Though slighted disappointed with the outcome of their opening loss to Brazil, Jamaica’s Head coach Hubert Busby took heart from aspects of his senior Reggae Girlz performance, which he is hoping they can build on to prove even more competitive in the second contest on Tuesday.

Out for the first time together in almost nine months, the core group of players that held Brazil to a goalless stalemate at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup, expectedly lacked cohesiveness and were simply outclassed by the South Americans, who romped to a 4-0 win in Saturday’s first encounter at the Arena de Pernambuco in Recife.

The iconic Marta led her team with a brace in the 64th and 90th minutes, while Adriana (26th), and a 38th-minute own-goal by Chantelle Swaby, propelled Brazil to a comfortable win.

However, with the proverbial rust now shaken, Busby, who didn’t have experienced defender Allyson Swaby and winger Jody Brown available for the first game, is anticipating a more fluid showing in the second encounter, with or without the duo as uncertainty surrounds their fitness for the decisive contest at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.

Kickoff is 5:00pm Jamaica time.

Among the positives from the first contest was the fact that the Girlz did manage to show glimpses of their attacking prowess and even got the ball in the net from a corner early on, but it was ruled out for a foul, as Kayla McKenna nudged Brazil's custodian in an aerial challenge for possession. Besides that, only stand-in captain Deneisha Blackwood and goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer really showed any real fight in Jamaica's backline.

“Heading into the game, we’re looking to improve on all aspects of the game, and more importantly not just the result, which is the most important thing, but really look to improve our overall team performance,” Busby said in a pre-game interview.

“Allyson and Jody will be a little bit of game time decisions. Obviously, both players trained (on Monday), which is a positive sign, so we'll check in on them and decide where we go from there. It's important that we're not risking them because some of these players are getting ready to go into preseason, so their health and safety and overall well-being is important. So while we would love to have them as we seek to build on the positives of the first game, we won’t risk it if they are not ready,” he added.

As he reflected on, and assessed Saturday’s defeat, Busby again stressed the importance of ball possession, particularly when absorbing pressure defensively, and pointed to that as one element of their game in which he is expecting mark improvements.

“Football is a game of rhythm and moments, and we were never quite able to get into our rhythm or moments because we're always defending, and so one of the things we really need to work on going forward is our ability to hold up the ball up front and allow for us to get out as a group,” Busby reasoned.

“Once we do that, then we can then obviously look to attack a little bit more in numbers, which is something that is a part of our playing model and some of the principles that we try to implement. So we just need to rekindle the team’s understanding and chemistry and just build on that going forward,” he ended.

Mount Pleasant Football Club, the 2023 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions, has announced that the contracts of head coach Theodore Whitmore and his technical staff will not be renewed. The club is set to embark on a new direction that aligns Mount Pleasant Academy with the Football Club.

Mount Pleasant announced that the contracts of Whitmore and his staff will expire on July 31, 2024. In a statement, the club cited the need for a new direction as the reason for the change.

"The club is embarking on a new direction which synchronizes Mount Pleasant Academy and Mount Pleasant Football Club," the statement read. "Mount Pleasant will shortly announce a new technical team to chart the course of the club. The club is committed to achieving all the sporting goals and objectives entering this new phase and new direction."

Whitmore, who joined Mount Pleasant in July 2022, led the team to its first JPL title last year, triumphing over Cavalier 2-1 in the finals. His tenure followed his departure from the national senior men's football team in December 2021.

Mount Pleasant relinquished their title when they lost to Cavalier 3-4 on penalties in the 2024 final.

Following the success in 2023, an elated owner Peter Goule told Sportsmax.TV highlighted the club's long-term vision. "We are pretty excited, we have put a lot of work into the academy and the platform is well and truly set to accomplish all that we want to. It will take a few years to build a complete institution, but we have people willing to come along and help us to move to another level, so we firmly believe we will be able to get there and put Jamaica’s football on the map the real way," he said then.

