Spanish-speak Caribbean nation Cuba joined Central Americans El Salvador and Guatemala on the verge of progression to the Concacaf Men's Championships following their latest victories in their respective qualifying campaigns on Thursday.

Group A

Cuba edged Belize 1-0 at the Estadio Nacional in Managua, courtesy of Aniel Casanova 12th-minute strike, to pull level with host nation Nicaragua on nine points at the top of the group.

The other contest on the day saw British Virgin Islands (BVI) register their second win in a 3-1 beating of Anguilla.

Azarni Callwood (18th, 23rd, 89th) scored all three goals for BVI, while Jared Smeins (28th), pulled one back for Anguilla.

Group B

Guyana registered their first victory of the campaign when they edged Turks and Caicos Islands 2-1, at the ABFA Technical Centre in Piggots, Antigua and Barbuda.

 Ezekial Rowland's brace (32nd, 55th) was enough to get the job done for the Golden Jaguars, while Emmanuel Martin (90th) got on the scoresheet for Turks and Caicos Islands. Both teams are out of contention where topping the group is concerned.

The feature contest of the day ended with a massive three points for El Salvador, who blanked Suriname, 3-0.

Christopher Argueta (17th), Nestor Delgado (24th) and Kiano Casamalhuapa (66th) did the damage for El Salvador, who now sit atop the group on seven points, one point ahead of Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname, on six points each.

This makes things interesting heading into Saturday's final round of games, as Antigua and Barbuda will lock horns with El Salvador in a top-of-the-table clash, while Suriname will have the easier task against Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Victory for Suriname could propel them to the top, but only if the Antigua and Barbuda clash with El Salvador, end in a stalemate. 

Group C

Host nation Guatemala assumed pole position in the group with nine points, after a 4-0 win over Aruba, at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City.

Rudy Munoz (8th), Daniel Mendez (24th, 37th), Matthew Evans (45th) and Axel De La Cruz (85th) gave the home crowd much to cheer about.

Guatemala are now two points ahead of Curacao, with both set to meet in the decisive contest on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Barbados registered a morale-boosting 4-2 win over St Martin to take some positive from their failed campaign.

Barbados's goals came from Xavier Webster (1st), Ethan Taylor (77th) and Khalil Vanderpool Nurse (80th, 90+1), while Jaheem Joe (42nd) and a Warren Trotman own goal (72nd) got St Martin's goals.

Caribbean representative Haiti had a positive start in their hunt to secure qualification to this year's FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup, as they opened the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in Group A action in Toluca, Mexico, on Thursday.

Lourdjina Etienne scored both goals for the Haitians in the 45th and 60th minutes, while Daniela Ocampo (89th) pulled one back for Cost Rica.

This was the second meeting between the two nations at this stage of the tournament, the first coming back in 2010 when Costa Rica blanked their Haitian counterparts 2-0. However, Haiti, were in their element and returned the favour on this occasion.

They broke the deadlock in the waning moments of the first half on an excellent team goal in transition, as Pierreline Nazon found Desert Dominique, who then slotted a pass over to Etienne, who applied the perfect finish to put Haiti 1-0 up at the break.

Etienne got her second on the hour mark with a well-struck effort from just outside the 18-yard area that gave the keeper no chance at a save.

Costa Rica desperately sought a response and almost got one in the 75th, but Alondra Gonzalez’s shot was deflected wide.

The Las Ticas eventually pulled one back courtesy of Ocampo's firmly struck right-footer from a distance. But too little too late was the cry, as Haiti held firm defensively to pocket the three points.

With the win, Haiti sits second behind hosts Mexico on goal difference, after the latter blanked El Salvador 3-0 in their encounter.

Abril Fragoso (7th and 61st) and Dana Sandoval (57th) got the job done for the El Tricolor.

Mexico hit the ground running and opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Fragoso's sensational left-footed strike.

El Salvador had their moments in an attempt to pull level, but instead, the Mexicans doubled their lead when Sandoval fired home from just outside the area.

Fragoso then completed her brace a minute past the hour mark via from the penalty spot.

Meanwhile, United States and Canada are scheduled to face Panama and Puerto Rico in Group B action on Friday.

After Group Stage round-robin play, between February 1-6, the two group winners and runners-up will advance to the Knockout Stage. The Knockout Stage will begin with the Semi-finals on February 9, followed by the third-place match and final on Sunday, February 11.

The two finalists and third-placed team will join host Dominican Republic as Concacaf's representatives at the 16-team Under-17 Women's World Cup later this year. This will be the first time Dominican Republic hosts a FIFA World Cup, and their first participation at this age level.

The group stage of League A of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League came to a thrilling conclusion on Tuesday night, with Panama and Trinidad and Tobago emerging as the top two sides in Group A to qualify for next month’s quarterfinals.

Panama topped the group with 10 points, one point ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, who ended with nine points.

