A sensational second half strike from Dimitrio Andro earned Robinhood of Suriname a 1-0 victory over Jamaican side Cavalier in the first leg of the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Cup Final at the Dr. Ir. Franklin Essed Stadion in Paramaribo, on Thursday night.

It was a fairly cagey start to the contest as both teams took their time to feel out each other, before Carlos Da Silva's 15th-minute header gradually broke the shackles for Robinhood.

Cavalier heeded the danger and responded with a warning shot of their own through Shaquille Cairo 33rd-minute attempt.

The Jamaican side upped the tempo after the interval and almost broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, but tournament-leading scorer Shaniel Thomas's effort went just wide.

Minutes later Robinhood's goalkeeper Jonathan Fonkel was called upon to make a soaring save to deny Ronaldo Robinson.

Just when it looked like Cavalier had the home side on the ropes and were set to break through, Robinhood turned the half on its head when they found the go-ahead goal in the 69th minute against the run of play. This, as Andro rifled a right-footed shot that lodged into the top right corner of net.

Andro’s excellent strike made for a vibrant finish, with Robinhood buoyed by momentum, while Cavalier tried desperately but couldn't find the elusive equalizer.

With that, the stage is set for what should be an explosive second leg inside Jamaica's National Stadium on December 6.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz remain in a tough position to make next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, despite coming from behind to secure a 1-1 stalemate with Panama in their penultimate qualifying fixture at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Marta Cox gave Panama a 31st-minute lead from the penalty spot, but that was cancelled out by Shaneil Buckley's 45th minute strike, which ensured the Jamaicans a share of the spoils.

With the point, Panama inched up to seven points and booked their spot in the inaugural women's Gold Cup, while the Jamaicans, who were earning their second point, must beat second-placed Guatemala (four points) on Sunday to get into the Gold Cup prelims.

Though disappointed that they didn't secure all three points on this occasion, interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert is backing his team to get by Guatemala on Sunday.

"It was a competitive game, unfortunately things didn't go entirely according to plan, of course we wanted to win, but we also wanted to ensure that we didn't lose tonight, that was our first objective.  We are still in with a shot with just have to get the job done against Guatemala, in terms of speed and depth, we have a better unit and so I fancy our chances more against Guatemala," Gilbert said in a post-match interview.

The contest started at a decent tempo with the Jamaicans using their pace and athleticism to exploit the wide channels, as they were more threatening in open play, but were unable to make the most of their half chances.

In the ninth Melissa Johnson broke down the right channel and should have at least tested Yenith Bailey in goal for Panama, but the build-up was undone by indecision.

Nine minutes later, Buckely broke down the right and played a pass inside, and Davia Richards couldn't connect at close range.

Panama patiently played their game and went close in the 28th minute when Cox played a through pass in for Natalia Mills, but Serena Mensah, in goal for Jamaica, left her line well to avert the danger.

However, the visitors were given the opportunity to break the deadlock when Lauren Reid seemingly got ball in a challenge on Mills, but Honduran referee Melissa Borjas Pastrana awarded the penalty, which Cox converted.

The Reggae Girlz probe for the equalizer came on the stroke of half-time when a weighted cross from the left by Malikae Dayes was well finished by Buckley from close range.

Gilbert's side again started purposeful and applied consistent pressure throughout but didn't really put anything meaningful on goal.

In fact, there best effort of the stanza came in the 68th when Njeri Butts cross inside was skipped by captain Chinyelu Asher for Marlo Sweatman, whose shot lacked the power to beat Bailey.

From there, but teams nullified each other, as their search for the winner proved fruitless.

"I don't think we did anything wrong; we just didn't score. We have to score goals to win games and we just didn't get on the scoresheet when we got our chances," Gilbert said, as he also fielded questions about the substitutions.