It has now become apparent that Coach Whitmore will not be part of that vision.

"The club wishes to express profound gratitude to Coach Whitmore and his technical team for their leadership over the past two seasons which brought glory and success to the club. Their invaluable contribution has seen Mount Pleasant Football Academy make an indelible mark in the Jamaica Premier League and in the parish of St Ann. We wish them all the best in their endeavours going forward."

Whitmore's departure marks a significant change for Mount Pleasant as they look to build on their recent success and continue their development both on and off the pitch.

 

 

 

Arnett Gardens forward Fabian Reid is excited for the chance to help the Reggae Boyz qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

On the back of a Jamaica Premier League season that saw him score 13 goals in 18 appearances, the 32-year-old has been included in Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson’s squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against The Dominican Republic and Dominica.

The team will host Dom Rep on June 6 before facing Dominica away three days later.

“It feels good to be in camp with the boys for these big games. It’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” Reid said in an interview on Monday.

“I feel excited because it is a dream for me to play in World Cup Qualifying and being my country to the World Cup,” he added.

Reid made seven appearances for the Reggae Boyz from 2017-2018, scoring three goals. All those appearances came in friendlies.

After six years out of the mix, he made his return to the Reggae Boyz squad in a pair of friendlies against the Soca Warriors at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in March, providing the assist for Kaheim Dixon’s game-winning goal in the first encounter.

“To be back is nice. We did a good job in the away games against Trinidad. If we can take it a game at a time it would be good for us,” Reid said before reiterating the importance of the upcoming games.

“This is a big one so we have to get it together because we really want to qualify. I think this is the right time now because, like I said, I’ve always dreamed to bring Jamaica to the World Cup. Now we have the chance to deliver for the country,” he added.

 

In a remarkable display of resilience, Olympic and World Championship finalist Candice McLeod finished eighth in the 400m at the Racer’s Grand Prix on Saturday night. This marked her season debut, clocking in at 55.59, a significant distance from her personal best of 49.51 set at the same venue in 2021. The race was won by Stacey-Ann Williams in 50.86, with the USA’s Lynna Irby-Jackson finishing second in 51.05, and Charokee Young third in 51.86.

McLeod, a 27-year-old two-time World Championship 4x400m relay silver medalist, saw this performance as a personal triumph. Just a few months ago, she was unable to walk and had to undergo knee surgery on March 22, which significantly disrupted her training regimen.

“There wasn’t much to expect, to be honest. Sadly, I did knee surgery on March 22, so I really wasn’t expecting too much because it’s been just two months including rehab and everything, I really just started track work,” McLeod told Sportsmax.TV after the race. “It’s not something I want as an athlete but it is what it is and we have to work with it.”

The knee issue had been a persistent problem for McLeod, and the surgery became inevitable when she found herself unable to walk. Despite the setback, McLeod remains positive about her progress. “I am taking it step by step. I have a great support team. The challenge is more tolerable because I accept that I had to do surgery and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t say I was sad about it but, to be honest, life goes on,” she shared.

 

When asked about her readiness for the upcoming national championships in four weeks, McLeod responded with cautious optimism. “The objective this season is to see where it takes me. I will just come out and do what I have to do each and every time and then we see where it goes.”

Reflecting on the difficulties she faced, McLeod emphasized the frustration of being unable to train and compete. “The difficulty was not being able to compete; the difficulty was not training because if you’re not training you won’t be able to compete. I was not training to the best of my ability but I am training every day, I just started running two weeks ago so to be out here running on the track is something good, to me.”

McLeod's journey back to the track is a testament to her determination and resilience. Her performance at the Racer’s Grand Prix may not have been her best, but considering the circumstances, it was nothing short of a triumph. As she continues her recovery and training, McLeod's focus remains on taking each day as it comes, with hopes of returning to peak form in the near future.

Lionel Messi heads off to Copa America with Argentina after starring once again in MLS, with Jordi Alba calling on Inter Miami to battle in the forward's absence.