Panama vs. Guatemala

Panama enjoyed a commanding 3-0 victory over Central American rivals Guatemala at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City.

Adalberto Carrasquilla has been one of the best players in the Concacaf region in 2023 and he showed why again by scoring Panama’s opener in the 14th when an initial clearance from the Guatemala defense fell right to the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Best Player Award winner, who volleyed into net for a 1-0 lead.

Panama kept pushing and a pivotal moment came in the initial moments of the second half when a fantastic first touch allowed Cristian Martinez to get past Guatemala’s Nicolas Samayoa in the area, with Martinez then getting fouled. 

A penalty was whistled, and a red card was issued to Samayoa, followed by Eric Davis converting the spot kick in the 48th for a 2-0 lead and a man advantage for almost the entire second half. 

Panama’s dream night was then capped in the 90th when Abdiel Ayarza guided a header past Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen to seal the win.

El Salvador vs. Martinique

Martinique came up just shy in their bid for a quarterfinal spot in a 0-0 draw with El Salvador at the Estadio Nacional Jorge Magico Gonzalez in San Salvador.

Martinique finish in third place with seven points, while El Salvador earned their first point of the campaign.

Martinique had some good looks early and almost forced an own goal in the 24th when a back pass forced El Salvador goalkeeper Tomas Romero into a stretch save to prevent the opener.

El Salvador started to find their footing toward the end of the half and Mayer Gil’s strong shot was saved by Martinique goalkeeper Yannis Clementia right before halftime.

The second half saw El Salvador create two good scoring chances. The first fell for Leonardo Menjivar, who ended up missing over the crossbar at the far post in the 66th with the goalmouth open, followed by a Brayan Gil header in second half stoppage time that was saved by Clementia.

Martinique would muster the final chance of the night, as Crifar Mael’s effort in the waning seconds was saved nicely by Romero, who ensured the points were shared.

Curacao vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Curacao earned their first win of the group stage in impressive fashion with a 5-3 triumph over Trinidad and Tobago at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad.

It was an ideal start for Curacao, who took a 1-0 lead in the seventh when a long ball was played up to Rangelo Janga and the experienced striker finished with aplomb past Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Denzil Smith.

Curacao were hungry for more and they doubled the lead in the 12th when Kenji Gorre found Godfried Roemeratoe, who fired into net past Smith.

The Curacao attack was unyielding and a hard run from Gorre in the 54th ended in a foul in the Trinidad and Tobago area and a penalty kick. Gorre stepped up and easily converted from the spot, extending the Curacao advantage to 3-0.

Trinidad and Tobago were finally able to pull back a goal in the 68th as Ryan Telfer found Reon Moore with a cross from the right wing and Moore finished.

That goal shifted the momentum in Trinidad and Tobago’s and they further reduced the deficit in the 74th when a rebound fell for Kristian Lee-Him to latch onto and fire into goal.

Curacao had a golden opportunity to restore a two-goal advantage from the penalty spot in the 75th after a Trinidad and Tobago handball, only to see Smith save Brandley Kuwas’ penalty.

But three minutes later it was 4-2 via the penalty spot after a foul in the area. This time Juninho Bacuna stroked it into net for Curacao.

Curacao’s three-goal lead was then restored in the 81st when Roshon Van Eijma’s header hit the crossbar, but Janga was there to head in the rebound to make it 5-2.

Their chances at winning the group were fading away, but Trinidad and Tobago wanted to make sure they held onto the second spot, and they made it a 5-3 final scoreline in the 86th when a free kick was played in front of the Curacao goal and Kareem Moses poked home the loose ball.

High-flying Trinidad and Tobago are expected to seal a first-ever appearance in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals on Tuesday, when they square off against Curacao in League A action at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Curacao.

The Soca Warriors who have been in impressive form in Group A, currently sit atop the standings with maximum nine points from three games, and they are heavily favoured to make it four-from-four against their pointless host. It would also be a significant confidence booster for Angus Eve's side heading into the business end of the tournament.

With the top two teams in the group guaranteed a quarter-final berth from where they could possibly secure a place in the 2024 Copa America, today is the decisive day for Panama (seven points), Martinique (six points) and Guatemala (four points), who are all in contention. Curacao and El Salvador are both yet to register a point and have already been relegated to League B of next year's Nations League.

Fresh off a gutsy come-from-behind 3-2 win over Guatemala on Friday, the Soca Warriors will be brimming with confidence that much like they did with a 1-0 win over Curacao to start the Nations League campaign, they can repeat of even better that performance to end on a high.

Though they only need a point to be safe, midfielder Neveal Hackshaw said their mindset remains the same with a victory being their priority, as the aim is to top the group.

"They (Curacao) will come with everything, but they don't know what we are coming with. They say we need a point, but we are not coming for a point – we are coming for three points," Hackshaw said in an interview with TTFA media.

"That's what we want, that's what we been working for. No one believed we would be in this position, but we came into the group and showed them wrong. We showed we are a fighting team, and everything is possible," he added.

