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Jamaica Sunshine Girls star shooter Jhanielle Fowler-Reid admits that the team was ‘devastated’ to be facing an almost certain exit from the Netball World Cup following a loss to England on Monday.

The Jamaicans entered the tournament full of confidence as the world number two ranked team behind Australia.  They certainly failed to live up to the elevated spot, however, following losses to 3rd ranked England and 5th ranked South Africa in the preliminary round.

Jamaica, with one win and two losses, lie third in Group B on two points, and now have to defeat Scotland and Uganda by huge margins and hope that England or South Africa lose their remaining games in order for them to sneak into the semi-finals.

Fowler-Reid, the West Coast Fever goal shooter, has delivered her usual outstanding play so far but was quick to admit that the team was bitterly disappointed, particularly with higher expectations placed on their shoulders ahead of the tournament.  The attacker, however, insisted the players would try to recover.

 “We’re devastated, we’re disappointed because we wanted to go further,” she said. “But what can we do? We’re not going to kill ourselves.”

 

 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls went into the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup on a high. Days before the competition began in Liverpool, England, the Caribbean netball queens had risen to number two in the world rankings.

World number two-ranked Jamaica were left searching for answers after a stunning upset at the hands of South Africa at the Netball World Cup on Sunday.

Facing a deficit for most of the match, the Sunshine Girls fought back late on, but in the end, the South Africans held on for a 55-52 victory.  Led by shooter Lenize Potgieter the Proteas established an early 16-9 lead after the first quarter.

Jamaica played much better in the second quarter, but it was South Africa who stretched their lead by another four goals as they netted another 16 points.  At half time the score was 32-21 at half-time.  A big third quarter from Jamaica saw the team outscore the South Africans 17-10 to begin the final period just four points adrift. 

The top three in each group advance to the second preliminary phase. South Africa’s win over Jamaica sets them up well for the run to the semi-finals.

The Jamaicans were two down heading into the final minute and saw their chances ended when the Proteas won a crucial interception.  Jhanelle Fowler-Reid led the way for the Jamaicans with 38 goals from 39 attempts, Potgieter was 36 from 39 for the South Africans.

Despite a poor shooting night from ace goal shooter Romelda Aiken, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls have managed to maintain a perfect record after two games at the Vitality Netball World Cup in England.

Playing against Trinidad and Tobago, who were on the backfoot after an opening-day loss to South Africa, the Sunshine Girls started slowly but eased away to a 68-43 win.

“Not the best start. Not the start we wanted,” said Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the Sunshine Girls captain.

Fowler-Reid was referring to the closeness of the first quarter the Sunshine Girls just managed to edge, 17-15.

Unfortunately for the Sunshine Girls’ Caribbean opponents, they could not keep pace and lost the second quarter 25-8, to go into halftime 42-23.

“We picked it up in the second quarter,” said Fowler-Reid, who was also quick to point out that her team needed to quit making unforced errors.

T&T would not quit after that dreadful second quarter and scored 11 goals in the third but still trailed badly on account of 15 goals from the Sunshine Girls.

At 57-34, going into the final quarter, the game was well and truly over, but credit to T&T, they were not in the mood to throw in the towel, giving as good as they got to end the quarter 11-9. Of course, that was no help on the final scorecard but it might give the Caribbean side some confidence headed into their final group game against Fiji.

Aiken ended her night with seven goals from 13 attempts, a very conservative outing for the usually prolific goal shooter. Rebekah Robinson didn’t have a great game at goal attack either sinking 11 of her 20 attempts, but fortunately for the Jamaicans, their squad runs deep.

Fowler-Ried, replacing Aiken, was brilliant, knocking down 38 goals from just 40 attempts, while Shanice Beckford was almost lights out from the goal attack position, scoring 12 of her 14 attempts.

The four were largely too good for the efforts of T&T’s Samantha Wallace, 19 of 24, Jameela McCarthy, five of six, and Kalifa McCollin, 19 of 21.

Speaking about Aiken’s sub-par performance, Fowler-Reid, expressed confidence.

“There is no concern for Romelda. She will be ok for the next game. She just had to get over some jitters and remember how good a shooter she is,” said the skipper.

Fowler-Reid did issue a warning to her teammates though, saying South Africa were not the team to make the kind of mistakes they have, against.