"We are in a different dynamic from the other teams. They are playing one game and they are finished, while we are playing two games in five days. I know what I am working with, we had to be smart in terms of our approach to each game, so we couldn't be erratic and make a number of substitutions here, I also understand the situation that we are in and we are just going to give it our all on Sunday," he declared.  

On December 2, fans of boxing will witness the return of former Wray and Nephew Contender Champion and Junior North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Middleweight Champion, Kemahl 'Hitman' Russell (15-1, 11KO’s), as he steps into the ring against the formidable Mexican Middleweight Champion, Rafael 'El Iraki' Ortiz (16-5-1, 9KO’s).

The highly anticipated eight-round showdown will unfold at the Pickering Casino Resort Arena in the Greater Toronto area, marking Russell's third fight since his remarkable comeback after a five-year hiatus.

Following an intense eight-week training camp, Russell exudes confidence as he gears up for the challenge presented by Ortiz. Acknowledging his opponent's prowess, Russell anticipates a dominant performance, stating, “My performance will remain the same as my last fight. I feel sharp and strong, all that rust from my absence is finally gone. I’m ready for war on Saturday.”

Expressing optimism about the upcoming bout, Russell added, “Camp has been solid, there are a few hiccups here and there, but I make the most of my situation as I always do. I will be entertaining and electrifying. I expect to get this guy outta there by the third round.”

Promoter Tyler Buxton holds Russell in high regard, stating, “I expect Kemahl to showcase all of his skills and abilities in this fight. Ortiz is Kemahl’s toughest opponent since his return. Ortiz upset Omar Chavez last year and isn’t scared of a tough test.”

The upcoming fight marks Russell's third under the United Boxing Promotions banner this year. His victories in April against Marcos Cornejo and September against Juan Raygosa, both by TKO, showcased his return to top form.

The decision to base his training camps in Toronto aligns with his new promotional stable, emphasizing top-notch facilities and strong connections within the Jamaican community.

Russell’s chief cornerman, Ryan “RG” Grant, expressed satisfaction with the Hitman’s progress, stating, "Simple, Kemahl has been out here, camp just keeps getting better and better. We are both excited about this fight coming and looking forward to making some big moves in the new year after we take care of business Saturday night.”

Promoter Tyler Buxton explained the strategic decision behind hosting Russell’s training camps in Toronto, emphasizing its role in Russell’s continued success and marketability. Buxton added, “Kemahl’s quickly becoming a fan favorite here in Ontario. We have a large Jamaican following for our roster with the likes of Ricard “Big12” Brown, Shakeel Phinn, and Joshua Frazer. Kemahl is great with the fans after the events, taking photos and saying hi. He could be a main event very soon.”

As the final week of preparation unfolds, Russell remains focused on fine-tuning his skills and refining his strategy. Addressing adjustments to training in a new location and with new personnel, Russell cryptically stated, “I’m more comfortable being uncomfortable. My adjustment has been good, and I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time, with the right people.”

 Russell's upcoming bout against Ortiz, officially promoted by United Promotions, promises to be a thrilling clash, with the added excitement of fellow Jamaican heavyweight Ricardo ‘Big 12’ Brown (9-0, 9 KO’s) taking on Josef ‘The Gladiator’ Darmos (14-6-3, 10KO’s) in a bid for title contention and a perfect knockout streak. Boxing enthusiasts can anticipate a night of high-caliber action at the Pickering Casino Resort Arena.

 

Interim Reggae Girlz Head Coach Xavier Gilbert is well aware of the need for his players not only maintain their focus, but also to execute efficiently and consistently for the next over 180-plus minutes, if they are to achieve the desired results in two must-win Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures.

The first will be against a gritty Panama outfit that will be riding high on the fact that they defeated the Jamaicans 2-1 in their first meeting and, more importantly, hold pole position in Group B on six points, which means they only need a point at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Kickoff is at 7:00pm.

For Gilbert and his Girlz, who sit at the foot of the three-team table on a point, the objective is pretty straightforward –win and they are into the group stages of next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.