He called on his team-mates to stay grounded and "trust coach [Angus Eve's] decisions and whatever tactics he brings."

Reflecting on the Guatemala comeback, the Oakland Roots SC player said they got the job done by being united.

"We never argued with each other – we fought (for T&T) with each other. If somebody make a mistake, we bring them up and not push them down. That's leadership from everyone. It wasn't just a senior thing," Hackshaw noted.

Meanwhile, HFX Wanderers midfielder Andre Rampersad recalled their first meeting with Curacao and is hoping they can build on that with a statement performance.

"We want to maintain the unbeaten run, for sure. Four wins in a row, top the group, full points and make a statement," Rampersad declared.

"They (Curacao) were excellent keeping the ball in the first half (of the first game). But coming out in the second half we sorted it out, applied pressure and we were able to get the breakthrough goal in the end. It's going to be a physical battle, but I think we are going to come away with the victory," he said.

League A of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League continued on Friday with Panama, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago all collecting pivotal wins.

Curacao vs. Panama

Things in Group A got started at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curacao where visitors Panama topped Curacao 2-1.

Panama is now in second place with seven points, while Curacao have officially been relegated to League B with their third defeat.

Edgar Barcenas of Panama opened the scoring in the 29th on a play that was crafted by midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla, who lofted an inch-perfect pass to the running Cristian Martinez and the cutback pass hit Barcenas in stride, making for an easy sweep into net.

Panama doubled their advantage in the second half in the 77th through Jose Rodriguez, who expertly headed in a cross from Barcenas.

Curacao would get on the scoreboard in the waning moments of second half stoppage time, with Rangelo Janga executing a tidy header of his own.

Martinique vs. El Salvador

Martinique made a strong move up the table thanks to a 1-0 victory over El Salvador at the Stade Municipal Pierre-Aliker in Fort-de-France.

Martinique now have six points and sit in third place, while El Salvador, by virtue of this, their third defeat, have officially been relegated to League B.

Just like they did in their Gold Cup group stage meeting over the summer, Martinique struck first in the first half and took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd.

It was a well-crafted goal from Les Matinino, who worked the ball up the field, switching sides before a cross from the right wing by Damien Dussaut hit the cutting Johnny Marajo, whose right-footed shot beat El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez.

Martinique then had a great chance at doubling their lead in the 73rd when Brighton Labeau hauled in a pass deep in the area and used an exquisite first touch to have an open look at goal, only to see his shot sail wide.

El Salvador had one final chance in second stoppage time through Mayer Gil, but his shot rang off the post and rolled wide in front of goal, still three points were safe for Martinique.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala

The day in Group A then concluded with a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory for Trinidad and Tobago against Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Trinidad and Tobago remain atop the group with nine points, while Guatemala remain in fourth place with four points.

It was a dream start for Guatemala, as Rubio Rubin struck for the opener in the 12th by touching home a shot right in front of goal off a pass from Nathaniel Mendez.

Guatemala doubled their lead in the 32nd when an initial attempt from Oscar Santis was blocked by a defender, but Santis’ follow-up attempt was smashed off the post and in for the goal.

But Trinidad and Tobago responded well and pulled back to within a goal at 2-1 in the 35th when Alvin Jones converted a penalty after Noah Powder had been fouled in the area.

Trinidad and Tobago kept the pressure on and were back on level terms in the 54th when a Neveal Hackshaw header was saved by Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen, but Reon Moore was there to hammer home the rebound.

Play remained wide open going into the final half-hour, with Guatemala nearly retaking a lead in the 70th on a Jose Pinto header that hit the crossbar and dropped onto the goal-line before being cleared.

The final says, though, belonged to Trinidad and Tobago, as Nathaniel James, who came off the bench to score a late winner on matchday one against Curacao, did it again, this time firing in a free kick in the 89th to deliver the telling blow.

As members of Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men's team head back to their respective clubs, they do so with the words of captain Aubrey David etched in their minds as they eye a quarter-final berth in the Concacaf Nations League.

David, who was named captain after the sudden retirement of Kevin Molino earlier this month, reminded the Soca Warriors that while they continue to revel in what was a massive achievement taking three points off El Salvador, the job to bring their Copa America vision to fruition is far from finish.

Trinidad and Tobago ended the recent window atop Group A in League A on maximum six points, following a 1-0 win over Curacao and an impressive come-from-behind 3-2 win over El Salvador in hostile territory. Panama (four points), Guatemala (four points) and Martinique (three points) are next, while Curacao and El Salvador are pointless in the six-team group.

Two more positive results against Guatemala and Curacao in October, would secure the twin island republic a top two finish, as well as a spot in the quarterfinals, from where they could secure qualification for next year’s Copa America tournament in the United States.

“All the noise that is going on outside we blocked it out and we believed in each other here. Maybe only us and our families believed in us and we made them proud and we made ourselves proud. It’s a big, big accomplishment and it has been a longtime coming,” David said after the win in Central America.

