After switching allegiance from Canada to Jamaica, Tiffany Cameron will play against her birth country in one of the most important fixtures of her career.

Cameron, who earns her Jamaican stripes through her parents Yvonne Brown and Donovan Cameron, represented Canada at the Under-17 level and then played six friendly contests with the senior team, before making a switch from the Canucks to the Reggae Girlz in 2019.

While it is not her first time playing against Canada since her switch, the significance of this two-leg Olympic qualifying playoff, is such that Cameron’s sentimental attachment to her birth country and former team, is almost non-existent.

In fact, Cameron is buzzing with excitement ahead of the opening fixture scheduled for later this evening inside the National Stadium at 7:00pm, and moreso about her return to the BMO Field in Toronto where the second-leg will be contested before a sold-out crowd on September 26.

“The last senior international cap I had with Canada was on June 2, 2013, against United States at BMO. We lost that game 0-3 and I haven’t played on the BMO Field since. So, it will be extra special for me to go back there now representing Jamaica,” Cameron told Sportsmax.tv.

“Situations like these don’t happen often, so I’m excited. I’m ready to give my best and I think it will be a competitive match,” she added.

The two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup representative, who has enjoyed a decorated career spanning 14 years to date, recently inked a deal with Liga F outfit, Real Betis, where she hopes to again put her versatility on display, much like she did with the Reggae Girlz at the global showpiece in Australia.

Simply put, Cameron, though at age 31, is still very much in her prime and has a real hard desire to work hard and improve her craft, especially now in a country where she enjoys their brand of football.

“I think it (Real Betis) is a great fit for me because I enjoy combinational play and playing with players that express themselves and make football an enjoyable sport to watch. Playing in Spain will improve my decision making overall, as the speed of play in Spain is ranked one of the highest in the world.  I have settled in well so far and I am very much looking forward to my time with the club,” she shared.

But, for now, Cameron is solely focused on assisting her Reggae Girlz team in their bid to once again rewrite the history books by being the first Caribbean team to qualify for women’s football at the Olympic Games.

The Reggae Girlz, are coming off a confident run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they finished second in Group F, holding top 10-ranked teams France and Brazil to goalless stalemates, complemented by a 1-0 victory over Panama, before losing 0-1 to Colombia in the Round of 16.

It was the first time since 1938 that a Caribbean team –male or female –contested the knockout stages at the global showpiece and the Girlz have a chance to build on that momentum.

“We are all proud of what we were able to accomplish at the World Cup and I think those accomplishments have given us a boost in confidence going into these games against Canada. We want to continue to make Jamaica proud and will give our best,” Cameron declared.

“We know what’s at stake in these games, so we will go into these games with a similar mentality as the World Cup. The opportunity to continue to make history is a blessing within itself and we won’t be taking that for granted,” she noted.

A win and a draw against 10th-ranked Canadians would be good enough to not only book the 37th-ranked Jamaicans one of 12 spots at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, but also a spot in the group stages of the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, alongside United States.

Both Jamaica and Canada are in this position after placing second and third at last year’s Concacaf Women’s Championships in Mexico. United States, by virtue of topping the tournament, earned automatic qualification to both the Olympic Games and the Gold Cup.

Like many of her teammates, Cameron knows all too well that another history-making feat would add further impetus to not only their status, but to women’s football in the Caribbean on a whole.

“It would mean a lot to us to be able to make history and be the first Caribbean team to qualify for women's football at the Olympics. The more successful we are, the more hope we will give to the younger generation in the Caribbean,” Cameron ended.

Shaquille Cairo scored a pair of goals to lead 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield winners Robinhood of Suriname to a 2-0 victory against Jamaican side Dunbeholden in Group B action of the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Cup at Sabina Park on Thursday.

Robinhood now sit atop the group with six points after two games, while Dunbeholden have one point after three matches.

Robinhood raced out to an early 1-0 lead in the 15th when they were able to take advantage of a defensive error from Dunbeholden. The home side failed to clear their lines adequately and a deflected ball up into the air right in front of goal was headed into net by Shaquille Cairo.

Dunbeholden went right to work on finding an equalizer and Stephen Barnett looked poised to do it in the 25th, only for Robinhood goalkeeper Jonathan Fonkel to make a sensational stretch save.

