Phil Neville has been confirmed as the new head coach of Portland Timbers ahead of the 2024 MLS season.

The 46-year-old said he was relishing the prospect of returning to the competition, five months after his departure from Inter Miami.

Neville said: “I am massively excited about the challenge ahead, and from the very first moment I met the staff I knew it was the right opportunity for me, the right club for me and the right city for me.

“The fans are the most important part of this football club with their intensity and support, and I think this journey is going to be something special.”

Neville will have to work hard to win over some sections of Portland’s fanbase, who had protested his prospective appointment.

The Timber Army cited Neville’s average coaching record and historic social media comments about the role of women, for which Neville subsequently apologised.

Neville left his role as England women’s head coach in 2021 and linked up with former team-mate David Beckham at Inter Miami, leading the club into the play-offs.

But he was dismissed after a dismal start to the 2023 campaign, prior to the club’s signing of Lionel Messi which significantly improved their fortunes.

Portland general manager Ned Grabavoy said: “We are thrilled to welcome Phil Neville as the new head coach of the Portland Timbers, and we look forward to making Phil and his family feel at home in Portland.

“Phil’s character makes him the right person to lead this team forward as we continue to reshape the group with a goal of returning to sustained success.”

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts, has attempted to shed some light on the latest challenge facing the JFF in relation to the sanctioning of a number of the 56 delegates that will vote for the body’s next president on January 14, 2024, to determine the way forward for football in the country.

The 56 delegates will come from three pillars and, according to Ricketts, the JFF held an emergency congress on Sunday to sanction the Pillar-Three delegates.

Ricketts explained that there are six entities associated with Pillar Three but of that six, only three were able to meet the requirements.

He put this down to misinterpretation of the federation’s new constitution.

“The new constitution and its articles seem to be causing a lot of issues because people are not interpreting the contents of the articles,” he told on Monday, explaining that this was also an issue at Sunday’s meeting.  “What happens now is that there are certain criteria based on the articles that entities must meet for them to qualify for voting at the congress. They were listed! Of all the applicants, three would’ve met all the requirements.”

The president says the JFF received applications from two different coaches associations, a former players association and the beach-football association.

One of the coaches associations, headed by former senior women’s coach Vin Blaine, was not considered as it has been defunct for some time.

“The coaches', where one Mr. Vin Blaine, who is not even domiciled in Jamaica, says that he heads a coaches association with four listed persons. One of those persons does not live here and one of those gentlemen said that he is not a part of the association which has gone defunct for years. They have not been operative,” Ricketts told on Monday.

The other association, comprising current active head coaches, met all the requirements and was approved.

“The other one is current and includes practicing coaches now like Merron Gordon, Andrew Peart, Rudolph Speid and Xavier Gilbert among others. They met all the requirements,” Ricketts added.

He went on to say that the former footballers' association also met the requirements and were approved but the Beach Football Association did not because of “serious misrepresentation” as Ricketts put it.

 “The directors for the Beach Football Association were not named, the members were. The directors are those that are listed at the Company’s Office. There were members who were asked to serve. There is a huge debate right now because of one particular gentleman. A member of KSAFA got up in the congress yesterday and said that gentleman has vehemently denied ever being a part of the directorship,” Ricketts explained.

“However, the gentleman sent an email to the JFF this morning (Monday) saying that he is, in fact, a member. So, as it is now, there was serious misrepresentation because the gentleman sent an email saying he is, in fact, a member of the board of directors for beach football. What has happened is because that was raised, I suggested that we defer sanctioning the Beach Football Association until we get clarification so the other two-the coaches association and the past players association-were accepted,” he added.

The remaining stakeholders who have not applied will have until some time in December to try and meet the requirements.

“There are others who we would’ve reached out to and have asked them to apply. So, there are now applications from ISSA, PFJL among others. The referees have some further documents to be submitted. In an effort to ensure that we get all the stakeholders on board, we have extended the period to sometime in December so that those entities who have not met the requirements have a chance to get themselves up in line with the requirements and to apply so we will again have to have another congress maybe just before the voting congress,” he said.

In conclusion, Ricketts lamented the publicizing of the ongoing situation and accused detractors of trying everything to discredit the current JFF Board of Directors.

 “We are publicizing the whole thing and, believe me, we’re making so many issues, making mountains out of molehills, all in the interest of politics," the JFF president said.

