For all the talks about his winless streak in eight friendly games, Jamaica's Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said he never paid much attention to those numbers as the fact remained that he was yet to lose a game at a major tournament.

In fact, Hallgrimsson, who registered his first win since taking the reins to guide the Reggae Boyz late last year, pointed out that the team's 4-1 drubbing of Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A fixture on Wednesday, was a strong indicator that time and greater consistency, could lead to better results going forward.

Prior to this Gold Cup triumph, Hallgrimsson had lost 0-3 to Argentina, 0-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, and 2-1 to Qatar and Jordan respectively, in friendly fixtures. His record also includes, 1-1 and goalless score lines with Cameroon and Trinidad and Tobago, also in friendlies, followed by a 2-2 Nations League stalemate with Mexico and more recently a 1-1 stalemate with United States in their Gold Cup opener.

While for some the victory Demarai Gray (14th and 28th), Leon Bailey (17th) and 17-year-old Dujuan "Whisper" Richards (90+2), who became the youngest scorer in the history of the tournament, was a relief, the Icelandic tactician said the focus was more on building a competitive team.

Andre Rampersad (49th) got the consolation for the twin island republic.

"It didn't affect me at all, I was not counting," Hallgrimsson declared during a post-game press conference at Citypark in St Louis, Missouri. 

"I will tell you another fact, I haven't lost a competitive game for Jamaica and that is what matters, the competitive matches. I am pretty sure this team will grow, there are a lot of young players starting to play for us and they will only grow as the tournament gets older. That is the important thing about tournament like these.

"Normally in a FIFA Window when you have players for seven days, eight days, maximum, and you have two matches, there is so little you can do to connect with them at that time. But when you have a tournament like this, you can always add things where you can improve the understanding between individual players. So, it's helping us a lot which is why it's important to be here and that is why it is important to make it to the Copa America next year as well, so we can continue grow as a team," he added.

Hallgrimsson, who was also taken to task about his selection of rising sensation Richards, argued that the late goal scored by the Chelsea-bound prospect, justified the coaching staff's decision.

He reiterated the fact that the former Kingston College talisman, who was making his Gold Cup debut, still have immense scope for improvements which will come in time as Richards learns from his more experienced counterparts.

"Normally I don't like to talk about individual players, but we were criticised for picking the kid and he only needed 10 minutes to score a goal, so that shows why we selected him, and I don't think he knows what he is going to do, the opponents don't know what he is going to do but he is lethal. 

 "I have to admit when he took the shot, I was wondering why he was shooting from that range, but he scored, so he is kind of like the guy that defy the odds a little bit and all teams need players like him. As I said before he has a lot to learn, but he still knows a lot and can do a lot right now," Hallgrimsson shared.

He also spoke highly of Gray, who celebrated his 27th birthday with a brace in only his second appearance as a Jamaican international. 

"Demarai, everybody knew he was a longtime coming, I think we started talking about him coming to Jamaica two years ago so for everyone to see now how good a individual talent he is, taking players on, he is a real quality on the field, and he is fast as well. It will take time for him to really get into the tactics and get to know the players around him, but I think it was a good birthday present he gave to all of us scoring two goals and I think he had a really good game," Hallgrimsson noted.

That said, Hallgrimsson lauded the dominance of his Reggae Boyz unit to not only consistently break down the Soca Warriors 5-4-1 defensive formation, but more importantly, maintain their composure and firm defensive posture for the most parts.

"We have good depth in the squad, not much difference between some players and we have tried these players in these positions before, so it was good to give both Javain [Brown] and Dexter Lembikisa a chance to play and Amari'i was a little bit injured, so we didn't want to risk him so that's why Taxi [Kemar Lawrence] started at left back and did a good job there. But at half time, he felt a little stiffening up, so we moved Dexter to the left and Joel Latibeaudiere played right. 