Odane Samuels was next to be turned away on a brilliant save by Jonathan Fonkel, this time on a shot from just a few yards out that the visiting shot-stopper somehow managed to parry to safety in the 34th.

Robinhood absorbed Dunbeholden’s punches and then landed another big blow in the 55th when a cross from Tuur Don met the charging Cairo, who fired into net for a 2-0 Robinhood lead.

The Robinhood defense took over after that, nailing things down to record the clean sheet victory.

 Eight-time Caribbean Cup champions Trinidad and Tobago have surged inside the top 100 on the FIFA World Rankings list for the first time in almost five years following recent wins over El Salvador and Curacao.

The Soca Warriors – in the latest list published Thursday – climbed four places up to 98th from 102, a spot they held in the last rankings in July. They were last inside the FIFA top 100 at 92nd in December 2018. Based on their world position, the twin island republic remains the fourth highest rated in Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz jumped two places up the FIFA list to 56th and remain number in CFU ahead of Haiti at 87th world ranked and Curacao (90th). Antigua and Barbuda complete the CFU’s top five at 137th.

In the only change to the CFU’s top 10, Guyana have climbed into 10th position with a three place move to 165th in the world, as Barbados – the result of Nations League losses to Montserrat and Nicaragua – slipped out of the top 10. The fell six places on the world list from 166th to 172nd.

World champions Argentina strengthened their grip at the summit of the world rankings. The Argentines, who dethroned Brazil at the top in April, defeated Ecuador and Bolivia in their 2026 World Cup qualifiers earlier this month to improve their status.

Despite losing to Germany in a friendly last week, France retained second place, followed by Brazil (third), England (fourth) and Belgium (fifth).

Shaniel Thomas notched a hat-trick to help Jamaican club Cavalier take a big step toward the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Club semifinals with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday night against Moca of the Dominican Republic in Group A action at Sabina Park.

With the win, Cavalier now sit atop the group with seven points through three matches, while Moca remain in third place with three points after two games.

Thomas's hat-trick, which is the first in Caribbean Cup history, propelled him to the top of the tournament goalscoring leaderboard with four goals.

It was a fairly even start between the two sides, but midway through the first 45 minutes, in the 24th, Cavalier were able to break the deadlock through Thomas.

A long ball was hoofed up the left flank for Makenson Cadet, who ran onto it and then chipped over a defender, allowing Thomas to meet the ball with a powerful header into net and a 1-0 Cavalier advantage.

Cavalier kept their foot on the gas and a swinging right-footed effort from Nicholas Hamilton in the 49th that curled just wide was the next big look at goal for the hosts.

Another chance would come for Cavalier in the 58th and they made the most of it when the Moca defence failed to clear their lines and Thomas was all too happy to take a simple back pass and hammer in a shot from a few yards out to double the lead to 2-0.

Thomas wasn’t done, and a minute after, he was brought down by Moca defender Manuel Vidal in the area, the Cavalier frontman smashed home a penalty in the 77th to nail down his hat-trick and the 3-0 Cavalier victory.

In the heart of Manchester, the Fusion Gym in Mandeville was buzzing with excitement on Saturday, September 9th, 2023.

Powerlifting enthusiasts from across Jamaica had gathered for the NPAJ/GraceKennedy Money Services Powerlifting Gym League finals. It was a day filled with passion, strength, and determination, but one team stood above the rest - the Irie Gunners.

The crowd watched in awe as the athletes from Team Fit Farm in St. Andrew and Irie Gunners from Manchester gave their all on the platform. The atmosphere was electric, and the anticipation was palpable. It was evident that this year's championship would be fiercely contested.

As the competition progressed, it became clear that the Irie Gunners were on a mission. They started the season as favorites, and they were determined to live up to the expectations. Their dedication to training and their unwavering focus had set them on a path to glory.

The highlight of the event came when the Irie duo of Roxroy Campbell and Aiesha Denton took centre stage. Roxroy Campbell showcased his incredible strength in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, totaling an impressive 703 kilograms. His performance earned him the title of the top male lifter in the competition.

