Though Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz were again on the losing end against Brazil, Head coach Hubert Busby says they will use the lessons from the two-match outing as a stepping stone, as they gradually rekindled their competitive fire ahead of major tournaments.

Much like Saturday’s first encounter, the Girlz were again blanked 4-0, as Jheniffer (64th, 79th), Cristiane (7th), and Marta (84th) did the damage at the Fonte Nova Arena, in Salvador, on Tuesday.  

Still, the Jamaicans gave Busby his heart’s desire as they produced a much-improved performance at both ends of the park, but they were just not clinical enough to get on the scoresheet. However, to their credit, the Girlz did have a goal controversially ruled out for an offside, while Kayla McKenna slammed another effort into the upright.

While not happy about the scoreline, Busby lauded his team for the improved showing, which he believes represents a step in the right direction, especially with this being the first competitive tour together for the core players of last year’s World Cup team, in almost nine months.

“One of the things that we spoke about from the last match was improving our performance and I definitely was pleased with how we came and approached this game. Obviously not the result that we want because we come into every match to win and to get a result. But overall, the challenge was for the team to compete and show a better performance, and they did that,” Busby said.

Hubert Busby

“It's been an honour for us to be here in front of fantastic and passionate crowds and it's only going to put us in good stead, especially with some of our younger players who have come into a very hostile environment and learned what it's like to play at international level. So overall, you know, the two games aren't the results we want, but as part of the experience, it was exactly what we needed to start a new World Cup cycle,” he added.

Like Busby, attacking midfielder Atlanta Primus stressed the importance of regaining their competitive spirit and overall cohesiveness as a unit, and she is also of the view that Tuesday’s performance was a strong reminder of their capabilities.

“Obviously, it was important to come out and put a performance in. We haven't been together for a while, but I think to come and compete against one of the world's best is what we want to put ourselves back out there again. So, I think it was a good challenge for us and I think, moving forwards, these are the games you want to be involved in,” Primus reasoned.

“These are the games that are going to challenge us the most and set us up for the next World Cup, so, it's a challenge. Again, not the results we wanted, but credit to the girls, we worked hard, we put in a performance and I think today (Tuesday) was a lot better than we played on Saturday. So, yeah, credit to the girls and we keep building from here,” she stated.

Finally, Busby pointed to the strides made in Jamaica’s women’s football programme since they made their first World Cup appearance in France in 2019, as he believes the invitation from Brazil for the two-match friendly series is testament to that growth and development.

The now 42nd-ranked Girlz first engaged Brazil in 2019 and lost 3-0. However, they rebounded at last year’s global showpiece in Australia to not only hold the number 10-ranked South Americans to a goalless stalemate, but more importantly, made an historic appearance in the knockout round.

“When you think about where we are coming from 2019 to now, and think about the idea of Brazil inviting us to play in these matches, it's a huge testament to the programme and for us to be playing in these games is great. That wouldn't have happened four years ago, so it's a testament to how far we've come, but I know the group and the federation isn't satisfied just yet because we want to go even further,” Busby declared.

“It's very important that we play these games and we want to play tier one games and top teams in the top ten and top 20, because that's the only way you're going to grow. You know, you might not get the results you want, but it's always a measuring stick of which to find out where you are and how far you need to go to be the best,” the former national goalkeeper ended.

The New South Wales Swifts' recent decision to drop star shooter Samantha Wallace-Joseph in favor of teenager Grace Whyte for their clash against the Melbourne Mavericks has sparked considerable debate among fans and analysts. The Swifts ultimately fell 58-64 to the Mavericks, with Jamaican-born Shimona Nelson leading the charge for the opposition, scoring an impressive 41 goals from 45 attempts.

Wallace-Joseph, a three-time club MVP and crucial component of the Swifts' attack, was replaced by Whyte, who managed only two goals from two attempts during the match. The decision to sideline Wallace-Joseph raised eyebrows, especially considering her return to competition this season after a two-year hiatus due to knee surgery.

Head coach Briony Akle addressed the controversial move, clarifying that Wallace-Joseph's exclusion was not due to injury. "She's not actually injured," Akle told Fox Netball. "We've just made a call on our 11th player this week, so we've brought Grace in halfway through the season and will see what we can do there."