"It is just sad how people will do everything to discredit this board. We are not perfect and we make mistakes but, my God man, don’t just try and destroy something you are a part of. We try to be strong and try to be guided by the articles of the constitution and we’re just hoping that after the election, things will be normal and that we just move forward in an effort to grow the sport of football which ought to be our aim and ambition."

Only three schools from last year’s ISSA/Wata DaCosta Cup quarterfinals are back at the same stage of this year’s competition after the Round of 16 came to an end on Saturday.

Defending champions Clarendon College, former winners Dinthill Tech and Manchester High are the only survivors, and they will be joined by Glenmuir High, Christiana High, BB Coke High, Cornwall College and Garvey Maceo High in the last eight.

Clarendon College’s perfect win record ended at 12 games after they were forced to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Cornwall College at Glenmuir High.

Lincoln Cox, who failed to finish his team’s last two games, gave Cornwall College a first half lead but Kaheim Dixon’s late second half equalizer saw both teams share the points.

The point was enough for Clarendon College to win the group with seven points while Cornwall College got second place on goal-difference over STETHS who were held 0-0 by Mile Gully High in their game.

Both Cornwall College and STETHS finished on four points but Cornwall College had a plus one goal-difference to STETHS’ zero.

Glenmuir High edged Garvey Maceo High on goal-difference after both schools won on Saturday to finish with seven points each in Group 4.

Glenmuir High beat Frome Technical High 2-1 at Llandilo Sports Complex with goals from Kyle Gordon and Oneil Headley as Glenmuir High ended with a plus six goal-difference, two more than Garvey Maceo.

2021 champions Garvey Maceo comfortably defeated Port Antonio High 4-1 at Carder Park. Cleo Clarke scored a double in the 10th and 31st minutes with the other goals coming from Rakeesh Jones in the 46th minute and Everald Swaby in the 52nd minute.

Keroe George scored Port Antonio’s consolation goal in the 85th minute.

BB Coke High, who was the only school to win all three Round of 16 games, overwhelmed Tacky High 4-0 at Drax Hall as Jahmaul Wright scored a double with Semar Williams and Sanjay Allen also scoring.

Manchester High rebounded from their first loss of the season to beat Happy Grove High 2-0 in Mandeville and get second place in Group 2.

Davonie Daley and Nickoy Henry scored for Christiana High in their 2-0 win over McGrath High to finish second in Group 3 to Dinthill Technical who were 2-1 winners over William Knibb Memorial in their weather affected game at Dinthill Technical.

Group A of the quarterfinal round will feature Christiana, Clarendon College, Glenmuir and Manchester while Group B will feature B.B. Coke, Cornwall College, Dinthill Technical and Garvey Maceo.

Play begins on Wednesday with Clarendon College playing Christiana at Manchester, Glenmuir hosting Manchester, B.B. Coke facing Garvey Maceo at STETHS and Dinthill Technical facing Cornwall College at the Ewarton Sports Complex.

Cody Dorman, who was closely associated with dual Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died.

The teenager, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome – a rare genetic condition that meant he could not speak and was wheelchair-bound – had been a key part of the Cody’s Wish journey since Bill Mott’s five-year-old was a foal.

The pair first met when the Dorman family visited Gainsborough Farm Stud and the then foal, who would go on to be named Cody’s Wish, approached the wheelchair-bound Dorman and placed his head in his lap.

That was the beginning of an unbreakable bond which would last the duration of the Godolphin-owned colt’s racing career, with Dorman trackside for both of his big victories at the Breeders’ Cup.

Having witnessed Cody’s Wish bow out in style when bravely defending his Dirt Mile title at Santa Anita, Dorman died while travelling home from California to his family home in Kentucky.

A statement released to Godolphin by parents Kelly and Leslie Dorman, read: “We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Cody suffered a medical event on our trip home to Kentucky and he has passed away.

“On Saturday, Cody watched his best friend, Cody’s Wish, display his usual perseverance and toughness in winning a second Breeders’ Cup.

“Those are the same characteristics Cody has showed time and again for the 18 years we were blessed to have him.

“We have been completely amazed to experience the impact Cody has had on so many people, through the journey that this wondrous racehorse has taken us all on.

“From Churchill Downs to Keeneland, to Saratoga to Santa Anita this weekend, we could not move 20ft without someone stopping to tell us just that.

