and the mingling of the players of both teams and their fans.  
Jamaica Invitational Team: Warren Barrett (Capt), Markino Gillins, Theodore Whitmore, Winston Griffith, Daniel Ricketts, Byron Earle, Trevor Gragam, Gladstone Richards, Jeffrey Caine, Kevin Rose, Ronald Nicholas, George Salesman, Mario Osbourne, Kevin Mc Intosh, Andre Steward. Coach: Winston Duhaney
T&T Invitational Team: *Ross Russell (Capt), *Kwesi Smith, *Kevon Carter, Claude Adams, Dexter Pacheco, *Devorn Jorsline, *Conrad Smith, *Christopher Durity, Steve Salim, *Sherron Joseph, Kevin Jeffery, Rene Martin, Todd Oliver, Henry John, Marcus Marshall, Kerry Llewellyn. Coach: Aldwyn McGill, Asst: Dixon Modeste
*Denotes appearance for national team and various levels (caps)


Caribbean Football in Toronto
The hype in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in the sunmmer of 2006 was in connection with the upcoming game between a visiting Trinidad and Tobago Invitational team and a visiting Jamaican Invitational team at Allan Lamport Stadium in downtown Toronto. The anxiety and questions surrounding the game was due to the popularity of the Soca Warriors and the demand for their appearance after their spirited performance as the underdog against Sweden and England.

 

Therefore everyone assumed that the visiting T&T Invitational team was the Soca Warriors team which played in Germany . However since everyone was believing the hype, the promoter/s of the Soccer Salute event had to attend radio shows to inform the public that the Invitational T&T team would not be the real Soca Warriors.


With the complications surrounding the T&T Invitational team status and as the assigned coach of the T&T Invitational team my conditions of involvement was quite simple. If the Invitational team consisted of visiting players from Trinidad and Tobago that had national team (caps) then that would have been satisfactory.
In regards to the Jamaican Invitational team it was reported that the team would have comprised of players that were popular names from the past Reggae Boyz teams. To add to the excitement, the 2006 Soccer Salute  program was packed with entertainment and was promoted to be a display of the true reflection of the cultures of Toronto Caribbean Community.
 

Jamaica Harbour View CFU Champions 2007             

Jamaica Harbour View FC has secured their place in the 2008 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup after they won the (CFU) Club Champions 2007 over Joe Public of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro- League 2-1 in the CFU final at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Tunapuna, Trinidad.

Joe Public the “Eastern Lions” set the tone of the game as they opened the scoring at the 16th minute mark on a goal scored by Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kerry Baptiste.

 

However Harbourview would have none of that and returned the favour two fold with goals by Fabian Taylor and Kavin Bryan at the 21st and 23rd minute to head into half time.


In the second half the teams missed scoring opportunities on both ends of the field in a game where Harbour View defended well and held on to win with 10 men, after their captain Christopher Harvey was sent off in the 56th minute for his second yellow card.                                                                                                                                               
The CFU championship comprises of champion teams of the previous year which represent their respective country and the win gives Harbour View its second CFU title in three years. In 2004 Harbour View defeated compatriots Tivoli Gardens 3-2 on aggregate in the finals and although they lost to W-Connection of Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 CFU final, this year Harbour View is making a case that they may be the best or one of the best team in the Caribbean in recent

 

The 2007 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship was played with Trinidad and Tobago as the host site while in the past the tournament was played on a home and away basis. The adoption of a host site was introduced due to the financial losses of the teams under the home and away format. Harbour View seemed destine after they defeated CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad in the semi finals on penalty kicks.

The Harbour View-Jabloteh game was the first of the semi final double header as the teams played scoreless and fought tooth and nail up to the end of the thirty minutes of extra time. Although at the end of games penalty gives the underdog a better chance in this game the teams were even and toe to toe and stuck together like glue. The teams were inseparable after the mandatory five penalty kicks as they both perfect from the spot.