But the tactician is well aware that it is much easier said than done and, as such, is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances of taking three points at home, before visiting second-placed Guatemala (four points) away, on Sunday.

“We had three good sessions, and things went well, one player joined us let, but apart from that, all the players have settled in well. They know what is at stake, and you can tell by the mood in the camp that they are ready to give it their best shot,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“They have responded well to our request in terms of adjustment to the system of play, which is good, so what we did, was use the final session (on Tuesday) to tighten up on a few things and areas in which believe we need to strengthen. So, I am optimistic that once they execute how we want them to, we will come out with a positive result,” he added.

Should the Reggae Girlz defeat Panama, it would mean all three teams in the group, could take the top spot, and the outcome would rely on Sunday’s clash between Guatemala and the Jamaicans.

While finishing tops is the priority, the second-placed team would also have a second shot at Gold Cup qualification, as they would enter the preliminary phase of the tournament to oppose to group winners from League’s B and C.

That means, the Girlz could draw with Panama and then beat Guatemala to book the runner-up spot. But, that is no comfort to Gilbert, who is hoping to get the job done the right way.

“The game was a couple of weeks ago. This is a different situation and different circumstances. There is some unrest in their country, I am not sure if that has affected them mentally on this occasion, but we just have to be on our A game,” Gilbert said as he reflected on their away loss to Panama.

“We have to be better than what we were in the last game, and I am sure Panama is also looking to do better, so it's going to be extremely tough for us. Obviously, we've looked at a few things that we're looking to implement as we look to impose more of our will on the game,” he noted.

Gilbert, who is still without his World Cup players due to a prolonged standoff with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), is making do with a squad that boasts more youth than experience –2019 World Cup veterans Chinyelu Asher and Marlo Sweatman being the experience.

Still, the likes of Ricshya Walker, Melissa Johnson and Zoe Vidaurre, who all scored in the last window, are very much capable of doing more damage.

Panama will turn to their core group of playmakers in Riley Tanner, Marta Cox and Lineth Cedeno to get the job done, and Gilbert is very much wary of that and is aiming to nullify the trio.

“We are still working to finalize the best 11, so far, we are close to it, but there are still some other pieces to put in place. But the overall expectation heading into the game is to make sure that we get something out of it, which is our objective, and then we will see how it goes,” Gilbert ended.

Dominican Republic side Moca FC overcame a slow start to edge Jamaican club Harbour View 2-1 in their Concacaf Caribbean Cup first-leg third-place encounter at Sabina Park on Tuesday night.

Moca FC will take that one-goal advantage and two away goals into their home leg, with hopes of also seeing off a possible Harbour View comeback, especially with a place in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup at stake.

Omar Thompson has been one of a key player in Harbour View's attacking force in this Caribbean Cup, and he was the impetus behind the opening goal in the 15th minute.

Thompson produced a run down the left channel, and later floated a deep cross that came off of Moca defender Clifford Thomas and into net for an own goal.

Moca FC sought a response, and a buzzing freekick taken by Sebastian Valencia in the 35th, required Harbour View's goalkeeper Anthony Bennett to stay calm and make a save in front of a sea of players.

The visitors eventually pulled level in the 43rd minute through Gustavo Ascona, who got on the end of a freekick and expertly headed past Bennett, to make it 1-1 at the break.

Harbour View again started best on the resumption and almost regained the lead in the 53rd minute, when Jahshaun Anglin rifled an effort that rocketed off the crossbar.

However, it was Moca FC that found the go-ahead goal in the 65th, as Jose Francisco smacked home a header that gave Bennett no chance at a save.

From there, Moca's defence withstood everything thrown at them by Harbour View to secure a crucial advantage ahead of next week’s second leg.

The final window of the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup qualifiers begins on Wednesday, as the race for spots to the 2024 Women's Gold Cup intensifies.