“Feel good about yourselves yes because it’s a big achievement, but when we go back to our clubs, let us take care of ourselves because we still have more to go,” he added.

David, 32, who plays professionally in Costa Rica and has over 70 international caps, pointed to the significance of not only building on the momentum from this window, but also guarding against complacency, especially with Panama and Guatemala both within striking distance.

"So, whether you are going to an international club or locally, let us take care of ourselves because we still have a good way to go. It is just a small hurdle we crossed (with the win against El Salvador) so feel good about it, but when you go back to your club, keep putting in the work because we have a job to finish,” he said in a heartfelt post-match team talk.

“It is only up from here and what it does is give us that confidence and belief that we belong. Again, I know some of you were getting your foot wet at this level, but you have a good base and experience to build on and when you come here and get this kind of victory, you don’t just go back and stay on the same level, you try to raise your game,” he reasoned.

Group A of League A of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League completed its September window on Sunday, with Trinidad and Tobago moving to the top of the group with their second win in two matches.

Martinique vs. Curacao

The day started off with Martinique edging Curacao 1-0 at the Stade Pierre-Aliker in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

An even first half gave way to a second half that started with a bang, as Martinique took a 1-0 lead in the 48’ when Brighton Labeau rose up above a pair of defenders and steered a header into net.

Martinique kept their foot on the gas in search of a second score and were awarded a penalty in the 62’ when Mickael Biron was fouled by Juninho Bacuna in the Curacao area. Biron stepped up to take the spot kick, but was denied on a soaring save from Curacao GK Trevor Doornbusch.

The game loosened up in the 67’ when both teams were reduced to 10 men, as captains Leandro Bacuna of Curacao and Martinique’s Daniel Herelle were sent off with straight red cards.

Minutes later Curacao were on the doorstep for an equalizer when a deflection fell to Kenji Gorre right in front of goal, but Gorre was unable to get a shot on target, with the ball caroming to Jearl Margaritha, who missed the follow-up completely.

Margaritha had one final crack in second half stoppage time, but the block was made from the Martinique defense to secure the three points.

Guatemala vs. Panama

In a duel of teams who left their mark on the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, Guatemala and Panama played to an exciting 1-1 draw at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Gold Cup finalists Panama could not have asked for a better start, as they earned a penalty just over five minutes into the match when Jose Fajardo was taken down from behind in the Guatemalan area. Eric Davis stepped up and calmly stroked home a left-footed attempt into net for a 1-0 Panama lead.

Panama remained on the front foot as played drifted into the second half, but soon enough the Guatemala attack, just like it did in their Gold Cup quarterfinal run, came to life and they got their reward in the 71’ to pull level 1-1.

A foul on the left edge of the box resulted in a free kick, and Oscar Santis duly obliged by steering home a right-footed effort over the Panama wall and into net.

El Salvador vs. Trinidad and Tobago

The day wrapped up with Trinidad and Tobago rallying for a 3-2 victory over El Salvador at the Estadio Jorge Gonzalez in San Salvador.

El Salvador were aggressive from the start and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 17’ when Dustin Corea played in a free kick that Eriq Zavaleta met with a perfectly placed header into net.

Trinidad and Tobago’s response was almost immediate, as Reon Moore played in a cross to Ryan Telfer from the left wing, and the first touch gave Telfer the time and space to fire into the net the 1-1 equalizer in the 22’.

Things were wide open to begin the second stanza and Trinidad and Tobago made the most of it, taking a 2-1 lead in the 51’ through Malcolm Shaw, who converted a penalty after being fouled in the box by Zavaleta.

Right back came El Salvador to pull even 2-2 in the 53’ courtesy of Brayan Gil, whose nodded header off a corner kick deflected right back to him, allowing him to guide a shot into net.

Back and forth the teams went with each looking for a winning score. That precious third goal would fall for the visiting Soca Warriors, as a falling away Justin Garcia managed to pop a header over El Salvador GK Tomas Romero in the 72’ to make it 3-2.

El Salvador pushed hard for a third to get a point, but Trinidad and Tobago GK Denzil Smith was excellent in net and made the saves to lock down the three points.

Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Guatemala all emerged with home victories to kick start League A of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League on Thursday.

The day started with Trinidad and Tobago edging Curacao 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Curacao created majority of the scoring chances in the first half but overall, the finishing of the two sides was off target, leaving things scoreless going into intermission.

Trinidad and Tobago started to take control in the second half, creeping closer to goal, including a Reon Moore shot that flashed just wide in the 74th minute.

The decisive score came in the 87th and it was from 19-year-old debutante Nathaniel James, who took a nodded down header from Ryan Telfer and cranked a shot into net for his first Soca Warriors goal.

There was still work to do, though, to secure the three points and goalkeeper Denzil Smith made sure of it, making a one-on-one save against Curacao’s Jearl Margaritha in the 90th to nail down the win.