On the female side, Aiesha Denton was an unstoppable force. She demonstrated her prowess in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, amassing a total of 474 kilograms. Aiesha's performance secured her the title of the top female lifter of the competition.

But the victory was not solely attributed to them. The entire Irie Gunners team showed exceptional teamwork and determination. Tashian Wallace, Nadesha Thompson, and Roxroy Campbell all contributed significantly to the team's success, accumulating points that would ultimately tip the scales in their favor.

When the dust settled and the final scores were tallied, it was official - Irie Gunners from Manchester had been crowned the Champion of the NPAJ/GraceKennedy Money Services Powerlifting Gym League for 2023. The Fusion Gym erupted in cheers as the Irie Gunners celebrated their well-deserved victory.

Irie Gunners had scored a total of 249 GL Points, showcasing their dominance throughout the season. Team Fit Farm, the runner-up, put up a valiant effort, amassing 220.80 GL Points. The competition had been intense, but Irie Gunners had proven themselves as the top powerlifting team in Jamaica.

In the end, the individual performances of each athlete from both teams contributed to the thrilling spectacle of strength and determination. Deidre Lewis, Fiona Binns, Jonhio Vaughn, and Desmond Thompson from Team Fit Farm had all showcased their incredible abilities, pushing their limits to achieve greatness.

In an interview with Powerlifting Voice, Mr. Zacariah Thompson, the head coach of the Irie Gunners Gym, shed light on the key moments and strategies that led to their victory in the NPAJ GraceKennedy Money Services Powerlifting Gym League 2023 Championship. According to Coach Thompson, a pivotal moment in the competition was when Aiesha successfully executed a 405-pound squat, a feat that signaled their imminent victory. He emphasized the significance of their rigorous training regimen, highlighting the exceptional dedication of each team member as a crucial factor in their triumph.

Coach Thompson also discussed their unique training approach in preparation for the championship. Instead of following their traditional routine, they began by assessing each athlete's strength and focusing on their core area, a method that seemed to pay off. When addressing the mental aspect of powerlifting, Coach Thompson emphasized the importance of instilling self-belief in his athletes, motivating them to realize their potential and strive for greatness.

When asked about standout performances, Coach Thompson commended all the team members for their outstanding efforts, with a special mention of the female athletes who achieved personal records. He also praised Dane's (Roxroy) consistent improvement in every competition.

Looking ahead, Coach Thompson expressed his determination to maintain and enhance the team's success.

Roxroy Campbell, who was named the top male athlete in the NPAJ Powerlifting Gym League 2023 Final, talked about his journey to success. Campbell mentioned a crucial moment during the competition - his second squat attempt - which he believes was a significant contributor to his victory.

Campbell credited his mental discipline for keeping him focused and motivated. He drew inspiration from those around him and his coach.

Aiesha Denton, who was crowned the top female athlete at the NPAJ Powerlifting Gym League 2023 Final, expressed elation when asked about her feelings regarding the prestigious title.

Ms. Denton credited her achievement to her unyielding commitment and diligent efforts, highlighting the crucial aspects of steadfastness, concentration, and determination that drove her to succeed. She admitted encountering challenges during the competition, particularly about squat depth and bench press strength, but her determination enabled her to overcome these obstacles.

Jamaica's young cyclists Cajur Chue, Khalil Francis and Melaika Russell all registered credible performances during the recently-concluded two-day Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships in the Dominican Republic.

The three were among 56 athletes across 13 countries that participated in the championships, where Jamaica finished second on the medal table with three medals behind host nation which had nine medals. Puerto Rico completed the top three with two medals.

Chue, National Juvenile Time Trial champion, competed in the Juvenile Men 10km Individual Time Trial on the first day of action and claimed silver in 13 minutes and 29 seconds. He just missed out on top spot by 10 seconds, as he finished behind Puerto Rico’s Amauri Santiago (13min 19 sec), while Dominican Republic’s Emir David Nina Garcia (13mins 25sec) was third.

Jamaica's National women's Time Trial champion Russell was also in action on day one, as she competed in the Juvenile Women 10km individual Time Trial, where she also placed second in 16 minutes and 47 seconds. The event was won by Bermuda’s Charlotte Millington, with Barbadian Arielle Greaves taking third in a time of 17 minutes and 40 seconds.