League A

 

By the end of the window next Tuesday, December 5, three teams will know if they have qualified for the Women's Gold Cup group stage and another six teams will be slotted for the Women's Gold Cup Prelims.

Mexico will get their first crack at winning Group A of League A on Friday at Puerto Rico with El Tricolor holding a two-point edge on the Boricuas. If Puerto Rico and Mexico draw, Mexico win the group and Puerto Rico would seal their place in the Prelims, as they currently sit three points ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, who close the window against Mexico on December 5.

Panama can win Group B in a Wednesday visit to Jamaica, as the Canaleras own a two-point advantage on Guatemala. However, should Panama drop points, it could open the way for Guatemala or Jamaica on Sunday to win the group. A Jamaica win against Panama could set the stage for a dramatic final matchday on Sunday, with all three teams alive for a first-place finish.

Haiti only require a draw at Costa Rica to clinch Group C of League A on Thursday. However, a Ticas win could make for an interesting final matchday in the group next Monday. Costa Rica host St Kitts and Nevis, but would need to win by a wide margin, with Haiti currently at plus-25 goal difference.

League B

 

The winners of the three League B groups will advance to the Women's Gold Cup Prelims versus the second-place group finishers from League A.

Guyana can win Group A of League B with victory over Dominica on Wednesday, provided Suriname drop points at Antigua and Barbuda. Should Guyana and Suriname win their first matches of the window, Guyana can clinch the group win and a Prelims spot with a draw in their final fixture against Antigua and Barbuda.

El Salvador have already punched their Prelims ticket as winners of Group B of League B, but in Group C, Bermuda and Dominican Republic are in a dogfight, with the former slightly ahead by a point.

On Friday, Bermuda host St Vincent and the Grenadines, while Dominican Republic head to Barbados. Should those two sides win, a final matchday clash between the Dominican Republic and Bermuda in Santo Domingo, would be a winner-take-all affair.

League C

 

A group win is there for the taking for three teams in League C. With a six-point cushion, Belize can win Group A with a draw at Bonaire on Thursday.

Cuba can clinch Group B should St Lucia fail to beat Guadeloupe on Friday. However, a St Lucia win, would set up a final day contest, with Cuba only needing a draw to win the group.

Grenada have already emerged as winners of Group C, but Curacao still have work to do in Group D. They have a two-point lead over Anguilla and face Anguilla on Thursday. A draw would be enough to win the group for Curacao.

Real City and Basement will contest the final of the 2023 SFP Pocket Rocket Foundation Six-A-Side competition after semi-final wins at the FESCO Field in Waterhouse over the weekend.

Sunday saw Real City secure their spot in the final with a 2-0 win over Lion Den thanks to goals from Nico McLeish and Hakeem Green.

Their opponents in the final will be Basement who beat Black Strikers 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a strike from Taywane Lynch.

The final takes place on Sunday, December 3 at 3:30pm.

Jamaica's Olympic 110-metre hurdles bronze medallist Ronald Levy now faces the possibility of a four-year ban after his B sample returned positive for two banned substances.

This confirms the finding in Levy's A sample by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from an out of competition test last month, in Canada.

It is understood that GW501516-Sulfoxide and GW501516-Sulfone, are the substances found in Levy's sample.

A four-year ban would rule the 31-year-old Westmoreland native out of next year's Paris Olympics, as well as the next two World Athletics Championships editions in 2025 and 2027.

Levy, who also has a 2018 Commonwealth Gold medal in his accolade, had earlier this month confirmed being notified of the adverse analytical finding on November 3, and vowed to defend his integrity, as he "is certain he did not knowingly breach the rules."

The November window of League A of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League is now complete and even though many players delivered top performances over the course of the matches, only these 11 players stood out the most at their respective positions.

Goalkeeper

Andre Blake, Jamaica

Blake was superb in both legs against Canada, making four clearances and eight saves, including two reaction stops from point-blank range early in the first half in the second leg.

