Jamaica Under-23 coach Donovan Duckie has called the team that was recently eliminated CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifiers as one of the worst physically prepared he has coached.

Despite being heavy favoured to advance to the next round of the competition, the Jamaicans were surprisingly eliminated after draws with St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.

 In the face of mounting criticism in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify, the coach recently revealed that the unit faced major shortcomings in terms of its physical preparation.

“I’ve been accused of being an antagonist and a person that lacks diplomacy.  So for months, I have been saying on several interviews that everything is ok with the Under-23 program,” a leaked voice note identified as Duckie claimed.

In my last interview, I said I took full responsibility for the failure of the team to progress but to tell you the truth this isn’t so, the responsibility has to be shared,” he added.

“When I took the job there were certain conditionalities, one was that the JFF provide a physical trainer. For over eight months a physical trainer has only come to a training session for three days. I can say that this is the worst physically team I have ever seen in my entire life…we cannot play competitively for over 60 minutes in any game and these are the results.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has confirmed its knowledge of the recordings and have promised to launch an investigation into the matter before an appropriate response of made.

Jamaica’s under-23 team will be in for a fight after their opponents in tomorrow’s final first-round CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament showed class in dismissing Dominica 4-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Cmplexo in Kingston.

The young Reggae Boyz, who started as favourites to win Group A, found a stubborn Dominica and had to come from behind to draw the game 1-1.

With just three teams in the group after Guyana pulled out, St Kitts and Nevis would find themselves with a glorious opportunity to go top with their game against Dominica to come on Friday.

St Kitts and Nevis took that chance, burying the Dominicans under four unanswered goals to take sole leadership of the group headed into the final game against Jamaica on Sunday.

With just one team from each group going through to the next round of Olympic qualifying, the Jamaicans face a must-win situations, while St Kitts and Nevis just need a draw.

In Group D, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will be in an almighty fight. The two play tomorrow at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal. Both teams have three points but Puerto Rico, who beat St Lucia 1-0 yesterday, have a goal difference problem after the Dominican Republic trounced Antigua and Barbuda 4-0 on the same day.

With four teams in that group though, both teams will have a chance to qualify when the Dominican Republic, faces St Lucia and Puerto Rico faces Antigua and Barbuda. Despite that, neither will want to lose tomorrow because they could face an uphill task come the final game.

In Group B, being played at the Ulrich Sports Complex Soccer Field, Cuba’s under-23s lost 1-0 to Barbados, who were playing their first game of the group after Trinidad and Tobago pulled out, making that a three-team affair as well.

Cuba had, earlier in the week, beaten the US Virgin Islands 2-0, but now face an anxious wait, as Barbados now have the change to go to six points and take sole leadership of the group and a spot in the next round.

Group C of the competition, which involves the Cayman Islands, Grenada, and Haiti, kicks off on Wednesday.

Cayman and Grenada play at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town on Wednesday, while Grenada tackles Haiti on Friday at the same venue.

Jamaica drew with Dominica and Lance Whittaker believes the home team are in trouble with talented 'smaller' nations.

Following Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw between Jamaica and Dominica, there is growing confidence within the St. Kitts and Nevis squad competing in the preliminary round of the men’s Olympic qualifying in Kingston.

Following two weeks of solid preparations, which ended with a 1-1 draw in a practice match against Antigua and Barbuda.

With the preparation behind them and having seen their opponents at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Wednesday, St. Kitts and Nevis believe their chances are good.

“From last night I feel we can match any team in this tournament,” said 21-year-old Yohannes Mitchum who just completed his contract with Puebla U23 in Mexico. “I am very confident that we can top the group.”

Team manager, Jamir Claxton, said his central midfielder’s confidence is not misplaced.

“We are very confident. This team is a very talented team that has been playing together for a number of years,” he said.

“In fact, the core of this team has been together from the 2017 CONCACAF U20 championships, plus some players from the last CONCACAF U20 tournament.

“Preparations have been going well. The majority of the players are playing in St. Kitts so there was no problem getting them together. Over the last two weeks, we had two overseas-based players join us.”

Besides Mitchum, the team boasts game-changing talent in several other positions as well. Midfielder Tyreese Shade suits up for Leicester City’s U21 team in the United Kingdom, Tahir Harley, a forward who plays for Village Superstars in the St. Kitts and Nevis Premier League and forward G’Vaune Amory will make life difficult for Jamaica and Dominica.

Success in the qualification process and the ultimate qualification for the 2020 Olympics would be an occasion for his country to savour.

“It would be a historic feat. It would mean a lot to the people of St.Kitts. This team is representative of our people,” Claxton said.

 “We are a small nation but we are always aiming for the stars to achieve an objective of that nature would bring joy, happiness and pride to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

St. Kitts plays Dominica at 4:00 pm (5:00 pm ECT) Friday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

 

 

 

 

History was made on Sunday at the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Group D as Dominica achieved its first ever CU20 victory in a 3-2 final over Saint Kitts and Nevis. 

St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago recorded lopsided victories against the Turks and Caicos and Guyana, respectively as the Caribbean Football Union Boys U14 Challenge series got underway on Saturday.

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