“With Cody’s diagnosis at birth, we always knew this day would come, but we were determined to help Cody live his best life for however long we had him.

“Anyone who has seen him at the racetrack, especially around Cody’s Wish, understands that in many ways he taught us all how to live, always keeping a positive attitude and being more concerned about those around him than himself.

“As people of faith, we are comforted in the knowledge that Cody has gone home. We pray that he watch over us all, especially Kylie, the best little sister in the world.

“We are sincerely grateful for all those who have shared this journey with Cody and our family. The joy that his interactions with Cody’s Wish have brought him the last five years is indescribable. We will rely on those memories to help us through an unimaginably difficult time.”

The Breeders’ Cup organisation were also keen to pay their respects and in a statement added: “The entire Breeders’ Cup team is devastated by the news of Cody Dorman’s passing yesterday.

“His story captured our hearts and minds, and his strength, spirit, and determination were fittingly embodied by his namesake’s commanding performances in his honour.

“We send our sincere condolences to the Dormans, who gave our sport so much by welcoming us into their family.”

Sparks Fly may not have won for the final time this year as the unstoppable filly takes aim at a Saint-Cloud return.

Trained by David Loughnane and owned and bred by Dave Lowe, the three-year-old has soared through the ranks this season since making her debut on the all-weather in January.

Synthetic surfaces clearly were not to her liking, but since switching to the turf she has been expertly guided by Loughnane to a superb run of eight victories – and she may not be done just yet.

Her one and only blip was a beaten effort in the Listed Lyric Stakes at York over a mile and two and a half furlongs, but connections still gained something from the experience as it highlighted that her ideal trip was a mile.

With that in mind she journeyed to France for the Prix Isola Bella, a Listed contest at Saint-Cloud in late October, and astonished all involved when bolting to totally unchallenged 12-length success under regular rider Laura Pearson.

The filly barely saw a rival as she cruised up the inside rail and gained black type in emphatic style, potentially booking herself in for a return to the same track for the Prix Tantieme later this month.

“It was an unbelievable moment actually, David was over in France and I was at home watching it,” said Lowe.

“It’s sort of disbelief, we couldn’t even get emotional, normally you’d be cheering your horse on but we were just flabbergasted. Where did that come from? Unbelievable.

“The commentator was joking that they’re going to nickname that rail the Sparks Fly rail.

“Laura gets on so well with her, it was a masterstroke from the start as she just came from that mid-draw and just went over to that rail. She knew she was going to angle that way but that wasn’t the intention, she thought she’d go down the middle of the track and if they hung that way, fair enough, but there’s no point fighting her – she likes getting her own way!”

Lowe and Loughnane make a successful partnership and the owner-breeder is quick to credit the trainer with producing her from a 59-rated maiden to a 102-rated Listed winner.

“He has brought her through really, really well,” said Lowe.

“That race in France was perfect for her, we found out more about her from the York race when she was disappointing.

“We always thought she would get more than a mile but it turns out a mile is the perfect distance for her and the perfect ground is basically bottomless. She will run on good, it’s not out of the question, but that’s the recipe for success by the look of it.

“She’s been on the go since January but she’s come out of the race really well, I dare say she’s never looked better. We’re looking at another run in Saint-Cloud again on the 17th of this month, we’ll enter up for that and if she’s telling us she wants to run again then she’ll run again and if she’s telling us she’s had enough then we’ll put her away.”

A winter break then beckons, after which Sparks Fly will return to training to for 2024 and may set her sights higher as a four-year-old.

Lowe said: “Dave has said to me that he thinks she’ll make an even better four-year-old, which is quite scary. He thinks we can definitely get a Group race with her next year with everything going our way.”

Lowe bred Sparks Fly from the mare Stepping Out, a three-time winner he owned in a partnership and took on when an injury ended her career, a shrewd move that has provided him with three winning offspring; Sparks Fly, Queen Mary third Caroline Dale and four-time winner Baby Steps.

“I only ended up with her by accident, she was a horse I was involved in with three other people and she got injured and the intention was to sell her,” the owner said of Stepping Out.

“I thought, ‘well I can’t just sell her if she’s injured. I don’t want anybody racing her again and causing more problems’, so I took her under my wing and sort of just fell into breeding but now she’s had three very successful foals.