"So there were a lot of changes going on in these positions and then just the rotations of the centre-backs, I think Dishon Bernard did a really good job, so I hope Jamaicans are happy to see that there is a young centre-back coming up, he showed his strength and character in this game and in generally was really good," Hallgrimsson reasoned.

"I don't think Trinidad created a chance except for the goal, I think that was the only chance they created, so that's good and shows the defensive game we played today (Wednesday)," he ended.

Rachael Blackmore has spoken of her pride at being made an honorary MBE for her services to sport.

Blackmore has become a household name in recent years after turning professional relatively late in jockey terms.

From Tipperary, Blackmore had her first winner in 2011, winning the conditional riders’ title as recently as 2017, becoming the first woman to do so.

Since then it has been one success story after another for the 33-year-old, with a first Cheltenham Festival victory coming on A Plus Tard in in 2019.

It was in 2021 that her achievements reached the front pages, though, winning the first of two Champion Hurdles on Honeysuckle and being crowned leading rider at Cheltenham with six winners.

A month later her fame reached new heights when she won the Grand National on Minella Times, then in 2022 she added the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard.

Honorary MBEs are awarded to those who are from outside of the UK but who excel in their field in Britain.

“It’s an honour to see my racing achievements being recognised in this way,” said Betfair ambassador Blackmore.

“I have had some of the best days of my career racing in England. Cheltenham and Aintree have provided me with incredibly special days that I will never forget.

“I feel so lucky to get to ride the horses that I do, this award really is a privilege to receive.”

Alan King is preparing Trueshan for an autumn campaign after missing Royal Ascot for the third year in succession, with an eventual switch to hurdling still being “seriously considered”.

While victories in the Goodwood Cup, the Prix du Cadran and two wins in the Long Distance Cup have cemented Trueshan’s status as a top-class stayer, aspirations to bid for Gold Cup glory at the Royal meeting have now been scuppered by unsuitable conditions in each of the past three seasons.

King has resisted the temptation to enter his stable star for this year’s Goodwood Cup on August 1, instead electing to give him a mid-season break before sending him back to France in October.

“He’s fine and he’s going to have a break now, I didn’t even enter him for the Goodwood Cup. We’re just going to give him a little break for a few weeks and then train him for the autumn,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“We’ll probably train him for the Cadran again and then possibly Ascot on Champions Day or the Prix Royal-Oak, depending on how he is.

“If you keep on going all summer you’re praying for rain and I’d rather just give him the time now.

“No doubt Goodwood will probably come up soft to heavy and I’ll be kicking myself, but that’s the decision we made.”

Trueshan has been a beaten favourite in each of his two starts so far this season, since when he has undergone wind surgery.

It was in the immediate aftermath of his most recent defeat in Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes that King raised the intriguing possibility of sending him over obstacles at some stage, and it remains on the cards.

King said: “We’ll see how we get on come the autumn, but it will certainly be seriously considered.

“Giving him the break now helps in that regard too because otherwise you keep going all summer and all winter, which is difficult.”

Despite Trueshan’s absence King still saddled three runners at Royal Ascot, with both Tritonic and HMS President picking up minor honours.

Tritonic finished a creditable third in the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Stakes, while HMS President was beaten just a neck into second place by Okita Soushi in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Outlining future plans for the duo, King added: “Tritonic will go to Goodwood for the two-and-a-half-mile race, I think it’s on the Friday, and there’s a possibility HMS President will go to Newmarket next week over a mile and six (furlongs).

“After that hopefully he might go for the Ebor. He’s rated 101 now and that rating has got in for the last two or three years, I think. It’s going to be tight, but hopefully he might get in.”

Frankie Dettori will miss the ride on Emily Upjohn in the Coral-Eclipse after failing in his appeal against the nine-day careless riding ban imposed for his ride on Saga at Royal Ascot.

Dettori attempted to switch right-handed towards the rail in the early stages of the Wolferton Stakes and in doing so caused James McDonald to quickly snatch up Cadillac. Certain Lad and Notre Belle Bete, who were behind Cadillac, were also hampered in the scrimmaging.

