Ricardo Gardner’s love affair with Reggae Boyz not yet an end?

By August 20, 2018
Ricardo Gardner Ricardo Gardner

If the word of Jamaica Football Federation General Secretary, Dalton Wint, is to be believed, former Reggae Boy and Bolton Wanderers mainstay, Ricardo Gardner, will continue to coach the national under-20 unit. 

The under-20 programme has been dormant since a Gardner-coached team crashed out of the Caribbean Football Union qualifiers in 2016, with the failure expected to cost the former national representative his place on the squad.

The issue of who would coach the team and what that team would like came to the fore just recently when the young Reggae Boyz were in Pot 1 of the 2018 CONCACAF Men’s under-20 Championship. The draw for that competition is set to be held on September 13.

According to Wint, the dormancy of the under-20 team is really down to the very active nature of the youth programmes at the moment.

Wint explained in an interview with The Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica that camps for the senior, under-23, and under-14 teams, as well as the women’s under-15 squad were putting resources under strain at the moment, but that the situation was set to change by the end of the week.

"The (national U-20) coaches have been named already. It is just for us to officially put them into camp and get things going. No coaching change as far as I am concerned," said Wint when contacted by The Gleaner.

The CONCACAF Under-20 Men’s Championship is set to kick off November 1 and through until the 21st.

Despite the relatively short preparation time after a coach and squads are announced, Wint insists there has been no neglect of the unit, a problem that has shown up in tournaments past.

Wint points to a potential practice match in the United States between now and November as evidence that the team has not been forgotten.

We are going to have some practice games. We have a game in the United States that we are trying to finalise," he said.

Jamaica have been joined in Pot 1 by Cuba, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Canada.

Pot 2 comprises Bermuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Curacao, Aruba, Suriname and Antigua and Barbuda.

In Pot 3, there will be St Lucia, Guyan, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico, while Pot 4 is made up of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, The Cayman Islands, Barbados, Dominica and Belize.

Pot 5 boasts the United States Virgin Islands, Martinique, St Maarten, St Martin and Montserrat.

The teams will vie to be in one of six groups labelled A to F, where seeded teams, The United States (A), Mexico (B), Honduras (C), Panama (D), Costa Rica (E), and El Salvador (F) will await them.

The teams, 35 of them, will have one round of group play after which the group winners go to a second round with two groups of three. The winners of the second-round groups will play in the final. Those two, along with the second-place finishers from the second round will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Related items

  • Nice 1-4 PSG: Mbappe stars on return as leaders see off nine-man opponents Nice 1-4 PSG: Mbappe stars on return as leaders see off nine-man opponents

    Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

    The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

    Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

    Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

  • Messi: PSG star Neymar not wanted at Barcelona by some Messi: PSG star Neymar not wanted at Barcelona by some

    Lionel Messi believes a return to Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is "complicated" because some people do not want him back at the club.

    Neymar attempted to engineer a return to Camp Nou during the previous transfer window, just two years after leaving for the Ligue 1 side in a world-record €222million deal.

    The strained relationship between the two clubs was said to have impacted transfer discussions, however, and the Brazil international remains a PSG player.

    Messi starred in a front three alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez and they remain in contact, but the Argentina star is unsure if a reunion at Barca will be possible.

    "We talk often and we have a group chat with Luis Suarez," Messi told Buenos Aires radio station Metro 95.1. 

    "The issue of his return is complicated. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left.

    "There are people from the club and members who do not want him to return. If it is for sporting reasons, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand the other factors."

    Messi, presented with the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this week, recently declared he intends to see out the remainder of his career at Barcelona.

    However, unlike fellow club icon Andres Iniesta, he has ruled out signing a lifetime contract

    "That was talked about a while ago, as was done with Iniesta and the others," he said.

    "I don't want a contract to tie me up because I don't know how I'm going to feel. I don't want to be [under contract] if I'm not well.

    "I'm going to compete as long as I feel good physically, but obviously I would stay a lifetime."

    Messi also opened up on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, who he competed with for team and individual honours for just short of a decade during the Portuguese forward's time at Real Madrid.

    Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018 and Messi admits Barca's Clasico showdowns with Madrid have lost some lustre as a result.

    "Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league," Messi said.

    "It made the Clasicos more special and gave them more value."

  • Simeone praises goal-shy duo Costa & Morata Simeone praises goal-shy duo Costa & Morata

    Diego Simeone praised the enthusiasm of Atletico Madrid strikers Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata despite their struggles in front of goal this season.

    Atleti have just one win from their past five LaLiga games but are only three points behind leaders and city rivals Real Madrid.

    Simeone's men have drawn a blank in each of the four encounters they have failed to win in this stretch.

    Costa and Morata have each scored only once in the league so far this campaign, but Simeone sees little reason to be concerned about the duo.

    "I think they are great, they're doing good, even if they haven't proved it with goals yet - and I know that's their bread and butter," Simeone told a media conference. 

    "I think their involvement, predisposition and their will to improve is awesome. I hope they keep it that way, it's their challenge

    "They both scored one goal in La Liga, Morata played less than Diego but I see both are enthusiastic. I can see they want to improve.

    "We have to keep calm and know they are two important players for this club and the team. We hope that they will start scoring soon since it's part of their lives, [but] I sincerely think they're doing good."

    Atletico welcome Valencia to the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, with Simeone hoping his players hit their stride quickly upon returning from the international break.

    "When they come back from the national team, it is not easy," Simeone added. "They're playing more and more games with the national team and that's difficult for the teams and obviously for the players as well.

    "They play almost every day. We hope they adapt again really fast to the club and competition.

    "Tomorrow's game is against a competitive and historic team like Valencia, they are really powerful at recovering and counter-attacking.

    "A few things are changing with [Albert] Celades from what it was with Marcelino, but obviously the team already had a structure and I imagine the coach is combining it to do the best for the team.

    "They are dangerous, dynamic and have a dangerous counter-attack, and we think that's the way our rival will play tomorrow."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.