 

However someone had to loose and when Jabloteh’s Carlton Murray penalty hit the upright when Harbour View midfielder Keith Kelly, who only two season ago played for San Juan Jabloteh, scored the winning kick to give his team a 10-9 win to advance to the CFU final.
Harbour View will now join defending title-holders Pachuca CF of Mexico, DC United of the United States, CD Motagua of Honduras, Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa and a club from Mexico, the US and Central America to round off the teams for the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup

 

Jamaica defeat Canada in rematch

 Jamaica Reggae Boyz regrouped to defeat Canada 2-1 in their rematch game played at the National Stadium in Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz lost to Canada 1-0 in Montreal Canada in September, and was later eliminated from the Digicel Cup after suffering a surprising 2-1 lost to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and their inability to score the 3 goals needed in their 2-0 win over Haiti. Jamaica failure to advance in the Digicel competition also put them out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007 tournament.

 

 In the rematch game against Canada, the Reggae Boyz mustered enough offense to come from behind to win unlike their first game The Boyz fell behind in the 9th minute of play on a goal scored by Canada’s midfielder Tomasz Radzinski but to their credit they kept their composure and slowly clawed their way back into the game. They were rewarded when they caught Canada’s defense napping and score two goals in quick succession. The goals were scored by Luton Shelton and Demar Phillips at the 35 and 38 minute respectively. The rest of the game was a reverse in the roles that the two teams played in their first meeting in Montreal. This rematch ended with Canada pushing forward in search of the tying goal with no time left.

 

This was a huge win for the Reggae Boyz heading into their next International friendly against Peru  on November 15 at the National Stadium in Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz offense seemed to be getting on track, but their defense needs to keep opponents off the scoreboard on a regular basis to allow their offense the luxury of a lead.  The defense played well in the second half to shut down Canada’s aggressive offense and secure the win.

 

Jamaica - Richard McCallum, Damion Stewart, Oneil Thompson (Shavar Thomas 46th), Shane Crawford (Demar Phillips 26th), Xavean Virgo, Khari Stephenson (Fabian Davis 88th), Omar Daley, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Jermaine Hue, Luton Shelton (Teafore Bennett 73rd), Ricardo Fuller.

Canada - Kenny Stamatopoulos, Kevin McKenna, Marco Reda, Patrice Bernier (Ali Gerba 77th), Paul Stalteri, Julian de Guzman (Martin Nash 58th), Tomasz Radzinski, Rob Friend, Mike Klukowski (Gabe Gervias 24th, Adam Braz 92nd), Atiba Hutchinson, Josh Simpson

 

        Canada defeat Jamaica  

Canada defeated Jamaica 1-0 at the Claude-Robillard Stadium in Montreal, on a goal scored by striker Rob Friend in the 41 minute of play. The large crowd (estimated at 6,500) was treated to a well played game as Canada controlled the first half while Jamaica controlled the second.

 

The game was a typical meeting of the two countries whose results were dead even in their 11 encounters with each team with 5 wins and one tie. In the early stages of the game Jamaica was on the defensive while Canada systematically moved the ball around to create scoring chances. Canada’s best scoring opportunity was from a volley shot by #10 Rob Friend at the 10 minute of the first half. He received a Julian De Guzman cross ball just behind the Jamaican defense but hurried his shot which cause the ball to raise high over the crossbar.

 

Friend persistence was rewarded just before the half when he capitalized on a blunder by Jamaican goalkeeper Shawn Sawyers when the keeper miss judged a cross ball to allow Friend to score a neat header that give Canada a 1-0 halftime lead The second half started with the teams more patient and deliberate in constructing and executing their plays. The Reggae Boyz seemed more determined to explore Canada weaknesses by using their elusiveness players in isolated situations. Reggae Boyz #7 Jamal Campbell seemed to be the target and the designated destroyer with his crafty moves. Campbell success created excitement for the crowd and attracted two Canadian defenders every time he had possession of the ball.

This situation created extra space for his teammates as # 5 O’Neil Thompson was allowed him to take controlled of the game. The last 15 minutes of the game was a good test for the Canadian team defensively and was it not for several brilliant saves made by Canada goalkeeper Greg Sutton the out come of the game could have be different as Canada secured the 1-0 victory

The game was the first for Canadian interim Head Coach Stephen Hart, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and the rematch is scheduled for October 8 in Kingston, Jamaica. Judging by the intensity of this game it is safe to say that the rematch in Kingston should produce more than one goal.