Akle's strategy appeared to hinge on recent team dynamics and injuries. Whyte had been elevated to the game-day squad to fill in for injured midcourter Maddy Proud. In round eight, defender Jemma Donoghue took that spot, and Whyte retained her place as a shooter, leaving Wallace-Joseph out of the lineup.

Helen Housby, a key player for the Swifts, explained that the decision was a "club decision" and "out of players' hands." Initial speculation suggested Wallace-Joseph might be managing a niggle due to her recent return from injury, but Akle's comments dispelled these concerns.

Wallace-Joseph’s reduced game time this season and her apparent stiffness in the Swifts' round seven loss contributed to the decision. However, the move to bench such an experienced player raised questions about the tactical rationale, particularly when Whyte spent half of her 30 minutes on court playing wing attack rather than in the shooting end.

Akle acknowledged the team's struggles, citing the anger and frustration following their lowest-ever Super Netball total of 33 goals in round seven. The decision to omit Wallace-Joseph may have been influenced by these circumstances, aiming to shake up the team dynamics under pressure.

As the debate continues, fans and analysts alike will be watching closely to see how Coach Akle and the Swifts navigate the challenges ahead, with Wallace-Joseph's role in the team remaining a focal point of discussion.

 

Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Jereem Richards is heading towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with a confident and relaxed mindset, feeling no pressure from the weight of national expectations. Richards, who recently clinched victory in the 200m at the Racer's Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica, expressed his satisfaction with his performance and his outlook for the upcoming Olympics.

Richards triumphed in the 200m at the National Stadium in Kingston last weekend, clocking an impressive 20.13 seconds. Reflecting on his race, Richards rated his performance highly. "I would rate it an eight out of 10. I felt really good in the warm-up. I thought I was ready to come off the turn in front of them although those guys are more one-two guys and I’m a four-two guy. Came off the turn not exactly where I wanted to be, but I know I’m strong and once I get tall, ain't much people could run the last 100m as effective as me."

While the time wasn't exactly what he had anticipated, Richards was pleased with his overall fitness and performance. "I won with 20.1. It wasn’t the time I expected, but I felt really good. If you give me three minutes (recovery) I could run that same time again. So praise God for the fitness level I have right now. I have to work on the speed a little bit more, but I believe everything is falling into the right time and the right place and when I actually need it to be, it’s gonna be there."

As Richards prepares for the Trinidad and Tobago national championships, he remains undecided on whether he will compete in the 200m or the 400m. Regardless of the event, his primary focus remains on maintaining his form and readiness for Paris.

When it comes to carrying the hopes of Trinidad and Tobago on the global stage, Richards feels no added pressure. The last time Trinidad and Tobago secured an Olympic medal was at the 2016 Rio Games when Keshorn Walcott won bronze in the men’s javelin. Despite this, Richards maintains a grounded perspective.

"To me, it’s no pressure. The way I think about it is the only people I really care about are my intimate circle—my family, my wife, my mother, and my close friends, my siblings also. Even though I know I will have the support of Trinidad and Tobago and the pressure of being expected to win a medal, at the end of the day, if I know I do well or don’t do well, my family and my intimate circle are the ones who actually do care about me outside of sport, so when I focus on them it takes away all the pressure."

Richards' approach emphasized the importance of personal support over external expectations. "People could say bad about performances, my family loves me each and every day and it doesn’t matter."

With this mindset, Jereem Richards is poised to tackle the challenges of the Olympic Games in Paris with confidence and composure, knowing that his success on the track is supported by the unwavering love and support of those who matter most to him.

 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda sprinter Joella Lloyd is setting her sights high as she begins her campaign at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday. The 22-year-old, representing the University of Tennessee, aims to break the sub-11 second barrier in the 100m, a goal she is confident in achieving after recently establishing a new lifetime best.

Lloyd qualified for the nationals with a lifetime-best 11.06 seconds, securing a third-place finish in her heat at the NCAA Division I East First Round on May 25 at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Facility in Lexington. This impressive time not only marked a personal milestone but also set a new national record for Antigua and Barbuda, officially earning her a spot at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

When asked about her ambitions for the NCAA Nationals, Lloyd did not hesitate. "Oh yes, sub-11 is the goal for nationals!" she affirmed, highlighting her determination to continue improving her times on the track.