Russell returned on the second day and won gold in the 60km Road Race for Juvenile Women, becoming the first Caribbean Road champion from Jamaica since Marloe
Rodman in 2015.

In the juvenile male 70km road race, Chue took an early solo breakaway and opened a 150 metres gap with 15km to go, but was unable to maintain that tempo and got
caught. Both Chue and Francis missed out on the podium, as they placed sixth and 10th respectively.

Hosts Lebanon secured a 4-0 victory over the travelling Jamaicans in Davis Cup World Group II play on Friday and Saturday.

Play at the Automobile and Touring Club of Lebanon in Jounieh got underway of Friday with Benjamin Hassan taking on Jamaica’s Rowland “Randy” Phillips in singles.

Hassan, Lebanon’s highest ranked ATP singles player at 209, took a tight first set 7-5 before completing a straight-sets win with a 6-3 score-line in the second set.

It was then time for Jamaica’s highest ranked player, Blaise Bicknell, to see if he could level proceedings with a win over Hady Habib.

The pair played out a tight first set, eventually needing a tiebreak at 6-6 with Habib taking it 7 points to five over the Jamaican world number 430.

The second set was far less competitive, with Habib taking it 6-1 to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

On Saturday, Phillips and Bicknell were first up in doubles taking on Habib and Hassan.

The Lebanese took the first set 6-2 before the Jamaicans rallied to take the second 6-3. Lebanon’s pair then held their nerve to take the decider 6-3 and take a 3-0 lead in the tie.

The fourth match saw Mustapha El Natour secure a dominant 6-3, 6-1 win over Jamaica’s Daniel Azar.

 

As the calls for support for Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz continue to grow, noted sports consultant Carole Beckford, has added her voice to the effort and even went as far as to suggest ways in which seats can be filled for the upcoming local leg of the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying playoff against Canada.

Beckford, like Head coach Lorne Donaldson and Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President, Christopher Samuda, believes the Reggae Girlz are deserving of every bit of backing, and, as such, are urging Jamaicans to show out at the National Stadium on September 22.

This, as the second leg scheduled for September 26 at the close to 40,000-capacity BMO Field in Toronto, has already been sold out.

In fact, Beckford went further to recommend that schools such as Excelsior, Holy Childhood, Meadowbrook, Alpha, Holy Trinity, Camperdown and Dunoon, dismiss classes at 1:00 pm, to allow the girls time to get home and back to the game.

She said businesses that employ individuals with girls at those schools, could also release them early to possibly accompany their children and Corporate Offices with women as CEOs could buy tickets for their employees. 

Additionally, she suggested that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JFC) could make adjustments for vehicular movements until match time, to allow one-way traffic up from Arthur Wint Drive.

According to Beckford, the show of support would be somewhat of a celebration for the 37th-ranked Reggae Girlz for their exploits at the Fifa Women’s World Cup where they held France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and secured their first ever World Cup win with a 1-0 scoreline over Panama.

In the process, they became the first Caribbean nation –male or female – to play in the knockouts of the World Cup, since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

“This match could be a homecoming for the ladies, who were in the final 16 at the recently concluded World Cup in Australia/New Zealand. The Girlz deserve our support, let us all wear Jamaican colours next Friday. We will be up against the Reds,” Beckford urged.

Should the Girlz secure a victory and a draw against Canada, it would see them being the first Caribbean nation to qualify for women's football at the Olympic Games. It would also secure the Jamaicans the second automatic spot for the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, alongside United States.

The loser will drop into a women’s Gold Cup qualifying Group A, which includes Panama and Guatemala. They would play home and away games against these two teams starting October 25, with an away game in Panama.

Having had a successful run at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia, senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Lorne Donaldson says it comes as no surprise that a number of players recently landed contracts in top leagues, and hopes the experience gained so far will serve them well in their upcoming fixtures.

Donaldson, who maintained the majority of his World Cup squad for the two-leg Olympic Qualifying playoff fixtures against Canada on September 22 on home soil and September 26 in Toronto, pointed out that the aim is always to get players into contracts that not only benefit them, but also the women’s programme.