“We thought we’d reached a peak with Caroline Dale coming third in the Queen Mary, but then this one comes along and just blows her away!”

Mawj will be prepared for a winter campaign in Dubai following her agonising defeat at the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday.

The daughter of Exceed And Excel provided trainer Saeed bin Suroor with his first British Classic success in 14 years when edging out Tahiyra in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, but subsequently missed the middle part of the season after suffering injury.

She made a successful return from five months off the track in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October, though, and remained in America to take on the colts in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Mawj looked likely to prevail after taking over the lead approaching the final furlong at Santa Anita under Oisin Murphy, but was reeled in by fellow Godolphin runner Master Of The Seas, with just a nose separating them at the line.

Having had a couple of days to reflect on the narrowest of reverses, Bin Suroor remained typically gracious in defeat.

He said: “She ran a huge race and we thought she was going to win, but she was beaten by a good horse, also a Godolphin horse, and I’m happy for Charlie (Appleby).

“Our filly is tough and hard and it was the first time she ran with the colts. She proved herself good enough to be with them.

“Oisin gave her a very good ride, he did everything right and she ran a huge race.”

Mawj will now head to Bin Suroor’s home country for the winter carnival at Meydan before returning to Britain next season in search of more major prizes.

“Now she is going back to Dubai and we’ll try and find a race for her, maybe the Jebel Hatta and then the Dubai Turf. After that we’ll find races for her in the UK and Europe,” the trainer added.

“I think a mile is her best trip, but sometimes it can be hard to find races for her. I know she won over nine furlongs at Keeneland, but at the mile I think she is at her best.”

Paul Nicholls has indicated there is a possibility Bravemansgame could run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock later this month if conditions prove suitable.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up narrowly failed to defend his Charlie Hall Chase crown at Wetherby on Saturday when a mistake at the final fence allowed Mouse Morris’ race-fit Gentlemansgame to snatch victory.

It was thought that the eight-year-old would head straight to Kempton in search of back-to-back victories in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, but Nicholls is refusing to rule out an appearance at Haydock on November 25 – a race which was originally slated for Bravemansgame’s seasonal return.

“He’s come out of the race really well, he’s actually had a canter today, and there is still a possibility of him running in the Betfair Chase,” Nicholls told Betfair in his Ditcheat Diary.

“It’s a fantastic race and I love supporting it and have done well in it. Plenty of horses I have had have used that as a stepping stone to the King George and in a lot of ways Saturday was a bit of a racecourse gallop for him.

“He had not been anywhere before Saturday and if we were happy with him and the ground was OK – that is key, I don’t want to give him a hard race, a slog in really testing ground before the King George – but if we had a dry week up to it and the ground was good to soft, then it could be tempting.”

Reflecting on his Wetherby defeat, Nicholls added: “He ran a super race and it was probably a better performance than a year ago.

“The ground was testing enough for him and you could probably run the race 100 times and get a different result each time, but if he hadn’t made that mistake at the last and had landing running, it could have been a whole heap different.

“He got beat by a good, improving, young, race-fit horse and we paid for a little mistake. It was his first run of the season and I was going to have him nowhere near his best first-time out. Obviously, we want him to step forward from that and he will do.”

Henrietta Knight, who saddled Best Mate to three straight Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs, is poised for a return to the training ranks in the new year.

The 76-year-old is best known for her hat-trick of victories in the blue riband event between 2002 and 2004 but was also the trainer of Champion Chase hero Edredon Bleu, who similarly carried the colours of Best Mate’s owner Jim Lewis.

Knight, who was married to former champion jump jockey Terry Biddlecombe, retired in 2012 but has remained involved in the sport by running a pre-training business and also being an active figure at the sales.

However, she will now recommence training under rules from her West Lockinge base, where she hopes to train around 25-30 horses.

Knight will be assisted by Grand National-winning jockey Brendan Powell, who was a trainer in his own right before serving as assistant to Joseph O’Brien and Rebecca Menzies in recent years, and he is excited to link-up with such a distinguished name in racing.

“I’ve known Hen for 30-odd years and was good friends with Terry,” said Powell.

“I came over here to Rebecca’s and it sort of hasn’t really worked out and Hen mentioned to me in the week that she was thinking if she got the horses, she wouldn’t mind training again and asked if I would consider going down and helping out.

“I had a few chats with her and we decided that I would give it a go and see what happens.”