Defenders 

Alvin Jones, Trinidad and Tobago

Jones has a habit of being a thorn in the side of United States, and he did it again in the 2-1 second leg win for the Soca Warriors with a sensational free kick goal and an assist. He also had four steals and 10 clearances in the two games.

Antonee Robinson, United States

Robinson played a big role in United States success with a goal and an assist in the 3-0 first leg win, and then the lone United States goal in the second leg. He also had four steals.

Michael Murillo, Panama

Murillo was the one to get things rolling for Panama, scoring their opening goal in the first leg. He finished the two-legged series with two steals and a clearance.

Midfielders

Edson Alvarez, Mexico

Alvarez scored a goal that Mexico fans will never forget, finding the back of the net in the final seconds of the second leg to bring Mexico level with Honduras 2-2 on aggregate. He also made two clearances and had a steal.

Adalberto Carrasquilla, Panama

Carrasquilla was masterful yet again for Panama in the midfield with a pair of assists while completing almost 90 percent of his passes.

Luis Chavez, Mexico

Chavez has become Mexico’s free-kick specialist and he scored again from a dead ball in what was Mexico’s first goal in their series with Honduras. He completed an astounding 91 percent of his passes.

Gio Reyna, United States

Reyna scored one of the three U.S. goals in the first leg against Trinidad and Tobago and then also had a steal in 140 minutes of action.

Forwards 

Luis Palma, Honduras

Palma set the table for the opening goal for Honduras in their 2-0 first leg win versus Mexico and also collected two steals in addition to his assist.

Jose Fajardo, Panama

Fajardo scored in each game for Panama against Costa Rica, giving him goals in three straight games against the Ticos.

Shamar Nicholson, Jamaica

Nicholson scored three of Jamaica’s four goals against Canada and completed more than 95 percent of his passes. He now has a whopping nine career CNL goals.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz achieved what will be remembered as one of the most remarkable comebacks in Concacaf Nations League history, as they stunned Canada 3-2 in a lively second-leg League A quarterfinal encounter, at BMO Field in Toronto, on Tuesday night.

Spurred by a brace from Shamar Nicholson, who scored in the 63rd and 66th minutes to take his international tally to 16 goals, and a 78th-minute Bobby Reid penalty, the Jamaicans overturned a 1-2 deficit to win on the away goal rule. The tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Alphonso Davies (25th) and Ismael Kone (69th) got Canada's goals.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's side in the process of securing their spot in the Nations League semi-finals, as well as the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America 2024, rewrote the history books, as it was their first ever victory on Canadian soil, and the first time that the Caribbean side was scoring three goals against a North American opponent on their turf.

The Reggae Boyz are now set to lock horns against United States in one semi-final, in March, while Mexico, who overturned a two-goal deficit and defeated Honduras 4-2 on penalty, will meet Panama in the other, much like they did in this year's Gold Cup final.

Meanwhile, Canada will face Trinidad and Tobago in one Play-In fixture, while Costa Rica and Honduras will meet in the other. The winner of those Play-In contests will qualify for next year's Copa America.

After taking a 2-1 lead in their rain-interrupted first-leg clash at the National Stadium, Canada pressed that ascendancy at the start in the packed BMO Field and could have easily extended their advantage in the first 15 minutes, but for two incredible saves from Jamaica's goalkeeper Andre Blake.

The host inevitably got their breakthrough when Davies met a cross from the left and fired a shot that was initially deflected by Blake but spun backward into net.

Jamaica needed a response and minutes after should have pulled level after the re-start, but Leon Bailey's dry spell in the national setup continued, as he slammed his left-footed shot into crossbar.

The equalizer eventually came three minutes past the hour when Damion Lowe showed grit to dispossess an opponent and slipped a pass through for Nicholson, who rifled a right-footer past Canada's custodian Milan Borjan.