Subsequent to their history-making run to the Round of 16 at the global showpiece, standout defender Allyson Swaby, Trudi Carter, Tiernny Wiltshire, Konya Plummer and Deneisha Blackwood, all inked new deals.

Swaby, 26, signed with Italian club AC Milan until 2026, for what will be her second stint in the women’s Serie A, having previously represented AS Roma. Right-back Wiltshire signed with French Division one team Stade De Reims.

Carter, who also had a stint with AS Roma which was derailed by injury, joined Mexican club Atletico San Luis, while Blackwood and Plummer are also plying their trade in Mexico with Pumas Unam and Tigres Uanl, respectively.

“It’s a part of our objective to ensure that our players are playing in some of the best leagues around the world and it is important that the upcoming players see that Jamaicans can get contracts in top leagues, so we love to see that,” Donaldson told Sportsmax.tv.

“One of our main aims from we joined the programme is to get these Girlz in different parts of the world so they can make a living playing football and also help the programme and we have achieved that to an extent, so the coaching staff is very happy,” he added.

For the upcoming games, Donaldson have left out World Cup debutants Peyton McNamara and Kalyssa Van Zanten due to school obligations, while the experienced Havana Solaun is said to be unavailable.

As a result, Olufolasade Adamolekun, who has been in good knick in recent times and the versatile Sashana “Pete” Campbell, who was a World Cup alternate, comes in.

The 37th-ranked Reggae Girlz, who held France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and secured their first ever World Cup win with a 1-0 scoreline over Panama became the first Caribbean nation –male or female – to play in the knockouts of the World Cup, since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

Now they are on the hunt to rewrite the history books, as a victory and a draw against Canada would see the Jamaicans being the first Caribbean nation to qualify for women's football at the Olympic Games. It would also secure them the second automatic spot for the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, alongside United States.

The loser will drop into a women’s Gold Cup qualifying Group A, which includes Panama and Guatemala. They would play home and away games against these two teams starting October 25, with an away game in Panama.

“I’m sure the players are going to come in confident that they have a chance to get a result, so it is for us now to just come in and see what everybody looks like fitness wise and then we go from there. We expect the players to come in with some enthusiasm, it’s not the World Cup, so it’s a different approach to ensure we give it our best to get a result,” Donaldson shared.

“Once I get the best out of the Girlz then I would be happy and proud and if qualification comes with it then even better, but I am not too concerned about the historic aspect of it. We just want to keep moving forward towards building a strong and sustainable women’s football programme. It makes no sense we talk about history if the necessary support isn’t behind it,” the tactician noted.

That said, Donaldson expressed optimism that the Girlz will get a good turnout to start what should be two tough assignments against the reigning Olympic Champions who are out to prove a point after their early World Cup exit.

“They (Canada) are the defending champion so we expect them to be competitive as they will want to defend their crown. They didn’t perform so well at the World Cup, so this will be there shot at redemption, and they will have a point to prove. As you can see the game in Canada is already sold out, so everybody is behind them and they have a lot of support,” Donaldson assessed.

“People in Jamaica aren’t necessarily behind football, but they like to talk football. At the World Cup we got the support from the Australian crowd but in Jamaica you can’t even get a percentage of that.

“I’m sure the players are hopeful that the fans show up because when they get to Canada it’s going to be a full stadium of over 40,000, so hopefully we can get some people in the stands and get some support that the Girlz deserve,” he ended.

Donaldson and his team will assemble in Jamaica on September 19.

Tickets for all the games came be purchased at www.caribtix.com or www.jff.football.

Squad: Sydney Schneider, Rebecca Spencer, Liya Brooks, Allyson Swaby, Chantelle Swaby, Konya Plummer, Deneisha Blackwood, Tiernny Wiltshire, Tiffany Cameron, Vyan Sampson, Drew Spence, Atlanta Primus, Khadija Shaw, Jody Brown, Solai Washington, Kameron Simmonds, Trudi Carter, Paige Bailey-Gayle, Cheyna Matthews, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Kayla McKenna, Sashana Campbell

 

Faced with the challenge of establishing a winning culture, Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson insists that he is trying to do so in ways large and small. Though his plans, where delivering according to expectations are yet to really take flight, the Icelandic coach remains adamant that his brand is becoming increasingly evident on the Boyz since he took the reins late last year.