Owned by the King and Queen and trained by John and Thady Gosden, Saga eventually finished fifth in the 10-furlong Listed event, which was won by Royal Champion.

An independent disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority on Thursday considered evidence from all relevant parties, including Dettori, and elected to uphold the careless riding offence originally decided upon by stewards on the first day of Royal Ascot.

The panel then retired to deliberate over submissions from Dettori’s legal representative seeking a reduction in the penalty, but ultimately decided that nine days was appropriate and made no amendment to the sanction.

Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Angus Eve intends to lift the mood of his dejected players, as they aim to keep their Concacaf Gold Cup campaign alive after being outclassed by Jamaica in a 1-4 loss that has basically eliminated the Soca Warriors from the tournament. 

Trinidad and Tobago's chances of claiming one of two spots from Group A evaporated thanks to goals from Demarai Gray (14th and 28th), Leon Bailey (17th) and Dujuan Richards (90+2). Andre Rampersad (49th) pulled one back for the twin island republic.

Angus and his team still have a glimmer of hope of progressing to the knockout stages, but it will require an unlikely win or draw against powerhouse and favourites United States in their final group fixture on July 2, while hoping newcomers St Kitts and Nevis also pull off an unlikely win over Jamaica by a wide margin.

United States, who hammered St Kitts and Nevis 6-0 currently heads the group on four points, same as Jamaica but with a healthy six-goal difference to Reggae Boyz three. Trinidad and Tobago are third on three points, while the Sugar Boys on their Gold Cup debut are yet to earn a point.

"We just have to pick the guys up, the dressing room is very dejected this is the first match we have lost in about nine for the season and we don't normally concede goals but I thought that the second half when we came back on I thought that we were really in the game and we created a lot of chances," said Angus, who rued what he thought was a handball against Jamaica's defender Damion Lowe.

In real time, it seemed the ball did in fact come off Lowe's hand and Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero thought so too when he initially awarded the penalty. However, by the VAR, the replay showed that the ball came off Lowe's head.

"I think the handball should have been a penalty. Unfortunately, we don't get to see it (replays) on the pitch anymore, at one point we had a tablet where we could see it. From where we were, the hand was in an unnatural position, but it was a penalty and then it wasn't a penalty, we didn't get any explanation as to why not," Angus argued.

Going into the second contest with a 5-4-1 defensive formation after a comprehensive 3-0 win over St Kitts and Nevis in their opener, Trinidad and Tobago seemingly had all their bases covered, but things didn't pan out as Angus expected.

Their defence was easily and consistently broken down by the Jamaicans who were quick to press the ball and the Soca Warriors were at times caught ball watching. In fact, Gray was left unmarked on both occasions when he scored and the one attempt Trinidad and Tobago made at pushing a high line, they were beaten by a timely run from Bailey who went on to beat Nicklaus Frenderup in a one-one-one situation.

The Soca Warriors did come into their own in the second have and looked threatening in open play, though they were unable to get anymore that Rampersad's cheeky heel finish.

Aside from possibly being star-struck, Angus believes there was some positives to work with which he is hoping they can improve on ahead of Sunday's encounter.

"I thought the second half we were way more positive it seems like we settled down better credit to Jamaica, the type of players that they have and the quality that they have in the team, we don't have that type of quality, so it was always going to be a struggle.

"But when you give away soft goals...I thought we gave away a lot of soft goals very early and we had to dig ourselves out of a hole. I think we also started really slow, but as I said I take full blame for it, the aim was to keep the game as tight as possible in the first half so we could go out and express ourselves a little bit more in the second half, but we just didn't defend well," Angus explained.

That said, the tactician gave some insight to his decision not to start three of his best players in what was a vital fixture.

"Triston Hodge had a tight hamstring, Kevin Molino is just coming back into football, and he complained that he was really tired so he didn't feel like he could start and then Auvray had some little knocks and bruises. So, we made the three changes, we were trying to keep the game a little bit tight in the first half so we could probably get those players on. 