With the momentum now in their favour, the Jamaicans took the lead three minutes later on a well-worked counterattack in which Reid found Demarai Gray, and the former Everton mam swept a pass across the 18-yard yard box for the towering Nicholson to finish from close range.

However, their celebrations were short-lived, as Canada regained the advantage on aggregate soon after when Davies served up a cross for Kone to steer past Blake.

Still, the Jamaicans pressed and got the golden opportunity to not only pull level, but more importantly go ahead on the away goal rule, when Stephen Eustaquio handled an intended cross from Lowe inside the danger area. Reid stepped up to take the pressure-packed 12-yard kick and calmly converted to silent the home fans, while the small section of Jamaican supporters went into frenzy.

From there, Jamaica only needed to defend their lines and if that wasn't pressure enough, given their tendency to concede late goals, the task became even more difficult when Gray was shown a second yellow and given marching orders in the 84th minute.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Boyz managed to absorb all that Canada threw at them in the final minutes plus nine minutes of added time to snare a momentous victory.

 

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says a delegation from the Government of South Africa will visit Jamaica this week to conduct a study tour of the island’s sports programme.

The delegation is being led by the South African Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, the Honourable Nocawe Noncedo Mafu.

Minister Grange says the visit is part of the bilateral agreement between Jamaica and South Africa for cooperation in sports and recreation.  

The visit, which begins on Tuesday (tomorrow), is also a follow-up to the Jamaica/South Africa Political Consultations last year in which South Africa expressed an interest in better understanding Jamaica’s sports development model.

Minister Grange will host the South African delegation in discussions about Jamaica’s sports policy framework, national sports organisations, anti-doping, facilities management and sports financing.

The South African delegation will also receive presentations by the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association; and visit institutions, including the University of Technology and the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sports.

Earlier this year, Jamaica hosted a sports study tour by a delegation from the Trinidad and Tobago government.

 

The United States Embassy in Jamaica sponsored the USA-based Humpy Dumpty Institute (HDI) that partnered with Fight for Peace and the Jamaica Boxing Association (JBA) to provide boxing training at three venues, namely Denham Town Community Centre, Portmore and Montego Bay between November 14 and 19.

The HDI brought along a trainer and two accomplished female boxers to demonstrate their skills and assist with the training sessions.

The first two-day session on Tuesday and Wednesday last week was held at the Denham Town Community Centre and was preceded by a short launch on Tuesday morning where the parties - the US Embassy, the HDI, Fight for Peace and the JBA highlighted the benefits to be derived from the sessions.

Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy, Gabriel Hurst said, "The support that we have towards the programme is a clear example of our steadfast support to Jamaica's bright future. Our overall training objective is the development of a safer, stronger and more secure Jamaica. (I am) really looking forward to seeing the positive impact that it’s going to have."

Lennox Blackmoore of the HDI decided to bring the programme to Jamaica, "Because Jamaica has good athletes and so we decided to try Jamaica."

Blackmoore along with another trainer Timor Juhasz and the female boxers Ronica Jeffrey and Jenna Gaglioti began the training session with an intense exercise session with the group of aspiring male and female boxers who are part of the Fight for Peace Programme on the island. They were supported by a number of local trainers headed by accomplished local boxer Sakima Mullings.

 Blackmoore, a former British Commonwealth champion is from Guyana where he won his country’s lightweight and light middleweight titles during the 1970s. He now operates out of the Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey was happy to share her knowledge with the young boxers. "We are here to teach the boys and the girls' defensive work and the skill of boxing. I think that boxing is such a great sport for young people. It directs them in a safe direction to relieve their anger or just to have something that can show them discipline."

For her part, Gaglioti believes that boxing “is a sport for your mental health, for your emotional health. It does have the kids stay off the streets, stay disciplined and that's what we want to teach the kids also."

Rasheed Evans who recently graduated from Mona High School welcomed the training sessions, adding that he likes the sport and plans to become a professional. "It has helped me to become a better person. It has helped me to motivate myself better. It has helped me to understand life and how it works," he said.