He went on: “I know she has applied for the licence and there should be no reason why she wouldn’t get it.

“It’s a good place there and my son Brendan rides out there along with Paul O’Brien and James Bowen. She’s always busy and always got plenty of horses in and she is hoping to get around 25-30 horses, which would be just a nice number. We will give it a go and see what happens.

“She has been a great trainer over the years and with the horses she has had. It’s obviously not going to be as big as that now, but I’m sure we can get some nice owners together – she has a few already – and we will see if we can build on that.”

Knight told Telegraph Sport: “People will probably think I’m mad starting again when most people are stopping, but I like doing things and I miss the buzz.

“Cheltenham’s where I love and I can’t wait to get back there. The emphasis will be on trying to find a few chasers to take me back to Cheltenham. I’m very excited and want to get going.”

Cheltenham Festival hero Iroko is set to make his chasing debut at Warwick on Tuesday.

Trained by Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero, the five-year-old was a real improver over hurdles last season and, after a pair of commanding wins at Wetherby, brought up a hat-trick when scoring in the Martin Pipe at the Festival in March.

Iroko then finished off his season by finishing an honourable third when stepped up to Grade One company for the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle during Aintree’s Grand National Festival.

Having skipped a possible return at Cheltenham recently, he will now start off over the larger obstacles in the Stan Mellor Memorial Novices’ Chase, a race won 12 months ago by Paul Nicholls’ Stage Star.

Greenall said: “We’ve always thought chasing would be his game, he’s been schooling really well and we’re looking forward to getting going with him.

“He will want three miles eventually, but we’re just going to start off at two and a half and then go up in trip as the season progresses.”

Iroko is owned by JP McManus, whose famous green and gold hoops are also carried by Greenall and Guerriero’s smart hurdling prospect Jagwar.

The four-year-old recruit from France pushed the highly-regarded Inthewaterside all the way on his UK bow at Aintree last Sunday and is exciting his training team.

“He does everything well at home, is really relaxed and easy to train,” continued Greenall.

“He’s going to probably want a trip and fences in time but we will stay over hurdles for now obviously this season.

“We feel he will come on for the experience and fitness wise, so we were very happy with the performance.”

Jagwar could now be set for an immediate step up in class, with a return to Aintree for the Grade One Formby Novices’ Hurdle (formerly the Tolworth) on the Merseyside track’s new Boxing Day card and Newbury’s Challow Hurdle both possible options.

“There’s a few options for him and we’ll probably wait until Christmas time with him now,” explained Greenall.

“He can go back to Aintree on Boxing Day for the new fixture or there is Newbury that we are looking at, we’ll just have to wait and see how he is.

“We’ll probably step him up (in class) a bit, which is what we did with Iroko – and if he won, then great, but if he doesn’t, then he’s gaining experience along the way.

“We probably won’t just go for a little novice as I don’t think he will learn a lot and we’re not gaining anything. We would probably prefer to go and have a go at a better race.

“Aintree would mean going back in trip but it could easily be fairly soft ground that day, which would be fine.”

A brilliant unbeaten century from Darren Bravo and incisive spin bowling from Sunil Narine and Akeal Hosein were key factors in the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s emphatic 78-run victory over the Barbados Pride in their CG United Insurance Super50 match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Sunday.

Chasing 294 for victory, Barbados were bowled out for 215 in 47.2 overs.

Bravo’s 139 not out that included nine fours and seven majestic sixes, was the foundation on which Trinidad and Tobago built their score of 293 for 6 from their 50 overs. Opener Kjorn Ottley and Tion Webster made invaluable contributions with scores of 36 and 28, respectively, but the bulk of the runs came from Bravo’s bat as no other batter got past 20 runs against the Barbados bowling attack.

Roston Chase was the best of the Barbados bowlers taking 3-50 from his 10 overs while Kemar Smith took 2-46.

Needing 294 for victory, Barbados never really got going. Their batters were beguiled at first by Hosein who dismissed Kyle Mayers for 12 and Zachary McCaskie for 19.  He also dismissed the dangerous Shai Hope for just 18 to finish with figures of 3-31.

Shannon Gabriel had Shamarh Brooks out caught for 33 before Narine took over snaring the wickets of Chase for 48, Roshon Primus for one, Kemar Smith without scoring and Dominic Drakes for nine to return the impressive figures of 4-13 from his 10 overs.