"So, we had the plan from the time they got the goals, unfortunately we seem to be a bit nervous, I think big name (players) probably scare us and we made some bad mistakes. But I take full blame for the result because I am the coach of the team," he ended.

 

Frankie Dettori is still deemed to have ridden carelessly after his appeal against the nine-day ban imposed for his ride on Saga at Royal Ascot.

Dettori attempted to switch right-handed towards the rail in the early stages of the Wolferton Stakes and in doing so caused James McDonald to quickly snatch up Cadillac. Certain Lad and Notre Belle Bete, who were behind Cadillac, were also hampered in the scrimmaging.

Owned by the King and Queen and trained by John and Thady Gosden, Saga eventually finished fifth in the 10-furlong Listed event, which was won by Royal Champion.

An independent disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority on Thursday considered evidence from all relevant parties, including Dettori, and elected to uphold the careless riding offence originally decided upon by stewards on the first day of Royal Ascot.

The panel then retired to deliberate over submissions from Dettori’s legal representative seeking a reduction in the penalty.

Sir Busker is on the mend with a York return pencilled in after his right eye was saved by veterinary staff at the Dubai Equine Hospital.

The highly-popular gelding is trained by William Knight and owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds and gave connections a day to remember when winning the Group Two York Stakes last season.

He was then a gallant third at 100-1 in the Juddmonte International, before starting out with a second-placed run in the Tandridge Stakes early this year and then flying out to the Middle East.

Ninth in the Neom Turf Cup at Riyadh and 10th in the Dubai Turf at Meydan, the bay then suffered from an eye injury that required him to stay put in Dubai and undergo an operation.

The procedure – which took flesh from his haunches and grafted it onto his eye – was a success and prevented the eye from being removed and from his vision being completely lost on the right side.

Sir Busker has since returned home and has been eased back into work by Knight, who is hopeful he can be back for the Ebor meeting on the Knavesmire in August.

“We’ve just had to take it steady with him, but I would love to try and have him back for the York August meeting – maybe something like the Strensall Stakes,” he said.

“That’s what I’m thinking about, we’re not going to rush him to get there but we hope he gets there in his own time.

“It’s been a long road back but we’ve managed to save the eye and he’s got vision in there, it’s nice to have him back and have him in work.”

Knight feels a return to the routine of training has done Sir Busker the world of good, and by the time he takes to the track again his wounded eye should bear very few signs of the operation.

“He was quiet for a good period of time when he got back, not his usual self, but he’s just started to perk up in the past couple of weeks,” he said.

“By getting him back into work we’ve got the whole system moving again and that’s what has done him good, rather than just going on the walker and being led out, when that happens they start to lose a lot of condition. Now he’s back in work and I think he’s done very well for it.”

Of the healing process of the eye, he added: “It’s a bit pink but by the time it gets to racing I would hope it will have gone, aesthetically it doesn’t look great but actually it is offering the eye protection in a way.

“It’s quite bizarre, the whole thing, but it is an amazing procedure.

“The first thing was saving his eye and then making sure he’s still got vision in it, which he definitely has though the percentage is hard to gauge until the skin graft properly disappears.

“Then we can get a proper look, but if you wave your hand on that side he blinks, so there’s definitely some vision there.”

Defending champions, USA, climbed to the top of Group A of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup following a 6-0 drubbing of St Kitts and Nevis at CityPark in St Louis Wednesday night.

Jesus Ferreira scored a hat trick and Djordje Mihailovic added two more plus two assists to propel the USA to the resounding victory that sees the home side lead the group on goal difference over Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz who had earlier beaten Trinidad and Tobago 4-1.

The U.S. got on the scoreboard in the 12th minute when defender Bryan Reynolds played a ball into space that midfielder Gianluca Busio ran onto. He cut back across the box where Mihailovic was able to thump in the home the opener.