Caribbean  International Football Update

 Canadian Flag.       Jamaica Flag        

Caribbean and Canadian football /soccer fans will be getting a good taste of the best in Caribbean football both locally and overseas. Last Sunday August 13 visiting Harbourview FC from the Jamaican Professional Football League defeated Serbian White Eagles of the Canadian Soccer League International Division 1-0 by virtue of a penalty kick in the 60th minute. It was a well played game but the pro Jamaican crowd seemed a little disappointed in the play of Harbour View in the early part of the game. The game was played at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke, the home field of the Serbian White Eagles who is in their first year in the Canadian Soccer League and attracting large crowds with their offense output of over 4 goals a game.

  The Serbians seemed destined to blow the game wide open after having had full control of the first half. The stubborn Harbour view defense was not willing to give up any easy goals or else the game could have been totally one sided. The Serbians were very disappointed not to be leading at the half as a result and a very interesting second half was anticipated.

Harbour View started the second half with more intensity and a noticeable improvement in their offensive play. They were rewarded with a penalty kick at the 15 minute mark after one of the Serbian defenders misdirected a hard shot with his hand.  Harbourview converted the penalty and the Serbs kept up the offensive pressure in a see saw battle to the end. Harbour View defense was the difference and they managed to hold on to secure the 1-0 victory. The Serbian are undefeated in CSL play this season thus far and their only lost was at the hands of the Toronto Lynx of the USL in the Canada Cup KO Tournament on penalty kicks after the game was tied 2-2 after overtime.

Update: On August 27 a visiting Jamaica Invitational team will play a visiting Trinidad Invitational team as part of the Soccer Salute 2006 Caribbean celebrations at Allan Lamport Stadium to recognize the two countries accomplishment on the world football scene. There are also live performances by visiting Jamaican reggae and Trinidadian soca artists scheduled as part of the event.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz Tie with USA

 

vs 

April 12, 2006

Jamaica Reggae Boyz breathes a sigh of relief after the final whistle of their international game with their CONCACAF rivals USA at the SAS Soccer Park, Cary, North Carolina. With upcoming games against England on June 3 and Canada on September 4 and October 4, the Reggae Boyz were hoping to start their campaign on a winning note and surprise the Americans with what would have been a historic moment having never beaten USA.

The Boyz must have felt that the day had come when at the fourth minute mark Teofore Bennett pick up a Jermaine Hue pass and outran the USA defense to beat goalkeeper Tony Meola with a neat placement to give Jamaica a 1-0 lead. The goal seem to wake up the favored USA team and they began to turn up the heat on Jamaica pressuring the Reggae Boyz defense who was playing well up to that point in the game.

 USA continued to press forward running into spaces at will and scored in the 25th minute of the first half when Ben Olsen received a pass in the area and drove home a low shot under goalkeeper Ricketts to tie the game. The run of play balance off somewhat and the Reggae Boyz countered well down the right flank, putting over some dangerous crosses that created good scoring opportunities.

The USA team continued their attacking style of play in the second half and forced Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to make an acrobatic save to tip Chris Albright's header over the cross bar.

The game was interesting until whole scale substitutions were made for the coaches to take a look at their player on the bench. Towards the latter part of the game USA took control and pressed forward for the winner but the Reggae Boyz defense maintained their composure and withstood the pressure to earn a hard fought 1-1 tie. The Reggae Boyz will have to wait for the next meeting of the two teams to change their 9-0-8 winless streak against USA.

TEAMS: Jamaica - Donovan Ricketts, Claude Davis (Demar Stewart 30th), Damion Stewart, Omar Daley, Garfield Reid, Khari Stephenson (Oneil Thompson 71st), Jermaine Hue, Jason Morrison, (Dane Richards 60th) Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Fabian Dawkins 61st), Ryan Johnson Jermaine Johnson 71st), Teofore Bennett (Newton Sterling 61st). Subs not used: S Sawyers

Booked: Daley (34th)
USA - Tony Meola, Frankie Hejduk, Chris Albright, Landon Donovan, Pat Noonan (John O'Brien 67th), Ben Olsen, Josh Wolff (Eddie Johnson 45th), Steve Ralston (Clint Demsey 55th), Taylor Twellman (Brian Ching 45th), Eddie Pope, Pablo Matsroeni.

Subs not used: M Reis, N Garcia, K Zavagnin,
Booked: Pope (20th)

 

Stay tuned for Portmore Utd vs Metro Lions game summary

 


 

 

 

                       

                        

 

 

 
 

 

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