Panama started with a 3-0 win over Martinique at the Estadio Universidad Latina in Penonome.

It was an ideal start for the Canaleros, as Jose Fajardo made it 1-0 in the 9th when he finished off an inch-perfect pass from 2023 Gold Cup Best Player Award winner Adalberto Carrasquilla.

Panama remained on the front foot but would have to wait until the early stages of the second half to extend their advantage to 2-0. Ismael Diaz struck in the 47th thanks to a cross from the right wing from Eduardo Guerrero, allowing Diaz to nod home a header.

Martinique looked to pull a goal back and almost did so in the 86th when a superb backheeled pass set up Mickael Biron with a golden opportunity, but the shot-stopping ability of Panama's goalkeeper Cesar Samudio proved pivotal.

Cecilio Waterman then put the finishing touch on the Panama win with a strike in the final seconds of stoppage time.

Rounding out the day was an all-Central American contest between Guatemala and El Salvador at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where the home side secured a 2-0 triumph.

It was all Guatemala at the start and after Nathaniel Mendez fired over the crossbar in the 7th, Carlos Mejia opened the scoring in the 15th by heading in a chip from Alejandro Galindo, making it 1-0 to Guatemala.

Mendez was then clipped in the El Salvador area in the 28th, leading to a penalty for the hosts, but Rubio Rubin’s effort was swallowed up by El Salvador's custodian Tomas Romero.

The spot kick save sparked the El Salvador attack and they nearly evened things up when Amando Moreno went just wide in 44th with an effort.

Guatemala reasserted their authority to start the second half and Mejia was a whisker away from a second but was unable to connect on a cross with the goal gaping wide open for him.

Guatemala kept pressing and the big insurance goal came in the 78th on a hammered left-footed shot from substitute Pedro Altan, doubling the lead and wrapping up the three points.

Trinidad and Tobago’s impressive run at the Central American and Caribbean Confederation (CCCAN) Swimming Championships, continued on the penultimate day of action, with the in-form Liam Carrington leading the way in El Salvador on Thursday.

Carrington’s exploits in the boys’ 13-14 age group, saw Trinidad and Tobago in third position as the highest ranked Caribbean Island with seven gold, three silver and 11 bronze medals, followed by Haiti with three gold, two silver and one bronze, while Jamaica, who also had some decent performances in patches, comes next with three gold and six bronze. Dominican Republic (one gold, three silver and seven bronze), are next.

Mexico with 69 gold, 62 silver and 31 bronze, head the medal standings ahead of El Salvador (eight gold, six silver and nine bronze).

Carrington continued his impressive vein of form, as he topped the boys’ 13-14 400m individual medley (IM) in a new personal best 4:42.35, which saw him become the third fastest Caribbean athlete in the event.

It was Carrington’s third gold medal of the five-day championship at that point, as he won ahead of the Mexican pair of Hector Zamora Monzon (4:46.34) and Fernando Rodriguez Cuevas (4:48.95).

The Jamaican pair of Kia Alert and Noland Barrett also showed fine form, as both extended the Caribbean celebrations with back-to-back gold medal performances in the girls’ and boys’ 11-12 50m freestyle.

Alert, who entered the final with the fastest time of 28.05s, justified favouritism, as she outclassed rivals to win in 27.79s, not too far off the record of 27.46s held by Jillian Crooks of Cayman Islands since 2018. Mexico’s Carolina Romero Ojeda (28.01s) was second, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Breanna Belmar (29.09s) third.

In the boys’ event, Barrett, who earlier clocked a personal best of 2:07.21 for bronze in the 200m freestyle – Jamaica’s first medal in the age-group event in 20 years –proved more formidable in the shorter format. He stopped the clock in 26.29s, ahead of Mexico’s Bernardo Gomez Gonzalez (26.44s) and Felipe Alvarez (26.58s).

Jamaica had another bronze in the girls’ 13-14 event courtesy of Rianna Scott, who touched in 27.71s, behind the Mexican pair of Valeria Tarin (27.22s) and Sylvanna Luna Casillas (27.31s).

Darren Belfon (24.33s) and Carrington (24.52s) then secured a one-three finish for the twin island republic in the boys’ 13-14 50m freestyle, with Mexico’s Carlos Moreno Sarmiento (24.48s), separating them.

Trinidad and Tobago had more success in the girls’ 15-17 50m freestyle where Amari Ash, left rivals in her wake to win in 26.71s, bettering Mexico’s Valeri Villarreal Rodriguez (26.95s) and Habbi Abrin Vargas (27.04s).

The boys’ 15-17 50m freestyle was won by Panama’s Julio Rodriguez Rosales (23.43s), ahead of Haiti’s Raphael Grand Pierre (23.68s) and Javier Nunez Barreras (23.75s) of Dominican Republic.