Reynolds then scored a stunner of his own in the 14th minute. After a corner kick bounced out of the box, Reynolds swung his foot, keeping his shot low and the ball kissed off the post and in for a 2-0 lead.

Next up, it was Jesus Ferreira scoring in the 16th minute, taking a pass from Alejandro Zendejas and running past a defender to fire a right-footed shot into the back of the net for a third goal in four minutes for the defending Gold Cup champion.

Ferreira doubled his tally in the 25th minute, making a run behind and ending up one-on-one with Saint Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Julani Archibald, who wasn’t able to stop Ferreira’s low right-footed shot that made it 4-0.

And his hat trick was complete in the 50th minute, with Mihailovic finding Ferreira in the box, and the forward putting a quick right-footed shot past Archibald.

The U.S. extended its lead to 6-0 in the 80th minute, swarming forward in transition. Mihailovic finished a move that started down the right wing and saw Christian Roldan register the assist

The Stars and Stripes close out group play against Trinidad and Tobago on July 2, while St Kitts and Nevis faces Jamaica on the same day.



 

York’s chief executive and clerk of the course William Derby hailed news that the Sky Bet Ebor winner will be handed a “golden ticket” into the Melbourne Cup field as “fantastic”.

The arrangement was announced on Thursday with the Ebor, won by the Frankie Dettori-ridden Trawlerman last year, becoming the seventh win-and-you’re-in race for the £4.4m event in November.

The Ebor, worth £500,000 itself, is the first international race to provide automatic entry into the Australian showpiece event, which has drawn the interest of plenty of European-based trainers over the years.

Dermot Weld was the first to taste success in 1993 with the legendary Vintage Crop and he repeated the feat with Media Puzzle in 2002.

Alain de Royer-Dupre and Mikel Delzangles then provided France with back-to-back wins with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), while Andreas Wohler struck gold for Germany in 2014 when Protectionist was ridden to victory by Ryan Moore.

More recently Joseph O’Brien twice (Rekindling 2017 and Twilight Payment 2020) and Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter (2018) have improved the overseas raiders’ record.

The Cup itself will be in York during the Ebor meeting with the feature race taking place on August 28.

“It is fantastic to officially connect two iconic races in the Sky Bet Ebor and the Lexus Melbourne Cup with the introduction of a golden ticket for the Ebor winner into the race that stops a nation and indeed much of the world,” said Derby.

“With the York winner having finished in the top 10 at Flemington in three of the four years preceding the pandemic, this great news will give confidence to winning connections that that their start at Flemington is secure, further linking two great races.

“We look forward to welcoming the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup on all four days of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival (23-26 August) on its annual tour across the world. This makes us more hopeful that it can return to Britain after the first Tuesday in November.”

Victoria Racing Club chief executive Steve Rosich said the alignment with York was a natural progression.

“The Ebor handicap has been a proven pathway into the Melbourne Cup over the years and it is fantastic to be able to build on the association with Flemington and York racecourse,” he said.

“The introduction of a seventh golden ticket is exciting for both clubs and the connections of all potential Ebor runners. It further cements the Lexus Melbourne Cup’s international reach and appeal.”

Deauville Legend could take on defending champion Pyledriver in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, with trainer James Ferguson confident he will take “a huge step forward”.

Fourth in the Melbourne Cup on his previous run at Flemington, the lightly-raced four-year-old produced a fine run on his return from a 235-day break when beaten just under three lengths by Pyledriver in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A head runner-up in last year’s King George V Stakes, Deauville Legend went on to take two Group races and his Newmarket handler is happy to meet Pyledriver again in the all-aged Group One contest at the Berkshire track on July 29.

“That was huge after an extremely long lay-off,” said Ferguson.

“We knew it would be a tough ask and he just went for his girths half a furlong from home, and he will probably take a huge step forward from that.

“Deauville Legend will probably go to the King George. He’s had two solid runs at Ascot now and it is a track he obviously likes.”

Zoology almost made it a meeting to remember for the young trainer, the three-year-old stepping up on his fourth-placed effort in the Greenham to run Age Of Kings to a length in the Group Three Jersey Stakes on vastly different ground.

