Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake insists the team would love to focus on solely football issues but insist on being given adequate means needed to succeed.

The custodian made a triumphant return between the sticks for the Jamaica national team and certainly did his part in ensuring the team got at least a share of the points with Mexico.  Blake had missed the two previous games after pulling out of the team ahead of the first match with Suriname, following the team’s issues with Jamaica Football Federation general secretary Dalton Wint.

 The team and the JFF have had several disputes over the last few years, most notably ahead of the World Cup qualifiers when the team went on strike.  According to the player, the team would love to focus on on-the-field issues.

“If we are going to win, we have to be put in the best position to win.  For me, leadership is very important.  No matter how good you are you need people that are going to appreciate you and set you up to win,” Blake told journalists after the match.

We are going to always demand that, and we are always going to do what we need to do to get that.  When we come here to play football and just football.  So, when we come and have to deal with issues that aren’t even necessary, it’s toxic.”

NCAA women’s 100m silver medallist Kemba Nelson is mentally preparing for the prospect of a brutal Jamaica National trials, which she must advance to secure a place at this year’s World Championships.

On Saturday, the athlete put in a strong display to finish just behind another Caribbean athlete, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred who took the event in 11.02, with Nelson clocking an identical time. 

To secure a spot in the country’s spot to the Eugene Games, the athlete knows she could have to go a good deal faster.  Typically, legendary track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah have accounted for the first two spots.

Recently, however, the two have been joined the upper echelons of world sprinting by Shericka Jackson and the trio top the top three spots at last year’s Olympic Games.  If things go according to expectations, it could leave just one spot on the team up for grabs from a deep field of talented young female athletes.

“My National Trials is coming up where I will be running against way faster women,” Nelson said of the event, which will take place from June 23-26th.

“My start is good, so I just have to work on my finish and relax, to get my hips up at the bottom end and that will really help. I really hope I make the team."

Mexico star Luis Romo conceded his side are "not at the best level" after a frustrating 1-1 draw at Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Leon Bailey opened the scoring for the hosts after just four minutes on Tuesday when he headed Shamar Nicholson's cross home.

Jamaica could have doubled their lead soon after, but Nicholson was denied by the crossbar, allowing Mexico a lifeline after a tepid start.

Mexico capitalised on that opportunity in additional time in the first half, with Romo finishing past Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake.

However, Gerardo Martino's side could not find a winner in the second half, leaving them a point behind leaders Jamaica, who have played a game more in their Nations League group.

With the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, Romo admitted his country have been far from their best but backed them to deliver at world football's historic tournament.

"Inside we realise that we have to overcome everything, the criticism we must take. We know that we are not at our best or maximum level, but we are very aware of what we can achieve," he told TUDN.

"A World Cup and an opportunity to make history motivates us a lot."

Mexico were somewhat fortunate to not fall behind again in the second half, with Kevin Alvarez making a goal-line clearance after the break.

El Tri arguably deserved to share the points, though, after forcing numerous saves from Blake in the final 45 minutes, and Romo believes Mexico may have even deserved to win.

"In the second half we got stuck," Romo added. "I think we deserved a bit more."

Coach Martino was left satisfied with June's internationals nevertheless.

"All the players adapted well to this training camp. It is complicated to work with 38 players, and they did well," he told reporters.

"Each match had situations that will help us analyse the future."

Mexico are not next in action until August 31, when they face Paraguay in a friendly in Atlanta.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz and Mexico were forced to settle for a share of the spoils after a feisty 1-1 draw in group A of the Concacaf Nations League Group A on Tuesday at the National Stadium.

The Mexicans began the game in an enterprising fashion and almost took the lead minutes after the kick-off.  A sweeping attacking move ended with Santiago Gimenez being brilliantly thwarted by Jamaica custodian Andre Blake who snuffed out the 2nd-minute attempt no more than four yards away from goal.

It was the Jamaicans who, however, took the lead, against the run of play, through a sweeping move of their own, punctuated in the 7th minute by a bullet-header from Leon Bailey, who was picked out in the box by Shamar Nicholson.

 Nicholson almost got on the scoresheet himself five minutes later but his towering header, after rising from a corner, crashed on to to the top of the crossbar.

After continuing to dominate the majority of the play, the visitors seemed set to end the half empty-handed but got some reward for their enterprise in time added on.

Luis Romo brought the team back on level terms after beating the Jamaican backline to a ball whipped into the area and heading past Blake just before the whistle.

In an entertaining second half, Nicholson almost restored the Jamaican's lead but saw his chip to goal cleared off the line by two Mexican defenders after successfully dinking the ball over the head of onrushing Mexican keeper Rodolfo Cota, after being played through on goal by Bailey.