Carrington was again the Caribbean’s top performer in the 100m backstroke sequence, as he won the 13-14 event in 59.21s, again denying a Mexican duo in Oliver Lund Centelles (59.36s) and Matt William Flores Mora (59.47s).

The Caribbean’s next best performances came in the boys’ 11-12 event where Zion John Baptiste of Virgin Islands Swimming placed third in 1:05.66, behind Matias Rojas (1:04.91) of Costa Rica and Felipe Alvarez (1:05.66).

Trinidad and Tobago’s Johann-Matthew Matamoro (58.83s) was also third in the boys’ 18 and over event, behind Costa Rica’s Guido Montero (58.33s) and Diego Angel Montoya Arias (58.70s) of Mexico.

Haiti’s Christian Jerome was the Caribbean’s lone medallist in the 200m butterfly sequence. He topped the boys’ 13-14 event in 2:10.51, turning back the challenge of another Mexican duo Franco Santiago Soria Marquez (2:12.13) and Erick Raul Villalpando Frausto (2:14.95).

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago brought the curtains down on the penultimate day of action with a bronze medal finish in the boys’ 13-14 4X200m freestyle relays. The team of Carrington, Anpherne Bernard, Liam Roberts and Belfon, clocked 8:28.03, behind Mexico (8:08.99) and Costa Rica (8:24.33).

Following an underwhelming performance at the PanAm Gymnastics Championships in Colombia, Tyesha Mattis promised to bounce back better and stronger. 

Thought that strong comeback didn't translate into a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games All-Around medal as she would have hoped, the English-born artistic gymnast took home the next best thing from El Salvador –an historic bronze medal in the uneven bars competition.

For Mattis claiming Jamaica's first-ever medal in the event at the Games with a score of 12.750, was an emotional experience given the many setbacks she faced each time she enters a major competition with high expectations.

Mexico's Paulino Campos (13.400) and Panama's Andrea Navas (13.050) were the top two in the uneven bars, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Annalise Newman-Achee (12.200) was fourth.

Along with that bronze medal, Mattis also contested the balance beam All-Around finals, where she finished seventh and eighth with scores of 10.350 and 47.850 respectively. Mattis’s sister, China also contested the All-Around final but didn’t see it through to the end, while Newman-Achee placed sixth with a score of 48.750.

Campos (12.650) and Navas (12.000), again took the top two spots in the balance beam, with another Mexican Alexa Moreno (11.550) in third. However, Navas topped the All-Around battle with 50.500, ahead of Moreno (49.650) and another Panamanian Alexandra Heron (49.450).

“Overall, I feel like I had an amazing competition, and I was so impressed with how I did, making history being the first Jamaican gymnast to medal at CAC Games. I am also very happy that I had my mum and my sister out there with me supporting me and I’m so impressed with my sister making AA finals as well with me. I just can’t wait for another competition to get out there and represent Jamaica again and do a bit better than I did this time,” Mattis told Sportsmax.tv.

Jamilia Duffus and lone male gymnast Canada-born Elel Wahrmann Baker were also among Jamaica’s representatives at the Games.

The 24-year-old Mattis, has always been a prominent figure among Jamaica’s standout performers since switching allegiance last year, and after months without making a podium at numerous events, she pointed to an overwhelming sense of redemption, which resulted in her tearful wave to the crowd after competition.

“It has been a very emotional rollercoaster because I’ve worked so hard over the years, coming back from injury before joining team Jamaica and then not always executing in competition, like I do in training. So after having such a bad performance in Colombia a few weeks ago, I was just excited to make a comeback at this competition and perform great routines,” she shared.

“I know I am more than capable of doing great things, and I just need to trust that my body can do the work and again, not putting too much pressure on myself. It can be a bummer when you work so hard in the gym and when you really want to put out your best, you make mistakes, so I am pretty excited about this accomplishment, I’ve learned from those mistakes and this is now a step in the right direction,” Mattis added.

That direction is towards the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in September where Mattis hopes to prove that this medal stemmed from her immense potential and unflinching desire to make it big for Jamaica, as oppose to a hefty dose of good fortune.

To achieve that, and by extension, possibly qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in France, she knows it will require more solid performances.

“I am really looking forward to a better performance next time out at the World Cup in September. Looking forward to trying some different routines there and putting out more of my skills as I know I have so much more up my sleeve and I have always said that the more I compete internationally, the more confident I feel,” Mattis noted.

“So, I can’t wait to compete at that World Cup. I’m feeling very motivated and excited about the future,” she ended.

He may not fancy wearing the cycling gold-medal favourites tag, but Nicholas Paul's current vein of form certainly puts him in that position heading into the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador. 

Paul, who started his season with a series of unstoppable performances at the UCI Nation’s Cup in Milton Canada, as well as the ‘Speed Paradise’ and the Carnival of Speed events at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva, all in April, followed that up with victory in the Men’s Elite Sprint at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Class One event in Germany recently.