He stayed on nicely inside the final furlong to claim the runner-up spot under Oisin Murphy, and Ferguson feels he may be ready to go up in trip.

He said: “I’ve always been confident in the horse and I’m very grateful to have a Zoustar of his calibre.

“He has just done better with age and he’s developed mentally as well as physically. He looks a different horse to the one we had six months ago – he’s changed that quickly.

“I thought he ran really well and potentially he could step up to a mile.

“The Greenham at Newbury was on terrible ground. He is genuine. That’s Zoustars for you – they are genuine and very honest. But I can’t tell you where he will go next.”

Likewise, Canberra Legend, who was beaten three lengths by Waipiro in the Hampton Court, could also be upped in trip next time.

A son of Australia, he had previously disappointed in York’s Dante Stakes, finishing ninth of 11 to The Foxes.

Ferguson was happy to see him bounce back to something like his best at Ascot and has pencilled in the Group Three Gordon Stakes at Goodwood on August 3 for his next outing.

“Just put a line through the Dante,” he insisted. “We saw the real Canberra Legend this time and he will probably step up to a mile and a half. He will probably go to the Gordon.”

Demarai Gray had a birthday to remember, as he got on the score sheet twice to lead Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz to a 4-1 win over Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A fixture, at Citypark in St Louis, Missouri on Wednesday.

Gray, making his second appearance for the Reggae Boyz, celebrated his 27th birthday in style when he scored his first goal as a Jamaican international in the 14th minute and added a second in the 28th minute.

The Everton winger’s second came after Leon Bailey (17th) doubled the lead, while Chelsea-bound rising sensation Dujuan Richards, who was an 82nd-minute substitute, capped the victory with his first senior team goal in the 90+2 minute. With that, the 17-year-old became the youngest ever goalscorer in Gold Cup history.

Trinidad and Tobago got what turned out to be a consolation through Andre Rampersad in the 49th minute.

The win –which was also Heimir Hallgrimsson’s first since taking the reins as Jamaica’s Head coach late last year –provisionally saw the Boyz to the top of the standing on four points, one ahead of Trinidad and Tobago.

Group favourites United States, on a point, were leading newcomers St Kitts and Nevis, without a point, 4-0 at half-time in the late kickoff.

The much-anticipated clash between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago

Was the first international men’s game to be played at the 22,000-plus capacity stadium and though it wasn’t the most attractive or entertaining encounter, the spectators that turned out were well treated to five goals.

It was initially projected to be a close contest, especially as the Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve opted for a defensive 5-4-1 formation that was expected to prove difficult for the Reggae Boyz to break down.   

But it became clear early that the objective of the formation would prove futile, as Michail Antonio dispossessed a defender a played a cheeky pass off to send Bobby Reid on his way. However, Reid took an unwanted touch and later hit the ball in the side netting.

The Soca Warriors briefly enjoyed a good passage of possession where they looked threatening in open play but couldn't create any meaningful opportunity and later found themselves behind.

In the 14th minute, a decent build up by the Reggae Boyz ended with Bailey finding an unmarked Gray, who buried his right-footed effort in the left corner beyond the slightly advanced, Frenderup in goal for Trinidad and Tobago.

Bailey doubled the lead three minutes later when he timed his run to perfection to latch on to a long pass from Joel Latibeaudiere and finished with aplomb in a one-one-one situation with Frenderup. The goal was initially flagged as offside, but that decision was later overturned on by VAR.

The Soca Warriors tried to play their game but were hardly allowed any room to cause any problems for Jamaica’s defence and, as such, only absorbed consistent pressure. 

They found themselves 3-0 down before the half-hour mark after Kevon Lambert won possession and found Antonio. The West Ham man then slipped by a defender and placed a pass on a platter for the wide-opened Gray to complete one of the easiest finishes of his career.