Akeem Jordan in partnership with Jomel Warrican played an entertaining cameo bludgeoning Trinidad’s bowlers for four fours and three sixes before he was bowled by Khary Pierre for a well-played 40 from 47 balls.

Yanic Cariah put the cap on the proceedings when he dismissed Jair McAllister for one, leaving Warrican not out on 19 in the end.


Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce stood at the podium, her radiant smile reflecting the immense pride she felt for the Pocket Rocket Foundation on its 10th anniversary. The celebration and fundraiser were taking place at the elegant AC Hotel in Kingston, and it was a night of reflection, gratitude, and renewed commitment to the under-served Waterhouse community and student athletes who had benefitted from the foundation's scholarships.

She began by expressing her deep gratitude to the sponsors, partners, and friends who had supported the foundation over the past decade. "It's because of your generosity why we're here this evening that we're able to celebrate 10 years of the Pocket Rocket Foundation. The impact and the legacy that we have had throughout the 10 years is all because of you," she emphasized.

Turning her attention to the foundation's origin, Fraser-Pryce shared the motivation behind its creation. "Now, the reason I have the Pocket Rocket Foundation is because for all of my life, there are so many persons that poured into who I was and who I was going to become. They saw vision, they saw hope, they saw so much more, and it's because of that why we have the Pocket Rocket Foundation."

The five-time World 100m champion recognized the importance of balancing education and sports to transform lives, a lesson she learned early in her life. "When I was in Waterhouse, I always knew; like my mom would say to me that sports was going to be my way out. We have to learn to strike the balance between education and sport to transform your life, and I learned that early that that was going to be the case."

She stressed the significance of service, explaining, "Service is our greatest strength. I've always believed that. For those who serve, you are powerful. It's your strength that's where you lead from. I crossed the line and I wanted to give back."

The three-time Olympic gold medalist praised her then manager, Bruce James, who helped her set up the foundation. "I said to Mr. (Bruce) James I needed to start my foundation, and I wanted to have impact. I don't want to start a foundation because it looks good on paper or it sounds good. I want to start a foundation because I want to have impact. I want to give student athletes the same privilege, the same chance to dream, to plant a seed, to have hope."

She thanked the foundation's initial supporters, including GraceKennedy, Digicel, and Nike, for providing the initial funding. Sagicor's contribution, providing a rent-free home for the foundation for almost two years, was especially noteworthy. Shelly-Ann recognized the importance of transparency and integrity in her foundation's operations.

Throughout her speech, Shelly-Ann expressed her gratitude to her sponsors for their unwavering support. "There's never a time that I've called on any of my sponsors to say, I need your support, I need to donate food, I need toys for the kids, I need bags, and they're always there. I've never heard I can't. It's always yes."

Shelly-Ann then highlighted the impact the Pocket Rocket Foundation had on student athletes. "73 student athletes over the 10 years. It's just remarkable for me to have seen a lot of you transcend so many different things."

She mentioned examples like Tahj Lumley, one of the foundation's first recipients, who became the national squash coach, and Jovaine (Atkinson), who became a pilot. "When you talk about them, it is hope and that is the seed that we have planted in their lives because of you. I want to be able to fuel those dreams and help them surpass their own expectations."

The foundation's initiatives, including the breakfast program with GraceKennedy, aimed to make a difference in the Waterhouse community. Shelly-Ann emphasized the importance of providing every child with access to nutritious meals, regardless of their family's circumstances.

Discussing the foundation's football program, she said, "When you talk about peace through sports, that's what our football program does. It's bringing young men from different communities who are otherwise pre-occupied or not speaking. We're able to bridge that gap because of that football competition."

Shelly-Ann hoped for a better, more united Waterhouse through her foundation's efforts. "That's the Waterhouse that I want. That's the Waterhouse that I'm dreaming of. We want to have impact, we want to have legacy."

In closing, Shelly-Ann emphasized that her own journey was a blueprint for the student athletes. "You can have balance. Having that balance and striking that balance is difficult, but it's possible. I did it. I am the blueprint. I am showing them the way.”

Several sponsors received awards on the night for their contributions to the Pocket Rocket Foundation (PRF) over the past decade.  GraceKennedy Ltd received the Pocket Rocket Foundation Pinnacle Award, Nike received the PRF Trailblazer Award, the PRF Standout Performer went to Wisynco, the PRF Start Award went to Sagicor, the PRF Change Award went to Digicel and the PRF Trendsetter Award was received by American Friends of Jamaica.