The visitors, however, had plenty of attempts of their own, and Blake was kept busy, most notably diving full stretch to parry a fierce drive on goal from livewire Diego Lanez in the 68th minute.

With the result the Jamaicans remain at the top of the group on 5 points, while Mexico picks up their first point of the competition, joining Suriname on 1.

Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group H of the Concacaf U20 Championship, which will take place in Honduras later this month.

The fixture will see the team play Costa Rica on June 18, hosts Honduras on June 20, and Antigua and Barbuda on June 22 in the preliminary round.

After Group Stage play the top three teams in each of the groups will advance to the Round of 16, joining the four CMU20C Qualifiers winners (qualifiers between the lowest-ranked nations took place in November 2021).
The 16-team Knockout Stage will begin with the Round of 16 (June 25-26), followed by the Quarterfinals (June 29), Semifinals (July 1), and Final (July 3).

 The top four teams will qualify for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in 2023.   Jamaica qualified for the FIFA World U20 Championship in 2001.

 

Jamaica U-20 squad

  1. RICARDO WATSON
  2. CONIAH BOYCE-CLARKE
  3. LUKE BAILEY BADLEY-MORGAN
  4. JADON ANDERSON
  5. DEXTER LEMBIKISA
  6. ROMAIN BLAKE
  7. TARICK XIMINES
  8. LAMONTH ROCHESTER
  9. LUIS WATSON
  10. MALACHI DOUGLAS
  11. ALEXANDER BICKNELL
  12. DUNCAN MCKENZIE
  13. CHRISTOPHER PEARSON
  14. KOBI THOMAS
  15. DEVONTE CAMPBELL
  16. TYLER ROBERTS
  17. JEMONE BARCLAY
  18. CHAD JAMES
  19. JAHMARI CLARKE
  20. ZION SCARLETT

 

First-string Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake has returned to the team’s line-up ahead of Tuesday’s Concacaf Nation’s League fixture against Mexico at the National Stadium.

The 31-year-old shot-stopper, who has racked up 68 international appearances for Jamaica, pulled out of the team suddenly ahead of last week’s fixture against Suriname.  The goalkeeper also missed the second-leg match between the teams earlier this week. 

The custodian reportedly suffered an undisclosed injury but unconfirmed reports also suggest the issue also stemmed from the team’s issues with former JFF general secretary Dalton Wint, who resigned last week.  Blake’s return to the squad will come at a good time following an injury to stand-in goalkeeper Amal Knight who deputised for Blake for both matches.

Two new players have been added to the 23-man squad ahead of the fixture, with goalkeeper Jahmali Waite and defender Jordan Scarlett joining the team.

Knight and defender Richard King have been ruled out of the match due to injury. 

The Reggae Boyz, who currently lead zone A with 4 points, after two matches, ahead of Suriname on 1.  Mexico are yet to play a match in the group.

Jamaica double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah remains convinced the correct call was made regarding the decision to change coaching camps last year.

Following the most successful year of her career, the 29-year-old made the controversial decision to part ways with the Steven Francis-led MVP track club, one of the most high-profile in international track and field.

Instead, the sprinter now trains with her husband, Derron Herah, and ahead of another big year in track and field is feeling comfortable.

“I think the change matches my aspirations and what I want this year,” Thompson-Herah told members of the media on Wednesday, ahead of the Rome Diamond League meet.

“I am definitely getting the love and support that I want for what I am working on.  Sometimes I think a change is good.  I am grown and I know what is best for my career and I’m sure I’ve chosen the right path.”

Heading into Thursday’s Diamond League showdown, over 200ms, the sprinter has won all of her races so far this season.

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah admits she is yet to find her best form after being hampered by some early-season injury setbacks.

The Jamaican sprinter is set to face her most formidable challenge to date this term, at Thursday’s Diamond League meet in Rome. Thompson-Herah will face a quality field that includes 400m Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, 200m World champion Dina Asher-Smith and compatriot Shericka Jackson over 200m.

In nine races so far this season, over both the 100 and the 200m, Thompson-Herah is yet to taste defeat.  She will be first to admit, however,  that it has been far from smooth sailing.

“I’m not 100 percent but I think I am a true fighter. I opened my season at Mt. SAC and I got a rotator (cuff) injury so I was in and out of practice.  You need your arms to run and every time I race I have discomfort in it, but I have to race, I have to see where I am at,” Thompson-Herah said at the pre-meet press conference on Wednesday.

“I think having (to compete) with an Achilles and shoulder injury you are a true fighter.  I know most athletes have something that they're going through they just don’t talk about it.  I hate to talk about my injuries,” she added.