 For Hallgrimsson, the manner in which the Boyz have started their Concacaf Nations League campaign, is an extension of their Gold Cup semi-final run, and that, he believes represents a step in the right direction.

The 58th-ranked Boyz currently head Group B on four points in League A competition, as they registered a 1-0 win over Honduras last Friday, followed by a come-from-behind 2-2 stalemate with Haiti at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

“Everybody has their opinion, and I cannot control what people feel about the team. The only thing I can say is that we will continue to work, and we will try to improve. We all see football in a different way, with different eyes how we want football to be played, but we are trying to develop our game and that's the only thing we can do. We will continue to do what we have been trying to do,” Hallgrimsson declared.

Having stressed that his is a culture that is about improvement, Hallgrimsson expressed pleasure with the Boyz display against Haiti when compared to that against Honduras.

In that opener against Honduras, the Boyz looked scrappy when in possession, as their passing and, by extension, movements off the ball was woefully lacking and it took Demarai Gray’s solitary goal to spare their blushes.

While the Boyz looked much better in their attacking transition against Haiti, they were sloppy defensively and that resulted in the opponents taking and early two goal lead courtesy of Don Louicius, who struck in the 12th and 15th minutes. However, Hallgrimsson’s side rescued a point through a 51st-minute own-goal and Bobby Reid’s 81st minute penalty.

“If we compare these two performances, we did much better this game than against Honduras, so we need to be pleased that we are going at least in the right direction, even though we didn't win today (Tuesday). I thought we had a much better game, even though we won against Honduras,” Hallgrimsson shared during a post-game press conference.

He continued: “If we look at the results, I think it is good that we did not lose this game, and performance wise, I would say, even at two-zero, I felt that we were better team in that moment. So, it (falling behind) was kind of a slap in the face and if we take away those two, three mistakes, we didn't give them chances. I think we played a really a good game.

“But a coach is always most pleased with the character and togetherness that they showed to win this game. They fought until the end, we wanted to win…I think everybody saw that we wanted to win, we pushed for the win. So, I'm mostly pleased with the character in the team, we stood our ground and I like that we played in a high tempo like that as well and we should build on this performance in my opinion.”

That said, Hallgrimsson pointed out that with the core of his team now identified, the expectation is that the Boyz hustle and competitiveness will remain on the upgrade, especially as they hunt qualification for next year’s 48th edition of the prestigious Copa America to be staged in the United States.

Their next assignments will be away to Grenada on October 12, before visiting Haiti in the Dominican Republic on October 15.

To get to the Copa America, the Jamaicans are required to finish in the top six, as such, they will need to secure one of two spots from their group to progress to quarter-finals.

Should they do so and go on to win their quarter-finals fixture, the Boyz would automatically secure berth to Copa America. However, if not, then they would take the playoff route for a second shot at qualification.

“We're always looking to improve, I said it in the last press conference, we're happy with what we have, but we're always looking out for improvements in every area of our game for players but also how we play, or we work together etc.

“So, we just have to improve how we do things and do as much as we can. We try to analyze the opponent where the weakness is, and I felt we had a chance to punish them better than we did. But the only way you can improve your conversion rate is to train it day after day,” the tactician ended.

Jamaica...2
Ade (51st OG), Reid (81st)
 
Haiti...2
Louicius(12th, 15th)
 
Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz maintained their positive start to the Concacaf Nations League, but did so the hard way, as they had to come from behind to secure a 2-2 stalemate with Haiti at the National Stadium on Tuesday. 
 
A 51st-minute own-goal by Ricardo Ade and Bobby Reid's 81st-minute penalty, rescued a point for the Reggae Boyz, after Don Louicius's first half brace in the 12th and 15th minutes.
 
With the point, the Jamaicans remain in pole position to complete a top two finish in Group B of League A, as they sit on four points, same as Cuba, who edged Suriname 1-0 in their contest. Haiti inched up to two points in third followed Grenada and Suriname on one point each, but that was expected to change at the end of the game day, as Honduras were leading Grenada 1-0 in the late group fixture.
 