“There are too many turnovers. These are unforced errors. Errors that we cause on our own. South Africa is going to punish us if we do that because they are an awesome team,” said Fowler-Ried.

While issuing the warning, the skipper did return to her confident base, saying she was sure the team would get it right when the time came to do so.

“We know what we can do and we can correct that in no time,” she said.

Assistant Referees Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing and Princess Brown are basking in the glory of World Cup heaven.

The Jamaicans are back home after an exemplary stint at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France where Concacaf giant the USA retained its title after blanking The Netherlands 2-0 in Lyon on July 7th.

Yee Sing and Brown, who were among eight Assistant Referees and five Referees representing Concacaf at the showpiece, top of their performance with doing duty in the semi-final match between The Netherlands and Sweden.

The Jamaicans supported Canada’s Soleil Beaudoin, who was in charge in the middle.

The pair continues to be the region's standard bearers, after last year becoming the first Caribbean officials — male or female — to feature in a World Cup final at the Under-17 tournament in Uruguay.

Prior to being awarded one of the two semi-finals, the team of Brown and Yee Sing, along with Beaudoin, officiated three other games with distinction.

It started on June 8 with the Group B clash between Germany and China at Roazhon Park, Rennes, followed by the June 17 Group A fixture between Norway and South Korea at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

Their next assignment came on June 23, the Round of 16  between host France and Brazil at Stade Océane, Le Havre. The team was also reserved for two other contests.

Both Brown and Yee Sing are floating on Cloud Nine after the magical, life-changing experience.

“It was a great moment and an honor for us, it was also a challenge. We knew that we had to go out there and we had to work very hard to get another game, so we took it one game at a time to achieve our goal.

“I was really surprised (when we got the semi-finals) because you have other referees who were there who had a lot of World Cup experience, and for us to be there it was a great privilege,” noted Brown, the more experienced of the two.

 Brown, who rose from the deep rural Jamaican community of Mosquito Bottom in St Elizabeth parish, had made her debut at a global event when she officiated in one match at the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015.

The Jamaican made an observation on the use of the cutting edge Video Assistant Referee (VAR), which, on review, overturned an off-side call by her in France. 

“It's a different system and you have to know how to work with VAR. I had a decision with VAR and I felt bad in myself not making the right decision because even though you have help, you want to make the decision on your own, but it is an experience and I was glad that VAR was there to correct me and I just have to move on from that,” Brown noted.

Yee Sing described the overall experience as “an amazing feeling”.

“It was my first World Cup and it surpassed what I went there to do, so I am happy about this accomplishment.

“We took it one game at a time, but to be doing a semi-final, I said to Princess I think I am a small fry compared to the other referees that were there. So I was totally surprised that I got to do a semi-final on my first attempt and I am really proud of that,” Yee Sing noted.

She said while it was her first time performing at the highest level, she was neither intimated nor fearful.

“There was no fear to make my calls because from what we learn at home, training should reflect the game and everything that we did in training is basically what came out in the game and our referee gave us that confidence in ourselves to make decisions and help her to make decisions, so we could look good as a team.

“So basically it is what we have been doing in training and how they see our growth, how we perform each game and how we improve on whatever task they gave us that may have resulted in us getting the semi-finals. And to be honest, they told us we exceeded their expectation, just as how we exceeded our own expectations,” she said.

Jamaican Olympian Twilet Malcolm died on Wednesday morning in Houston, Texas, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 50 years old.

Eleven teams comprised of more than 200 players and officials from six counties are expected in Jamaica later this month for the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Under-19 and Under-18 Championships at GC Foster College.

Jamaica added 20 medals including nine more gold medals from their day-one output to conclude the 2019 NACAC U18 and U23 Championships in Mexico with 39 medals to finish third behind Mexico’s 63 and the United States’ 56 medals.

Despite the fact that, for the first time in the competition’s history, two Caribbean teams, Haiti and Jamaica, were in the final four of the Gold Cup, no players from those nations managed to find their way into a Best XI. 

Jamaica Head Coach Theodore Whitmore had nothing but respect for both the United States and Jamaica after a wild night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.  

Defending champions the United States set up a blockbuster CONCACAF Gold Cup final against rivals Mexico after beating Jamaica 3-1.