  Mark Cole, the programme coordinator for Fight for Peace and who also works in a number of inner-city communities, using boxing and martial arts to guide young people to make better life decisions, detailed some of the components of the training.

"We will be doing biographies of some of the great boxers, walking them through some basic boxing techniques as well as have some advanced boxers do some advanced training, and exposing them to the different boxing styles and what it takes to become a professional boxer."

He believes the presence of the two female boxers will help to empower aspiring female boxers to help them take the sport seriously.

According to Stephen 'Bomber' Jones, president of the Jamaica Boxing Board, the sessions will help increase awareness about the sport across the island.

 "We are grateful that this is happening. It's in line with what we have been pushing in terms of expanding the footprints of the sport. The boxing board is here to facilitate the programmes that we have in terms of what you see happening here through Fight for Peace.

“They are here to benefit from the two-day clinic and then we move to Fun Robics Gym in Portmore and then in Montego Bay where we have another national gym where Jasmine Graham will be leading the charge for the girls and boys there."

 This boxing program is the third to be implemented by HDI. The first was held in the Dominican Republic in 2022 and the second one was with female boxers in the Palestinian territories in February of this year.

They were all done with the support of the US Embassy.

 

 

Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson rued his team’s missed opportunities along with a lapse in concentration that proved their undoing, as they will have to overturn a one-goal deficit if they intend to progress to the Concacaf Nations League semi-final, as well as next year's Copa America, after they went down 1-2 to Canada in their opening quarter-final leg at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Jonathan David sent Canada in front in the 45+1, before Shamar Nicholson added to his rich Nations League scoring form, with a 56th-minute strike. However, poor defending by the Jamaicans allowed Stephen Eustaquio (86th) to notch the decisive goal and put Canada in the driver's seat heading into Tuesday's second leg at the BMO Field in Toronto.

"It was really hot, so the tempo understandably wasn't high. In a game like this it's about keeping focus, they lost focus, and we didn't punish them, and we lost focus, and they punished us. At this level when you don't take your chances you get hurt and that was the end result," Hallgrimsson said in a post-game interview.

Jamaica started the contest, which was pushed back from Friday due to inclement weather, spiritedly in bright sunny conditions, as they showed some degree of enterprise in the early exchanges and should have opened the scoring in 15th minute. This, as Leon Bailey breached Canada's defence, but dragged his left-footed effort wide of the target in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Canada also had an early opportunity of their own through David, whose effort was kept out by Reggae Boyz captain Andre Blake in goal.

The Canadians continued their probe and almost broke the deadlock in the 32nd, as Cyle Larin was allowed time and space to release a right-footer from outside the 18-yard box, but Blake again proved equal to the task.

Canada used the channels well for the service and had a few more half chances but were still unable to break Jamaica's resistance. 

Bailey should have put the Jamaicans in front in the 40th when he arrived at the far post to meet Bobby Reid's weighted corner, but the effort slammed into the left upright. 

The Jamaicans later paid for that missed opportunity, as Larin turned his marker and played a pass inside for David to tap in.

Canada should have added another in stoppage time, when David produced a tidy run down left channel and found Larin, who had enough time and space to pick a spot from dead centre of the 18-yard box but steered right-footer wide.

The North Americans picked up where they left off on the resumption and almost doubled the lead four minutes in, but David's well-struck effort from almost 20-yards out was parried by Blake.

Jamaica came into their own and pulled level when a quickly taken freekick from Reid sent Nicholson in behind Canada's defence and the towering striker made no mistakes with a firmly struck effort. Though initially flagged offside, the goal stood via the VAR review.

From there, the contest remained evenly poised and could have gone either way in the latter stages, but it was Canada, who inevitably found the winner.