Former Barcelona forward Messi made MLS history on Sunday, reaching 25 goal contributions in just 12 appearances this term to shatter the previous fastest record held by Carlos Vela (16 in 2019).

Messi was on target in the 3-3 draw with St. Louis City, while Alba – who assisted Miami's first two goals – salvaged a point at Chase Stadium with a late leveller in a thrilling contest.

Yet Gerardo Martino will not have Messi to call upon for the foreseeable future, as the legendary attacker prepares for Argentina's Copa title defence.

"Knowing the player that he is for us, it's hard, but the team will continue to compete as much as possible, and that will be noticed," Alba said of Messi's absence. 

"It's an important absence for us, but we hope he does well in Copa America, we hope he has a great tournament and joins us again when it's time.

"If that's after the final, well – but in the meantime, the team will continue to fight and play."

The 2024 Copa runs from June 20 to July 14, with Inter also potentially losing players to the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris at the end of next month.

Martino remains aware of the availability issues that could follow for the Eastern Conference leaders, though Messi leaves with Miami's well wishes.

"In today's game, Leo was practically responsible next to Jordi for the participation of the attack," the Miami head coach said.

"He was involved creating chances, he insisted throughout the game. He finished the game well – and now will do what has corresponded to him his whole life, which is play for Argentina."

Argentina face Ecuador and Guatemala in warm-up fixtures before opening their Copa defence against Canada on June 21.

Lionel Messi achieved an unprecedented MLS feat on Sunday but his heroics, and a star Jordi Alba performance, could not drag Inter Miami past St. Louis City in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

The Argentina and Barcelona great levelled proceedings after Chris Durkin's early opener, taking Messi to 25 goal contributions this term in just 12 MLS appearances – shattering the previous record by Carlos Vela.

Indiana Vassilev edged the visitors back ahead before Luis Suarez restored parity on the stroke of half-time at Miami's Chase Stadium.

Gerardo Martino's side fell behind again after Suarez turned into his own net but Alba, who assisted Miami's first two goals, saved the day with an 85th-minute equaliser to salvage a point.

The draw left Miami top of the Eastern Conference by two points but second-placed FC Cincinnati have two games in hand over Martino's star-studded line-up.

Meanwhile, St. Louis remain 11th in the Western Conference but just three points adrift of ninth-placed Portland Timbers having played two games fewer.

Data Debrief: Messi history in MLS

Having shattered records across historic spells with Barcelona and Argentina, Messi now has another MLS achievement on his sparkling resume.

Messi became the fastest player to 25 goal contributions in an MLS season, recording 12 goals and 13 assists to surpass the previous record established by Vela in 2019 (16 games, four more than Messi).

World Under-20 record holder Jaydon Hibbert produced a world leading 17.75m to win the triple jump at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Hibbert opened his competition with 16.45m in the first round before going out to 17.14m in the second round, giving the National Stadium crowd a sign of things to come.

The third round saw him produce a then-meet record of 17.30m before, in round four, he produced a stadium record and world leading 17.75m to secure the victory.

O’Brien Wasome produced 16.64m for second while Jordan Scott was third with 16.06m.

“I was satisfied with the third and fourth jump of the series,” Hibbert said after the competition.

Oblique Seville and Julien Alfred produced a pair of scintillating performances to claim the 100m titles at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Seville produced a personal best and world leading 9.82 to claim the men’s race ahead of American World champion Noah Lyles and Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala.

Lyles’s time in second was a season’s best 9.85 while Omanyala ran 10.02 in third.

“I came out here in front of my Jamaican fans looking for a personal best and to get it today means a lot to me,” Seville said after the race.

“I just came out here to deliver. You’re always going to have ups and downs with the wind but you just have to run through it,” he added.

“As long as I’m healthy, expect good things,” was Seville’s response when asked about what fans can expect from him at Jamaica’s Olympic trials set for June 27-30.