Following their win against Honduras last week, Heimir Hallgrimsson's side would have been confident of securing another three points and they started more purposefully which all but signalled their intent.
 
They fired a warning shot in the second minute through Kasey Palmer, whose left-footed shot was parried by Jhony Placide who got down well to his right in goal for Haiti. The resulting corner presented another opportunity, but Shemar Nicholson steered his header wide of the target.
 
However, the Jamaicans had the wind knock from them as it was the Haitians that broke the deadlock against the run of play, courtesy of Louicius with his first senior goal. The player sporting the number 11 jersey, shook a challenge from Damion Lowe and later fired past Andre Blake. 
 
Before the Boyz could recover, they found themselves further behind when Mondy Prunier orchestrated a counterattack and played a pass on a platter for Louicius to capitalise on some lacklustre defending by the Jamaicans as he fired home beating Blake all ends up.
 
Jamaicans continued to press and created a few openings from which they should have at least pulled on back, but faulty shooting and a lack of composure proved their undoing.
 
The best of those chances came on the stroke of half-time when Nicholson found himself in on goal but drove his right-footer wide of the target, as Haiti remained 2-0 up at the break.
 
With the lead in their favour, the Haitians came out spiritedly on the resumption and Louicius tested Blake with a left-footed strike from a distance, but the custodian got down well to gather.
 
The Jamaicans needing a saviour  gradually came to life in attack and like it was in their opening contest against Honduras, Gray came to their rescue, albeit fortuitously, as his soft effort along the ground was deflected in by Ade.
 
Nicholson should have pulled the Boyz level in the 54th from a break. However, he was hesitant in getting the shot off from close range and was later dispossessed by a recovering defender.
 
Though on the backfoot, the Haitians didn't just merely absorb pressure, they continued the probe to add to their tally and almost did so on the hour mark when Prunier again played provider, this time to Danley Jean, whose firm eft-footer from just inside the 18-yard box, rattled the crossbar.
 
The Jamaicans responded two minutes later and almost pulled level when Kasey Palmer's shot from the top of the 18-yard box and was just kept out by Placide.
 
It was an intriguing end-to-end battle at that point as Haiti went on the counter a minute later, Prunier dismissed his marker, but couldn't get beyond Blake, who left his line well in a one-on-one situation. 
 
After applying consistent pressure coupled with a few timely substitutions, the Jamaicans eventually pulled level when Reid fired home from the penalty spot, after one of those substitutes, Romario Williams's shit was handled inside the danger area.
 
The Jamaicans thought they had all three points in the bag in the dying moments of the contest when Reid's well-struck shot from a distance had goal written all over it, but for a well-timed dive from Placide, who ensured Gabriel Pellegrino's team held on for a share of the spoils.
 
The teams will now head into the break before the return leg fixtures in October. 
 
Teams: Jamaica -Andre Blake, Damion Lowe (Dishon Bernard 74th), Amari'i Bell, Ethan Pinnock, Javain Brown, Leon Bailey, Bobby Reid, Demarai Gray (Dujuan Richards 74th), Joel Latibeaudiere (Daniel Johnson 74th), Kasey Palmer, Shemar Nicholson (Romario Williams 79th)
 
Subs not used: Jahmali Waite, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Kevon Lambert, Demario Phillips, Adrian Mariappa, Renaldo Cephas, Gregory Leigh, Tayvon Gray, Kevon Lambert
 
Booked: Bernard (83rd), Johnson (90+3)
 
Haiti -Jhony Placide, Ricardo Ade, Djimy-Alexis, Garven-Michee Metusala, Alex Christian, Jeppe Friborg, Danley Jean (Francois Dulysse 87th), Carl Sainte, Don Louicius (Shaynder Borgelain 70th), Steven Seance, Mondy Prunier
 
Subs not used: Alexandre Pierre, Garrisone Innocent, Derrick Etienne Jr, Jayro Jean
 
Booked: Sainte (30th), Djimy-Alexis (63rd, 90th(red), Jean (80th), Ade (80th)
 
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant referees: Alberto Morin (MEX); Marco Bisguerra (MEX)
Fourth official: Enrique Santander (MEX)
Match Commissary: Egbert Lacle (ARU)

“A great feeling” is how Reggae Boyz winger Demarai Gray described netting his first goal on Jamaican soil.