Richie Laryea’s dashing run down the right channel dragged Jamaica’s defence and opened up space for Eustaquio to sweep home the perfect cut-back pass from deep inside the 18-yard box.

 

 
Jamaica's first leg League A Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal encounter against Canada is now scheduled to be played at 10:30am at the National Stadium on Saturday.
 
The game, which was initially scheduled for 7:00pm on Friday, was delayed, and then, inevitably postponed due to persistent rainfall caused by a tropical system affecting the island.
 
After an inspection of the field, which was waterlogged at start time, Concacaf officials were optimistic about a 9:00pm kick off. However, sustained rainfall forced the decision to postpone.
 
Concacaf in a statement said officials have been in constant communication with the referees and both teams.
 
All patrons who bought tickets will be allowed to enter the Grandstand only. Those with scanned tickets will be given appropriate credit to enter.
 
The second leg is scheduled for Tuesday at the BMO Field in Toronto.

After serving 14 years as President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Martin Lyn has opted not to seek re-election, citing the need to refresh and reinvigorate the organisation with new leadership.

Lyn, whose time at the helm was spread across seven two-year terms, believes he has left the association in good standing with a solid platform on which the next president can build to drive the country’s aquatic sports product forward.

The new president will be selected at the ASAJ’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for December 5.

Georgia Sinclair and Lance Rochester, who served as vice presidents with responsibility for swimming and water polo respectively, under Lyn’s leadership, are said to be frontrunners in the race to take the reins.

“Sometimes you have to know when to step aside and let someone else take over. My accomplishments and achievements speak for themselves, and nobody can dispute the fact that I have done a significant amount of good during my time in charge. I also think it’s time for me to focus on other things as well and also allow the association to grow in a different direction,” Lyn told SportsMax.TV.

“For the first time in a while, there are people vying for the presidency and it is good that people’s ambitions towards leadership is stimulated. So, I am stepping down to allow the association to grow even bigger and better with fresh ideas because I have left a strong foundation on which the next president can build,” he added.

According to Lyn, his time at the helm boast outstanding contribution and great personal sacrifice, though his credibility, integrity and, by extension, leadership qualities, have been called into question on a number of occasions.

“The presidency is not an easy job in any federation. It wasn’t always easy to beg and beseech the minister (of sports) and Sports Development Foundation for funding or even to secure sponsorship, and of course, you and others don’t always see eye-to-eye for various reasons. But we have upgraded the system and most importantly we are in one of the best financial positions that we have been in, in years,” Lyn argued.

“The day-to-day running of the federation was up and down but the administration performed very well including the disciplinary committee. For the first time in a long time, we don’t have any disciplinary matters pending,” he noted.

Though celebrating some infrastructure development, as well as the recognition of five Jamaican officials on the World Aquatics list among his achievements, Lyn pointed out that he also had some regrets.

“Two regrets I have, and one is the fact that I have tried unsuccessfully to change the constitution of the ASAJ so that there are not so many gray areas because in the current constitution, there are a lot of loopholes. But the feedback was that we couldn’t just meet and discuss the constitution, so maybe I was a little premature in my approach, but it is something that I will encourage for the new administration to look at,” Lyn shared without going into details about his other regret, which had to do with how swim meets were conducted.

That said, Lyn left words of encouragement for the new administration which will boast familiar faces, as treasurer Florence Grizzle-Williams will battle incumbent Shauna Jackson for the post of Honorary Secretary.

Robyn-Ann Chin-Sang will be running unopposed for Vice-president in charge of artistic swimming, while Marlon McIntyre is the only candidate for the vice-president in charge of water polo.

Meanwhile, Hilary Brown-Nixon seems set to take the post of vice-president in charge of swimming.

“The first word of encouragement is to keep the train rolling, because we are on a very good path for success. I have dedicated a lot of time out of my life to do what I did, so which ever candidate takes over, they must be willing to invest the time and effort into moving the sport forward because it is to the benefits of the athletes and more so the country,” he ended.

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