The Trinidad and Tobago stalwart again placed his class on display at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina where he won the Sprints and Keirin, while clocking a new track record 9.349 seconds in the flying 200m.

Paul also joined forces with compatriots to place second in the Team Sprint and he rightly expressed delight at the accomplishments.

"Firstly, I would like to give God thanks because without him none of this would be possible. The Pan American Cycling champions in Argentina was a great experience, my races were well executed, and I am very happy with my performance," Paul told SportsMax.tv.

"It was also great to have my countrymen there with me and a great feeling to have won a team medal as well. Everyone on the team played their part, we performed accordingly and came out with a good result," he added.

While those performances represent a massive boost to his CAC Games charge and positions him to achieve other targets this year, the 24-year-old is by no means grandstanding against rivals in El Salvador.

"I am definitely pleased with another solid performance going into the CAC Games. It's all about trying to be consistent while working towards my ultimate goal which is Olympic Games qualification.

"But every event is different, and I am confident but not overconfident, so my plan presently is to just do my best for my country while taking things one competition at a time," he shared.

Though the mindset is always to improve on previous performances and that requires a holistic approach and a strategic vision of what he wants to achieve. 

"Presently I don’t have any planned changes to my programme for CAC Games, however, I’m always focused on getting better at my craft every day, therefore changes can be made accordingly, but we will see how that goes as time goes by," Paul said.

 

With some of Jamaica's young female football players being an important phase of their development, Xavier Gilbert believes the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games represents a good opportunity for them to express themselves as they continue their growth process.

In fact, Gilbert, who will serve as Head coach for the youthful outfit to the June 24 to July 7 Games in El Salvador, says it important to expose players to competitive tournaments like these, especially since they represent the next generation of senior Reggae Girlz.

Olufolasade Adamolekun, Chris-Ann Chambers, Mireya Grey and siblings Mikayla Dayes and Malika Dayes, are the only players in the 20-member squad with senior Reggae Girlz experience.

The rest of the team, stacked with overseas-based players, comprises players who just completed the Under-20 cycle, while Shanhaine Nelson, Sydoney Clarke and Logan McFadden, are making a return to the programme.

The Girlz are drawn in Group B alongside Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Puerto Rico for the football tournament which begins on June 28.

"As you can see the makeup of the squad is mostly young players so this is just another opportunity for development and should be an excellent stage for those young players to go out and express themselves without fear of failure. Yes, we want to win some games and we hope to give a good account of ourselves but again, this tournament is more than a win at all cost mentality," Gilbert told SportsMax.tv. 

"We want to play in a way that is conducive to developing technical footballers that can dominate possession and stay on the ball under pressure. So, exposing our young players to the competitive cauldron of tournaments like this is only beneficial if as coaches, we stay true to our aim of development, keeping it centered on the players," he added.

Gilbert pointed out that familiarity among the players will be crucial to their competitiveness, as the team will enter the tournament with very little preparation under their belt.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be having a lot of training sessions but whatever we can do, we will make the best of it before the first game against Colombia. The good thing is that a lot of the players are familiar with each other which is good, we just have to ensure that we do everything we can do to make sure there is good camaraderie once we get to El Salvador," he said.

It is for that reason why Gilbert welcomed the addition of some senior players, noting that their experience will be invaluable in not only assisting the younger players to adjust both on and off the field, but from a leadership perspective, they can ensure everyone is on one accord.

Goalkeeper Chambers was an integral part of the Reggae Girlz historic World Cup qualification in 2018 and was the team's ambassador at the 2019 showpiece in France, while Adomolekun and Grey were a part of the squad that paraded their skills against Australia, Italy and Brazil at that same world tournament.

“It is good to have them on board, as they will provide some level of leadership and the expectation again, is just to give the level of exposure to these young players, most of whom might be in the next (senior Reggae Girlz) cycle. So having this level of exposure is really good for them and Jamaica’s football," Gilbert noted.

“I think we should be able to give a good account of ourselves, the teams, especially Mexico will be taking their strongest units so I think that will be our toughest test. Of course, Colombia, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, will have a strong unit as well and are quality opponents. But we remain focused on what it is that we want to accomplish, and I am sure we will have much to be pleased about at the end of the Games," he ended.

Squad: Andrene Smith, Chris- Ann Chambers, Dannique Wilson, Davia Richards, Destiny Powell, Katie Oakley, Kersha Thomas, Lauren Reid, Logan McFadden, Maliah Atkins, Mikayla Dayes, Malika Dayes, Mireya Grey, Natoya Atkinson, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Shaneil Buckley, Shanhaine Nelson, Sheyenne Bonnick, Sydoney Clarke, Theanna Burnett

 

 

Wolves’ Tyler Roberts and Leicester City’s Brandon Cover headline a 20-man Jamaica Squad set to participate in the CAC Games in El Salvador. Collegiate star Olufolasade Adomolekun and Mireya Grey of the Seattle Sounders headline the women’s squad.