As the score remained unchanged at the break, the half-time team talk by Angus, coupled with Jamaica's defensive frailties, saw Trinidad pulling one back four minutes into the resumption.

Captain Levi Garcia got away from Jamaica’s debutant Dishon Bernard and drove a pass in for Rampersad to apply a back heel finish beyond Andre Blake, while under pressure from two defenders.  

Still, the Jamaicans continued to apply consistent pressure and created numerous opportunities to add to their tally, but those were squandered due to both faulty shooting and poor decision-making.

It wasn’t until close to the end that they got another when Richards’s shot from a distance took a wicked deflection and sailed past the flat-footed Frenderup, who had no chance.

Teams: Jamaica -Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Kemar Lawrence (Dexter Lembikisa 46th), Bobby Reid (Shamar Nicholson 62nd), Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Demarai Gray, Leon Bailey (Dujuan Richards 82nd), Michail Antonio (Corey Burke 77th), Dishon Bernard, Javain Brown (Daniel Johnson 62nd

Subs not used: Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Jahmali Waite, Kaheem Parris, Jonathan Russell, Adrian Mariappa, Amari’i Bell,

Booked: Brown (9th), Lowe (75th)

Trinidad & Tobago: Nicklas Frenderup, Alvin Jones, Sheldon Bateau, Kareem Moses, Aubrey David, Shannon Gomez (Molik Khan 76th), Malcolm Shaw, Andre Rampersad (Kevin Molino 63rd), Ajani Fortune (Kaile Auvray 46th), Levi Garcia, Neveal Hackshaw

Subs not Used: Marvin Phillip, Denzil Smith, Leland Archer, Luke Singh, Triston Hodge, Ryan Telfer, Joevin Jones, Real Gill, Kadeem Corbin

Booked: Hackshaw (5th), Bateau (41st), Jones (73rd)

Referee: Fernando Guerrero (Mexico)

Assistant referees: Enrique Bustos (Mexico); Jorge Sanchez (Mexico)

Fourth Official: Reon Radix (Grenada)

Var: Benjamin Pineda (Costa Rica)

Avar1: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica)

Former Barcelona and Argentina manager Gerardo Martino has been appointed as the new head coach of Inter Miami.

The 60-year-old Argentinian arrives at the Major League Soccer outfit co-owned by David Beckham after they sacked the latter’s ex-Manchester United team-mate Phil Neville earlier this month.

It will reunite Martino with his compatriot Lionel Messi, with the World Cup winner to join the Florida side after leaving Paris St Germain at the end of his contract.

Martino, who coached Messi with Barcelona and Argentina, said in a club statement: “I’m very excited to join a big club like Inter Miami and I know together we can accomplish many great things.

“The club has the necessary infrastructure to be a major competitor in the region and I believe that with everyone’s hard work and commitment we can get there.”

Beckham said: “’Tata’ is a highly respected figure in our sport whose track record speaks for itself.

“We are confident that his achievements in the game and experience as a head coach will inspire our team and excite our fans and look forward to seeing the impact he will have on and off the field.”

Martino has been a Copa America runner-up twice with Argentina and once with Paraguay, and also overseen Mexico winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Though his missed penalty saw the Reggae Boyz dropping points in their Concacaf Gold Cup opener against United States, winger Leon Bailey says it doesn't take away from the fact that he gave his best for the team.

With Jamaica up 1-0 in the first half of the game, Bailey could have doubled the lead but hit his 12-yard kick at a decent height for Matt Turner, in goal for United States to block. However, the Aston Villa man had a second bite at the cherry as the rebound came right into his path, but even then, he failed to capitalise with an empty net at his mercy.

The game ended 1-1 after Brandon Vazquez's 88th-minute strike, cancelled out Damion Lowe's 13th-minute goal at Soldier Field in Chicago.

While not using added pressure as an excuse, Bailey said critics have little idea of what it is like being a player of his calibre tasked with performing efficiently at all times.