In the women’s equivalent, St. Lucian World Indoor champion Julien Alfred sped to a personal best and meet record 10.78 to win ahead of Krystal Sloley who broke 11 seconds for the first time with 10.99 in second and Shashalee Forbes who ran a season’s best 11.05 in third.

Alfred says she didn’t expect to run that fast.

“I wanted to come out here and just work on execution. I didn’t expect that time and that’s why I was smiling so much,” she said.

 

Reigning Jamaican national champion Traves Smikle took the win in the men’s discus throw at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Smikle, a five-time national champion, produced 65.65m to win ahead of Samoa’s Alex Rose who threw 65.02m and American Reggie Jagers III who threw 64.64m.

Despite the win, Smikle admitted that his performance wasn’t up to his usual world class standards.

“I wasn’t my best today based on my standard and how I know I am but, at the same time, I’m in a competition where I have to go out there and do it, I’m competing against some of the best in the world and I am in my home town so I had to deliver,” Smikle said.

Lanae-Tava Thomas looked impressive on her way to a new personal best to win the 200m title at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

The 23-year-old produced 22.36, bettering her previous lifetime best 22.38 done in 2023, to win ahead of fellow Jamaicans Ashanti Moore who ran a season’s best 22.74 in second and Jodean Williams who ran 22.95, also a season’s best.

Her coach Edrick Floreal previously told SportsMax.tv earlier this season that he believes Thomas can run as fast as 21.7 this season.

“He knows. Even if I don’t believe I can do it, if he says I can do it I’m stepping on the track and I’m going to do it,” Thomas said when asked about that prediction after the race.

“All my coach told me to come here and do was execute the first 150, and I did that and I ended up finishing as strong as I could so that makes me know that, the last 50, all I needed to do was execute the last 50 to dominate the race,” she added.

The men’s equivalent saw Trinidadian World Championship bronze medallist Jereem Richards run 20.13 to take the win ahead of Nigeria’s Udodi Onwuzurike (20.27) and Jamaica’s Bryan Levell who ran a season’s best 20.48 in third.

Richards, who has competed in both the 200m and 400m this season, says he has yet to decide on which event he will focus on in Paris.

“I’m just going to run both events throughout the season and see which is the best one. As late as possible, I will make my pick,” he said.

Richards says his plan was to use his 400m strength to outlast his competitors.

“Udodi is my training partner. I know he’s very fast but I know I’m very strong right no too. I just tried my best to stay relaxed even though somebody tried to pull away from me. I could slowly see my speed getting there so I’m excited for what the rest of the season holds,” Richards added.

Jamaican Stacey-Ann Williams and Nigerian Emmanuel Bamidele emerged victorious in the women’s and men’s 400m, respectively, at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Williams reeled in American Lynna Irby-Jackson in the final stages of the race to win in 50.86. Irby-Jackson’s time in second was 51.05 while Charokee Young was third in 51.86.

“It has been a season of many ups and downs so to get the win tonight, it feels pretty good. I’m excited about the time. It’s a stepping stone to national trials,” Williams said after the race.

Williams says there are still things she needs to work on before she can compete with the top runners in the world.

“There’s always things to work on. The times for the other women are way ahead and I feel like I want to be where they are so I have so many things to work on going forward,” she said.

The men’s equivalent was won by Nigeria’s Bamidele, the 2023 NCAA 400m champion, in 45.49, narrowly ahead of reigning national 400m hurdles champion Roshawn Clarke who ran a season’s best 45.57 in second and Zandrion Barnes who ran 45.62 for third.

“I think the preparation for me is the same. I have the same mindset; the same goals. I’m trying to get better every single day,” Bamidele said after the race.

“I’m trying to learn from my mistakes in every race. I’m hoping to break my personal best before the end of the season,” he added.