With Jamaica’s national trials just a few weeks away, the athlete insists she is using the races to fine-tune her performance.

 

The Jamaica Gymnastics Association has received a boost in the form of well-needed equipment from the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz cruised to a comfortable 3-1 win over Suriname in group A of the Concacaf Nation’s League at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

After a fairly even opening stanza, which saw Suriname slightly shade the scoring chances, it was Derby County midfielder Ravel Morrison who gave the Jamaicans the lead, with an inch-perfect free-kick, in the 16th minute.

Plucky Panama, however, mounted an almost immediate response and were back on level terms five minutes later.  The speedy Yanic Wildschut, who was played in over the top, from just over the half-line, left a flat-footed Jamaica defense trailing in his wake before blasting the ball wide of Jamaica custodian Amal Knight 6-yards away from goal.

The Reggae Boyz refused to be kept quiet and would take the lead again in the 43rd minute.  The influential Morrison would find himself involved again.  This time the midfielder showed off a silky touch to bring down a lofted pass into the area and played the ball back to Junior Flemmings, who drifted across the area before firing a shot that wrong-footed Suriname goalkeeper Warner Hahn.

The Jamaicans were a much more dominant unit in the second half and capped that advantage off with another goal in the 70th minute.  This time, Jamal Lowe was played through on goal by Shamar Nicholson, following Suriname’s loss of possession, and easily placed the ball wide of Hahn.

The win saw Jamaica move to the top of the three-team group A, after a 1-1 draw between the teams on Sunday.  Mexico, the other team in the group, are yet to play a match.

Jamaica Football Federation General Secretary Dalton Wint appears to have yielded to the demand of the Reggae Boyz that he resigns his position.

Wint has been the target of the players’ ire after being left stranded in Suriname on Saturday night, June 4, after their 1-1 draw with the host country. The JFF had failed to make proper arrangements for the players to return to Jamaica, an embarrassing situation that the players laid squarely at the feet of the beleaguered general secretary.

According to a statement reportedly coming from the players, “it was the straw that broke the camel’s back” and they refused to go on unless Wint resigned from his post. JFF President Michael Ricketts confirmed on Monday that the board had met to discuss the situation but up to later that day, there was no official word regarding the board’s position on the demand made by the players, who Sportsmax.TV understands refused to train in preparation for the return match against Suriname on Tuesday evening.

However, in a statement released late Monday night, the JFF signalled that an end to the impasse is in sight.

“The General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation, Mr Dalton Wint, has given his unequivocal and irreversible commitment to submit his resignation from the post,” the JFF said. “The Board of Directors of the JFF look forward to receiving same soonest. Other relevant information regarding this matter, will be shared with the country in the coming days.”

Meantime, Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, revealed its part in getting the players home from Suriname early Monday morning.

Minister Olivia Grange revealed that her ministry intervened to facilitate the safe return of the irate players, who returned to Jamaica at approximately 7:15 am Monday.

“On Saturday, June 4, 2022, I was advised of challenges being experienced by the Reggae Boyz delegation in Suriname. I was made to understand that travel arrangements for their return to Jamaica, after the match against Suriname on Saturday, had been cancelled and my assistance was being sought,” the minister said in a statement.

 “I was told that because the players had to return in time for another match, normal flight schedules would not allow for their return. On my instructions, a number of steps were taken by my Permanent Secretary and the General Manager of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) to assist in addressing the problem.

 “A company was identified from which we could charter a flight in the short time frame. Reggae Boy Leon Bailey was instrumental in identifying the charter company.

“We were advised by the company identified that the charter flight would cost US$105,000.00 which had to be paid immediately in order for the aircraft which was in Mexico to be released to pick up the team in Suriname. Unfortunately, with this taking place over the weekend, the circumstances prevented the SDF from accessing the required banking services.”

 As a result, Minister Grange said, JFF President Michael Ricketts contacted Christopher Williams, CEO of PROVEN and Chairman of the Premier Football Jamaica League (PFJL) to assist with the identification of the required funds and the Government of Jamaica through the SDF committed to ensuring that the funds advanced would be repaid.

“Based on the commitment of the Government, Mr Williams put the necessary mechanisms in place to advance the payment for the charter flight, with the firm understanding that he would be reimbursed in the shortest possible time,” the minister explained.

“All the parties involved were aware of the urgent need to act, bearing in mind the risk of the Jamaican delegation being stranded in Suriname, and the players not being able to honour the fixture scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2022,” the minister continued, adding that she spoke directly to the players, who she said were upset with the JFF Administration which they blamed for the crisis.