 Sunil Narine is retiring from international cricket. The Trinidadian mystery spinner announced an end to his eight-year international career on Instagram on Sunday.

"I appreciate it has been over four years since I last played for West Indies but today I am announcing my retirement from international cricket," said the 35-year-old Narine who last played for the West Indies in 2019.

“Publicly I am a man of few words but privately there are a few people who have given me unwavering support throughout my career and helped me realize my dream of representing West Indies and to you I express my deepest gratitude."

Notwithstanding the announcement, Narine said he will end his international career by winning the ongoing Super50 league for the Trinbago Red Force. "I love representing Trinidad & Tobago, the country of my birth, and to add another title by winning the Super50 Cup will be the perfect send-off," he said.

Narine played 122 international matches, which included six Tests, 65 ODIs and 51 T20Is and was a member of the West Indies team that won the T20 World Cup in 2012. He has played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League since 2012.

He will continue to play for KKR in the IPL, Abu Dhabi in the International League T20, Trinbago in the Caribbean Premier League and Los Angeles in Major League Cricket. He is also part of the Hundred men's competition with Oval Invincibles and also plays in the Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh Premier League.

Royal Ascot winner Burdett Road made an immediate impression on his hurdles bow with a clear-cut victory at Huntingdon.

Winner of the Golden Gates Stakes for Michael Bell in June, Burdett Road then tackled the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood before finishing third to Passenger in the Winter Hill Stakes.

Subsequently gelded and transferred to the care of James Owen by owners the Gredley Family, Burdett Road was sent off the 4-9 favourite in the Follow Us On Twitter @betrhino Juvenile Hurdle and he made short work of five rivals in the hands of Harry Cobden.

Though not foot perfect at the first attempt, Burdett Road galloped home 12 lengths clear of Palio and is a 33-1 chance with Paddy Power for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Cobden told Racing TV: “He’s a very good horse. He’s done a lot of things wrong there, but still won with his head in his chest.

“It probably wasn’t the world’s greatest juvenile hurdle, but just the manner he has gone around in the race – he was too keen, he’s a very good jumper and when he hit the front he danced away. He’s obviously got a good brain on him.

“I was confident, I knew there was one down my inside but I had so much horse left under me it wasn’t a problem. He’s definitely a Triumph Hurdle horse anyway, I’m confident of that. James has got a job to settle him down, manage him as well as we can.

“There’s an £80,000 juvenile hurdle at Cheltenham in just under two weeks and we were discussing whether to go for it or not – I’d say definitely run.

“The way he travelled through this race took the freshness off him, but he hasn’t had a race today. It’ll take a smart one to beat him.”

The year 1996 was a great year for sports. The cricket World Cup, Olympics Games, European football championships and Chicago Bulls produced a then NBA basketball record, winning 72 games that season.

Seeing all those 1996 sports events set off my path from sports fan to professionally in sports journalism and public relations.

I mention this to highlight that it’s 100 per cent clear to me that the modern “West Indies selection” trivialities are unique in global sports. It’s no longer a case where one can use the clichés; it's simply a case of selectors' opinion and Caribbean people can’t expect them to pick West Indies teams that attain full agreement.

 It’s very possible for myself and many astute sports fans to watch all teams in the NBA, English Premier League, other international cricket teams or at a FIFA World Cup and get a clear idea of the best starting XI or five.

 These teams still elicit media and fan discussion over player selection. However, it never descends to the current Windies selection malaise since the rise of T20 cricket leagues in 2009, where chosen teams never gets 90-100 per cent support from all stakeholders.

 As noted on another publication - - observing CWI internally from 2019-2023 after previously in sports media from 2010-2019, fundamentally leads me to believe due to the modern dynamics of international cricket, unfortunately, despite who is in charge, the “Caribbean cricket” ecosystem cannot be fixed, whether the quasi-national “West Indies” construct is maintained or broken up voluntarily or by market forces.

 However, doing the simple global sports concept of “picking your best team” should not be hard for West Indies cricket to accomplish.


What are the best West Indies XIs?

 The reality is that selectors don’t objectively know and can’t currently select West Indies teams that will gain unanimous media and fan support. These suggested hypothetical XIs across might have been universally accepted if things were perfect but erudite West Indies observers know there is no chance of these teams ever taking the field.