Goals from Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic sent USA through to Sunday's decider following a weather-interrupted semi-final in Nashville.

After McKennie's early opener, Wednesday's game was stopped for one-and-a-half hours due to lightning, but USA were not to be denied when the clash resumed in the 16th minute, with Pulisic doubling the lead seven minutes into the second half.

USA did concede their first goal of the tournament as Jamaica substitute Shamar Nicholson set up a nervy finale with 21 minutes remaining but Pulisic capitalised on another rebound to make sure of the result in the 87th minute.

It was a rematch of the 2017 final won by a Bruce Arena-led USA and the hosts burst out of the blocks and were relentless in attack, with Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake preventing a certain goal by somehow denying Paul Arriola from point-blank range in the fourth minute.

But USA were not to be denied five minutes later as Bradley picked out Reggie Cannon before Jozy Altidore laid the ball onto the oncoming McKennie, who fired past Blake.

However, USA's momentum was abruptly halted by a lengthy delay due to serve weather in 16th minute and the temporary suspension aided Jamaica.

Jamaica emerged from the delay with renewed energy and looked far more threatening, while the United States were disjoined and lacked rhythm.

The half-time interval provided USA with the chance to regroup and the Americans did just that as they moved 2-0 ahead through Chelsea-bound Pulisic in the 52nd minute.

Morris latched onto a McKennie pass and managed to get a shot off, with Blake only parried the ball straight into the path of Pulisic, who tucked away the rebound.

After Gyasi Zardes wasted a great chance for USA, Jamaica's Nicholson headed a Leon Bailey cross into the net to pull a goal back for the 2015 and 2017 runners-up, only for Pulisic to pounce on another rebound with three minutes remaining.

 

Another final for USA

After the pain of missing the 2018 World Cup, USA's rebuild under Berhalter continues to gather pace. Mexico stand in the way of back-to-back Gold Cup triumphs in the first final showdown between the nations since 2011.

Bradley, McKennie impress

It was a fine team display by USA. Not short of critics, veteran midfielder Bradley was cool and calm in possession with his passing a clear highlight. Schalke's McKennie, meanwhile, showed why he is so highly rated with a goal and a couple of defence-splitting balls.

Jamaica can hold heads high

For much of the game, Jamaica were outclassed. But the Reggae Boyz, despite limited resources compared to their USA counterparts, made it tough for the six-time champions just like they did in the 2017 final.

What's next?

USA will look to retain their crown again Mexico in Chicago on Sunday, while Jamaica can look ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League – starting against Antigua and Barbuda on September 6.

United States Manager Gregg Berhalter has plenty of respect for his team’s opposition in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals. It was none other than Jamaica who beat the U.S. 1-0 in a pre-tournament friendly in Washington D.C. back on June 5.

“We’ve been watching them and it’s a good team,” Berhalter said. “We see similarities in the way they played in Washington to the way they’ve been playing in this tournament.”

Berhalter broke down some of his studies on the Jamaica team.

“We know they’re not afraid to play for second balls,” said the coach. “They’ve got wingers coming inside to win second balls. They’ve got some good physicality and quality up top, with attacking midfielders who support the play.”

“They’ve got good counter-attacking quality, good speed up front, and a robust backline,” Berhalter continued. “We’ve been really looking at how we can break them down and do it efficiently.”

The U.S. and Jamaica have matched up in the semifinals or the final in the last two editions of the tournament, a 2-1 win for Jamaica in the 2015 Semifinal in Atlanta and a 2-1 win for the U.S. in the 2017 Final in Santa Clara, California.

Jozy Altidore, who scored one of the great Gold Cup goals in that 2017 Final, has played just once in this 2019 tournament. Berhalter was asked about Altidore’s status going into the semifinal.

“Jozy’s exactly where we need him to be,” Berhalter said.

When asked if that meant he was ready to play on Wednesday, Berhalter replied, “He’s been ready to play.”

Berhalter then concluded by saying that he already has his mind made up as far as his starting eleven against Jamaica is concerned.

The semifinal between the U.S. and Jamaica kicks off at 9:30 ET on Wednesday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Chairman of Jamaica’s Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel Kent Pantry has been appointed as an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Pantry’s appointment is with immediate effect and is for a term of four years.

The United States will take on Jamaica at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Wednesday night for a spot in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final. 

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