The players, she said, then agreed to play the game in Suriname on schedule.

“The Under Secretary for the Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Affairs Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) played a critical role in securing the landing and fly over permits. The team from the Ministries were in negotiations from Saturday afternoon until early Monday morning to ensure that the permits were received,” the minister said.

  “I will be writing to the JFF requesting a detailed report on the matter and my team and I will continue to work closely with the JFF and the Reggae Boyz as we are also aware of other matters of concern related to the management of what is possibly the most popular sport in Jamaica.”

 

Reports are emerging that Reggae Boyz Head Coach Paul Hall has resigned his position and the players have refused to move forward unless Jamaica Football Federation General Secretary Dalton Wint tenders his resignation.

It is a position with which JFF President Michael Ricketts appears to agree. Sportsmax.TV has obtained a Whatsapp voice note created Saturday night in which a player speaking on behalf of the team, is heard demanding Wint’s resignation and President Ricketts seemingly agreeing with the players.

“On behalf of the team, captain, vice captain, we are asking Mr Wint to resign. That’s the only way we move forward. Can we get your word on that?” said an unidentified player.

A voice sounding like the JFF president responded, “I am saying I agree.”

“You agree as the president. Okay,” the player said in reply.

This latest fallout stems from a situation that developed in Suriname on Saturday night where the Reggae Boyz played to a 1-1 draw with the home side in their opening match of the CONCACAF Nations League.

After the match, the players came to the realization that they did not have a return flight to Jamaica for the return match on June 7. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Jamaica was to have shared a charter flight with the Suriname national team back to Jamaica on Saturday night. However, Jamaica is alleged to have failed to come up with their share of the cost of the flight.

The players are reportedly still in Suriname.

Calls to both JFF President Ricketts and General Secretary Wint went unanswered up to the time of publication on Sunday.

It is unknown what arrangements are being made for the players to get back to Jamaica to prepare for their match against Suriname and their upcoming match against Mexico on June 14.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz kicked off play in the Concacaf Nation’s League League A with a 1-1 draw away to Suriname on Saturday.

After a first that saw more clear chances being created by the hosts, it was the Jamaicans who took the lead through Toulouse FC forward Junior Flemming.  Flemming put the Jamaicans into the lead after swiveling onto a low cross played into the area and firing past Suriname goalkeeper Hahn Warner in the 39th minute.

Ironically, it was the Jamaicans who looked more likely to add to their lead in the second half but after missing a few early chances, found themselves pegged back late on.  Jamaica goalkeeper Amal Knight was credited with an own goal, after badly misjudging an 84th-minute corner that he punched into his own goal.

Reigning Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah will be back in action on Sunday at the Rabat Diamond League, in Morocco, where she faces a quality field in the women’s 100m.

Lining up alongside Thompson-Herah will be experienced Ivory Coast sprinter Marie Jose Talou, Trinidad and Tobago star Michelle Lee Ahye, and compatriot Natasha Morrison.

Thompson-Herah heads into the event off the back of a dominant performance at the Prefontaine Classic last weekend where she got the better of United States sprinter Sha’arri Richardson, compatriot Shericka Jackson, and Great Britain athlete Dina Asher-Smith.  The Jamaican won the event in 10.79.

Elsewhere, another Jamaican Stephenie Ann Mcpherson will compete in the women’s 400m, while Shanieka Ricketts will compete in the women’s triple jump.

 

Ackera Nugent will miss the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships set for June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon and Jamaica’s National Championships in Kingston from June 23-26, because of an ongoing ankle injury.

Nugent, the reigning World U20 champion, is the second fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year after running a personal best of 12.45 at the Big 12 Championships at Lubbock, Texas on May 15. Only fellow Jamaican, Demisha Roswell of Texas Tech, who ran 12.44 to beat Nugent at the Big 12 Conference Championships, has run faster this season.

The 20-year-old Nugent, a sophomore at Baylor University revealed on social media Thursday that the severity of the injury makes it impossible for her to carry on this season.

“With my ankle, this year has been a roller coaster but that has never stopped me from going out there and giving it my all,” she posted on Instagram.

“As a fighter, you have to know when to stop fighting and let go and I just wanted to let you know my season is over. I will not be competing in the NCAA Championship not will I be competing in the national senior trials this year.

“However, God has helped me along the way to have accomplished my main goal this year and I am at peace.”

Nugent’s absence will take away from the much-anticipated clashes at the NCAA Championships against the likes of the LSU pair of Alia Armstrong and Tonea Marshall as well as Roswell.

At the Jamaica National Senior Championships, she would have faced Roswell as well as 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Megan Tapper.

 

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