Lloyd's aspirations extend beyond the collegiate championships. Having recently graduated with a Master’s in Sports Psychology and Motor Behaviour, she is also focused on representing Antigua and Barbuda in both the 100m and 200m at the Olympic Games in Paris.

This dual qualification would mark a significant achievement for the young sprinter, who competed in the 100m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but did not advance past the preliminary round, finishing with a time of 11.54 seconds.

"I’m trying to do both 100 and 200m, but I haven’t run the 200m as much this season," Lloyd explained in an interview with Sportsmax.TV. "Hopefully, with some meets this summer, I’ll be able to qualify for the 200m as well and run it in Paris."

Lloyd's lifetime best in the 200m stands at 22.66 seconds, a time she set in Oregon in June 2022. This season, her best effort in the 200m has been 23.36 seconds, recorded in Baton Rouge in March. Despite not competing frequently in the 200m this year, Lloyd is optimistic about her chances of qualifying and competing in both sprint events at the Olympics.

As she steps onto the track at Hayward Field, Joella Lloyd carries the hopes of a nation eager to see her break new ground. Her journey through the NCAA Championships is not just about individual glory but also about preparing for the ultimate stage in Paris.

 

 

 

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Senior Men’s Selection Panel has unveiled the 15-member squad set to tour England for the three-Test Richards Botham series, which starts at Lord's on Wednesday, 10 July 2024.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when the West Indies made their first trip to England.  The Teams now compete for the Richards Botham Trophy, named in honour of West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards and England great Lord Ian Botham.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite will continue his leadership role, with fast bowler Alzarri Joseph again serving as Vice-Captain. The team is scheduled to arrive in England on 23 June for a training camp at Tonbridge School, ahead of a 4-day warm-up match at Beckingham commencing on the 4 July. 

CWI Lead Selector, the Most Honorable Dr. Desmond Haynes, expressed confidence in the squad's composition.

“The squad has been shaped with both experience and emerging talent, ensuring a strong balance as we face the challenge of playing in English conditions. Over the past year, our red-ball program has continued to develop. Following our victory in the last Test in Australia in January, it is evident that we are seeing the fruits of that investment. Each player selected has earned their place through consistent performances and hard work. We are confident that this blend of seasoned players and emerging faces will perform admirably against England.”

Young Fast Bowler Jayden Seales returns to the squad having missed the last Test Series against Australia due to injury and experienced all-rounder Jason Holder has earned a recall having made himself unavailable for the last tour. 

There is also a first international selection for 23-year-old opening batsman Mikyle Louis. 

Louis, a former West Indies U19 International, scored 682 runs in his debut First Class season for the Leeward Island Hurricanes at an average of 48.71. Should he debut for the West Indies in England, he will become the first Kittitian to wear the famous Maroon test cap.

The West Indies 15-member test squad is as follows:

  1. Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain)
  2. Alick Athanaze
  3. Joshua Da Silva
  4. Jason Holder
  5. Kavem Hodge
  6. Tevin Imlach
  7. Alzarri Joseph (Vice-Captain)
  8. Shamar Joseph
  9. Mikyle Louis
  10. Zachary McCaskie
  11. Kirk McKenzie
  12. Gudakesh Motie
  13. Kemar Roach
  14. Jayden Seales
  15. Kevin Sinclair

These players will be supported by the following team management unit: 

  • Head Coach - Andre Coley 
  • Team Manager - Rawl Lewis 
  • Assistant Coach - Jimmy Adams 
  • Assistant Coach - Rayon Griffith
  • Assistant Coach - Shaun Tait 
  • Physiotherapist - Dr. Denis Byam
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach - Ronald Rogers 
  • Team Masseuse - Fitzbert Alleyne 
  • Team Analyst - Avenesh Seetram  

West Indies' last test match was a resounding victory in Australia earlier this year. Since then, all selected players were involved in the West Indies Championship, which concluded in April and was won by the Guyana Harpy Eagles. 

19-year-old fast bowler, Isai Thorne will travel with the squad as a development player, following impressive performances in this debut First Class season taking 31 wickets at average 16.29 in his first eight matches.

The West Indies are the current holders of the Richards Botham Trophy following the 1-0 Home Test Series win in March 2022.

 

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.