 King, Hope, Pooran (wicketkeeper), Hetmyer, Powell (captain), Holder, Russell, Narine, Hosein, Joseph, McCoy

 Reserves: Rutherford, Allen, Shepherd, Drakes


Lewis, Hope (captain/wicketkeeper), King, Pooran, Hetmyer, Mayers, Holder, Shepherd, Hosein, Joseph, McCoy

Reserves: Carty, Paul, Motie, Seales


K Braithwaite (Captain), T Chanderpaul, Bravo, Hope, Hetmyer, Pooran (wicketkeeper), Holder, Hosein, Joseph, Roach, Seales

 Reserves: King, Mayers, Cornwall, Gabriel, Da Silva


General selection problems:

 The role of “selectors” no longer works in the unique dynamics of the West Indies cricket multi-national construct. The former Ricky Skerritt administration's “selection review” task force implementation regrettably hasn’t been able to cure this problem.

 That review outside of the five Governance task force documents since 1992 was arguably the most consequential administrative document in recent CWI history.

 Caribbean cricket media and fans can attest to the complete trust breakdown in West Indies selection process since 2009 and why such a task force, that no cricket board globally had done before, was needed.

 Since 2009 West Indies have tried two “legends' Clive Lloyd & Desmond Haynes, a highly respected player, Roger Harper, and two players who didn’t succeed at the international level in Clyde Butts and Courtney Brown, for the polarizing role of chairman of selectors. None led to the improvement in West Indies results.

 Given the long-standing issue of insularity, currently having two selectors from Barbados in Desmond Haynes and Roland Butcher is unsustainable. Despite the gentleman’s potential good intentions - their presence is exasperating insularity feelings and bias in selection, whether real or perceived.

 Roger Harper lost his job after the West Indies were eliminated from the 2021 T20 World Cup group stage - however Desmond Haynes still remains despite selecting teams that failed to qualify for the 2022 T20 and ongoing 50 overs World Cups.

 A good example of this current case was when new white ball coach Darren Sammy, on appointment in May, saying he had in-depth conversations with Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer about playing for West Indies.

 However, only Hetmyer has returned and selector Haynes said in his last public press conference in July, that Russell and Narine, who had just shown their quality in TKR’s run to CPL final, were not in his conversations.

 This is basic deja’ vu. Many will recall a similar coach clash over players with selectors/administrators. During Phil Simmons’ first stint as coach he was comically suspended in 2015 for simply saying he wanted to select the best players.

 Also at domestic level there isn’t a clear alignment in picking teams for West Indies in mind, but rather for national interest to win the four-day and 50 over’s tournaments.

 To highlight two quotes from Daren Ganga who called out this issue in Trinidad & Tobago via a public Facebook post a few months ago:

 “Please focus on using retainer contracts to develop and reward younger cricketers and stop using for senior players who are underperforming and have non contention to play for West Indies.”

 “West Indies cricket is declining and our national selectors are directly contributing to the further demise of the game.”

 Copying the English system:

 Since the rise of T20s in 2009 and the decline in domestic standards since the PCL revamp in 2014, West Indies selectors have erred more on the side of conservative selections. They have never truly been innovative in picking players away from statistical performances in a poor domestic system or picking players for Test cricket based on international limited overs form like other nations have attempted.

 That factor has led to the current predicament of having only two all-format players, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph. The West Indies talent pool isn’t big enough to allow further continuing of this systematic selection faux pas.

 The English strategy of empowering the coach to be a selector with scouts around nations assisting should be implemented. Under Director of Cricket Rob Key in April 2021, the ECB made the role of selector redundant for 19 months, overseeing a period where the much-hyped “Bazball” Test cricket was implemented and England winning the 2022 T20 World Cup.

 Afterwards, despite success Luke Wright was appointed selector in November 2022,

 That approach seems perfect for the West Indies, where the coach would have sole selection authority like a football manager with support of the captain and Caribbean-wide scouting network support system. Then Desmond Haynes and any of the “legends” can be used in a more productive role, rather than the outdated and impossible West Indies context job of “selector”.


Colin Benjamin was a Cricket West Indies communications officer from 2019-2023. He has covered West Indies cricket for more than a decade for other global and Caribbean publications.

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