"Do you know how much pressure I'm always under when I'm representing the national team? But that's no excuse for me because I've been in the game for too long now. I've been a professional for eight years. I'm used to pressure," Bailey said during a pre-game press conference on Tuesday.

The former Genk and Bayer Leverkusen player has often been heavily scrutinised for his style of play, as he tends to hog possession of the ball and oftentimes over dribbles, and, as a result, thwarts the team's progress in the process.

Still, Bailey, who made his Reggae Boyz debut in 2019 and has so far logged three goals and four assists in 19 games, rubbished those claims, while expressing his unwavering passion for leaving it all on the field.

"It has nothing to do with the way I play. If you watch how I play, you will see that I always try to do my best, I always work hard, and no matter what, I'll always give 110 per cent for my nation, and that will never stop," he declared. 

"If that means I didn't perform well, then so be it. When I walk off the pitch I want to know that I gave my 110 and I did that against the US and nobody's ever going to take that away from me. Once my family is good, the team is good, we're all good, I'm good. 

"I'm always going to be there for my teammates and so they're always there for me as well and that's what really matters. At the end of the day, football is a sport in that you win some, you lose some, you make mistakes, and you go again. That's just life and football," Bailey added.

The 25-year-old and the new-look Reggae Boyz team will be hoping to make amends when they take on leaders Trinidad and Tobago in their second Group A contest at City Park in St Louis, Missouri, this evening at 6:30 pm Jamaica time.

Meanwhile, United States and pointless newcomers St Kitts and Nevis, who went down 0-3 to the Soca Warriors in their open game, will do battle at 8:30 pm.

Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who is still hunting his first win since taking the reins, knows the importance of this fixture with their Caribbean rivals and, as such, is backing his team to come good.

"The second game is always important. A win for Trinidad would get them through. We know what we are facing; we need to get good results against them. We just want to go out there so we can have a good performance and hopefully a win. That's the only thing we are thinking about at this stage of the tournament," Hallgrimsson said. 

In their most recent meeting on Jamaican soil, Trinidad and Tobago won 1-0 with the other contest ending in as a goalless stalemate. 

“The Trinidad games we played in Jamaica, there was a lot of long balls, there was a lot of fight everywhere on the pitch; it was not played much on the ground, those matches. We kind of played the same style in those games. It wasn’t pretty to watch, so, hopefully, we can do better. When we have the ball, we can hopefully play better than we did in Jamaica," the Icelandic coach stated.

“We will not get anything for free. We will face hard tackles, a lot of balls to fight for — the first balls, the second balls, we have just been talking about that. We are growing as a unit, as a team, and the understanding between the players about the tactics is increasing as we play more games together. We will grow as a team,” he ended.

 

Kevin Sinclair has been named as the injury replacement for Yannic Cariah in the 15-member squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier tournament, being played in Zimbabwe, Cricket West Indies announced on Wednesday.

Cariah, the leg-spinner and left-handed batsman, had surgery on a nasal fracture last week after getting hit in the nets. He has not recovered sufficiently to resume playing at this stage, CWI said. Sinclair the tall off-spinner and right-handed batsman is due to arrive in Harare on Thursday.

The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 approved the replacement. The replacement of a player requires the approval of the Event Technical Committee before the replacement player can be officially added to the squad.

The Super Six stage will be played from Thursday 29 June to Friday 7 July. West Indies ended third in Group A with two wins and two defeats and play three Super Six matches against the sides qualifying in the top three positions from Group B. Those three matches will be against Sri Lanka, Scotland and Oman.

The final will be played at Harare Sports Club on Sunday 9 July. The two finalists will progress to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 to be played in India in October and November.

Full Squad: Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Johnson Charles, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd and Kevin Sinclair.

Super Six Match Schedule

(all matches start at 9am/3am East Caribbean/2am Jamaica)

Saturday, 1 July: Scotland v West Indies, Harare Sports Club

Wednesday, 5 July: West Indies v Oman, Harare Sports Club

Friday, 7 July: v Sri Lanka, Harare Sports Club

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