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.

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