Roberts, 19, made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in an International Friendly against Trinidad & Tobago in March while Cover, also 19, recently made his Reggae Boyz debut against Jordan.

On the women’s side, Adomolekun has represented the Reggae Girlz 16 times since her debut in 2019 while Grey has score one goal in eight games since her debut in the same year.

The following players and staff have been selected to represent Jamaica at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador. The competition starts on June 24 and ends on July 7 while football begins on June 28 and ends on July 6.

The men must be 22 years old or younger, while there is no age restriction for the women.

The men are drawn in Group B with Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras while the women are also drawn in Group B alongside Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The full squads are as follows:

Men

Adrian Reid

Anthony Bennett

Asher Hutchinson

Brandon Cover

Christopher Matthews

Christojaye Daley

Daniel Russell

Devonte Campbell

George Grant

Jaheim Thomas

Jahshaun Anglin

Marlon Allen

Matthew Baker

Philando Wing

Romain Blake

Ronaldo Webster

Rushike Kelson

Shaniel Thomas

Stephen Young

Tyler Roberts

 

 

Women

Andrene Smith

Chris- Ann Chambers

Dannique Wilson

Davia Richards

Destiny Powell

Katie Oakley

Kersha Thomas

Lauren Reid

Logan McFadden

Maliah Atkins

Mikayla Dayes

Malika Dayes

Mireya Grey

Natoya Atkinson

Olufolasade Adomolekun

Shaniel Buckley

Shanhaine Nelson

Sheyenne Bonnick

Sydoney Clarke

Theanna Burnett

 

 

Staff 

Xavier Gilbert

Wendell Downswell

Marcell Gayle

Michael Jackson

Rudolph Austin

Andrew Sewell

Karen Clarke-Lumsden

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago bowed out of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship at the Round of 16 stage after suffering an agonizing 2-3 defeat to El Salvador at Estadio Pensativo in Guatemala on Sunday.

El Salvador had the best possible start to the encounter, taking the lead in the third minute as Bryan Vasquez slotted home a powerful shot from just outside the box after a failed clearance from T&T.

The young Soca Warriors levelled proceedings in the 33rd minute through Rio Cardines and the teams went into the half-time interval locked at 1-1.

Twenty minutes into the second half, El Salvador once again found themselves in the lead when Captain Walter Menjivar scored from close range.

The Trinidadians kept fighting, however, and their persistence was rewarded in the 79th minute when Malachi Webb latched on to a Derrel Garcia through pass before calmly finishing past El Salvador goalkeeper Alexander Aguilar to make it 2-2.

The teams would remain deadlocked after 90 minutes, meaning extra time was needed to determine who would advance to the quarter-finals.

Both teams got chances throughout the first half of extra time but the game-winning goal came in the 107th minute when Michael Ventura unleashed a vicious right-footed shot from 30 yards out that gave T&T goalkeeper Ailan Panton no chance.

El Salvador will play Mexico in the quarters on Tuesday.

 

 

United States coach Gregg Berhalter believes salvaging a late draw in the CONCACAF Nations League at El Salvador will help his side to grow.

Alexander Larin scored in the 35th minute to put El Salvador on course to end a 19-game winless streak against USA, which has spanned 30 years.

But Jordan Morris popped up in the 91st minute with his 11th international goal, and first since November 2019, to steal a 1-1 draw on the road in difficult, rainy conditions.

That was after both teams had players sent off, with American Paul Arriola dismissed for a lunging tackle on Larin and Ronald Gomez for a challenge on Yunus Musah.

Berhalter has two more friendlies to evaluate his side before the World Cup in Qatar, and says the performance at El Salvador will go a long way to developing their character.

"The group grows with moments like this," Berhalter said. "After the game, Jordan Morris walks into the locker room and everyone starts cheering.

"Everyone's uniform is a dark brown colour, the shoes are a mess, the staff is all dirty. This is what builds teams."

Morris' Seattle Sounders team-mates were hammering Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 in MLS while the El Salvador clash went on, and he reminisced on youth football in America leading to this moment.

"These are kind of some of the fields I used to play on as a kid," Morris said.

"Being from Seattle, obviously, it's not the mud – the rain. I love playing in the rain. So I was just embracing that moment. I think the team as a group just embraced the challenge."

Christian Pulisic captained his country but all eyes were on Haji Wright as the forward competes with the likes of Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike for a place up top.

While Berhalter was left somewhat underwhelmed by Wright's performance, he assured that it will not be his final chance in the side.

"It's always difficult when players get an opportunity and don't fully capitalise on it," Berhalter said. "It's not nice for a coach. It's not nice for the player. It's not nice for the group.

"We were all rooting for Haji to be a force. We purposely played more direct in the first half because we thought he could be the force that would unsettle them.

"And it just wasn't his night. That doesn't rule him out for anything in the future. We don't work like that."

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