For the second year in a row, Shiann Salmon took top spot in the women’s 400m hurdles at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Salmon, a silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, produced 55.41 to win on Saturday ahead of 2015 World Championship bronze medallist Cassandra Tate (55.60) and 2017 Jamaican national champion Ronda Whyte who ran a season’s best 56.19.

“I’m very happy. The conditions were not as I expected them but I came out here and I did the best that I could with it,” Salmon said after the race.

“It was much windier than I expected it to be but my aim was to win and I did just that so I’m pleased," Salmon added.

Heading into the Jamaican trials from June 27-30, Salmon says she is where she wants to be at this point in the season.

“I’m definitely where I’m supposed to be. I’ve already done 54.2 this season and it’s the fastest I’ve ever gone before trials. Trials are about three weeks away and I’m ready,” she said.

Trinidad & Tobago’s National Women’s Football Team defeated hosts Curacao 3-1 to remain unbeaten in the Caribbean Queen's Friendly Tournament which continued at the Stadion Rignaal ‘Jean’ Francisca, Willemstad on Thursday.

The Trinidadians were given a positive start through goals from senior team debutants Sonia Lamarre and Cherina Steele in the ninth and 14th minutes, respectively, before Curacao pulled one back in the 45th off a corner kick to cut the lead in half heading into the break.

Lille full-back Kedie Johnson restored the visitors' two-goal lead twenty minutes into the second half.

“Very happy with the result, not so much the football,” said T&T Head coach Richard Hood said after Thursday’s win.

Important to note, this game came just a day after they secured a 2-1 win over Aruba at the same venue.

“I thought it was really important that we pulled off a victory tonight given the physical conditioning of the girls. We saw tonight all our senior players struggled, having played 90 minutes last evening (Wednesday night) as well and again on turf which adds to the difficulty,” Hood said.

“The effort from the girls was tremendous and I am really happy with that. They showed a lot of resilience although they were very much dead on their legs. I thought it was really important that we were able to score three quality goals tonight, given our fatigued state,” he added.

Curacao's tactics forced the Trinidadians to play a style they weren't expecting and Hood gave his team credit for adjusting well.

“They forced us to run more than we would have liked and they played a lot of long balls...but all in all, I am really happy with the effort from the girls tonight and I’m happy with their determination to really win,” he said.

Hood expressed satisfaction with what he’s seeing from the next generation after using a number of younger players throughout the first two encounters of the tournament.

“The future is really bright for the youngsters once we do the right things in terms of nurturing them and assisting with their development and getting them involved in more tournaments such as these so all in all, very happy,” he added.

T&T will face Aruba again on Sunday before facing Curacao on Monday.

 

 

Jamaican superstar goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard was at her usual dominant best to help her West Coast Fever secure a hard-fought victory (71-68) against the Sunshine Coast Lightning in a back-and-forth tussle in Suncorp Super Netball action at UniSC Arena on Saturday.

Despite the Lightning winning time in possession, the Fever's exceptional shooting accuracy (97%) and success with Super Shots (5/9) propelled them to victory in front of an enthusiastic away crowd.

Fowler-Nembhard stood out as the player of the match, amassing an impressive 119.5 Nissan Net Points and shooting at an astounding 98% (53/54) during regular match time.

Shanice Beckford was also instrumental in the win with 13 goal assists and 17 feeds.

The Fever have now reclaimed their position at the top of the table and will take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds next on Saturday June 8.

Elsewhere, goal defence Jodi-Ann Ward's 33.5 Nissan Net Points were not enough to prevent her GIANTS Netball outfit from being defeated 74-60 by the Melbourne Vixens at John Cain Arena.

The Vixens shot accurately, 62/67 for 90% to be exact, while also having the edge in time of possession, intercepts and turnovers.

Goal shooter Sophie Garbin was the star of the day for the Vixens with 119.5 Nissan Net Points after producing 48 goals from 51 attempts.

The Vixens, who handed the Fever their first loss last week, are second in the table with just one loss in eight games, same as the Fever.

 

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