The 29-year-old scored his third goal for the Reggae Boyz and his first in Jamaica to help the team secure a 1-0 win over Honduras to kick off their CONCACAF Nations League Group A campaign at the National Stadium on Friday.

After a scrappy and cagey first half, the Al Ettifaq winger latched on to a through ball from Fulham midfielder, Bobby Decordova-Reid, to comfortably slot home Jamaica’s winner in the 64th minute.

“It was important that we got the three points because that’s all that matters in the end,” Gray told the media after the match.

“It wasn’t the nicest game. Credit to Honduras because they were aggressive and made it difficult for us but in the second half, we came back together and came up with a game plan. You have to be patient in these games and wait for the moment and, luckily, the moment came for me on this occasion. We’ll look back on what we did well and what we did badly and focus on the next game,” he added.

The former Everton man also described the feeling of scoring his first goal in front of the Jamaican crowd.

“Scoring in front of the fans was a great feeling but, most importantly, we take the three points. The fans came out to watch us so we needed to give them something to celebrate and we did that,” he said.

“We have to give thanks for them because without them, we’re half as strong. When we play at home, especially, we have to give our best. Jamaica as a team are going to keep growing,” he added.

Gray will hope to continue his excellent form to start his Reggae Boyz career when the Jamaicans host Haiti at the same venue on Tuesday.

 

Jamaica...1

Gray (64th)
 
Honduras...0
 
Demarai Gray ensured Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz opened their 2023 Concacaf Nations League account on a winning note, as his all-important strike edged Honduras 1-0 in a lukewarm affair that fell way below expectations at the National Stadium on Friday.
 
Gray, who recently completed a move from English Premier League (EPL) outfit Everton to Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League, fired home his third international goal in the 64th minute to secure all three points for the Reggae Boyz, putting them in pole position to complete a top two finish in Group B of League A.
 
The win has Heimir Hallgrimsson's side on three points, two ahead of Cuba, Haiti, Grenada and Suriname, who all have one point each after playing out stalemates in their respective opening encounters.
 
Cuba and Haiti were goalless in their contest played in the Dominican Republic, while Grenada and Suriname were 1-1 in St George’s.
 
At the National Stadium in Jamaica, the Reggae Boyz started positively and threatened with their first build up, but Dujuan "Whisper" Richards couldn't find space to get a shot off. 
 
Honduras followed up with a quick response, as Luis Palma fired a warning shot from just over 18 yards out, which went straight in the arms of Jahmali Waite, who was given starting duties in place of front-line goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake, out sick.
 
The Jamaicans thought they had the breakthrough in the fifth minute, but Bobby Reid's goal was from an offside position.
 
From there, the tempo of the game dropped with both teams looking scrappy when in possession, the Jamaicans in particular, as their passing and, by extension, movements off the ball was woefully lacking.
 
That disconnect between Jamaica's defence and attack allowed Honduras some semblance of ascendancy and the visitors almost made it count in the 20th when Palma again tried his luck from a distance, but again found Waite in the way as the young goalkeeper took flight to tip over the crossbar. 
 
The Boyz looked their best in the latter stages of the first half and almost found the go-ahead goal in 44th when Richards's stinging left-footer from just outside the 18-yard box came back off the right upright, as they went into the break goalless.
 
It was more of the same on the resumption with the Jamaicans struggling to find cohesion, while Honduras tried to play their game. 
 
The Central Americans should have gone ahead in the 57th when Palma found himself in one-on-one situation with Waite, but his delicate chip shot just went over the crossbar.
 
That missed opportunity later proved costly, as Gray who was playing his first game on home soil, gave the Jamaicans something to celebrate.
 
A tidy build up from the back orchestrated by Ethan Pinnock, found Reid, who played off a one-time pass that sent Gray on his way and the fleet-footed player left his marker before firing past Edrick Menjivar in goal for Honduras.
 
Though they tried, Honduras couldn't find the elusive equaliser, as the Jamaicans held firm defensively for the win.
 
Gray, in a post-game press conference admitted that it wasn't the most polished performance by the team but welcomed the three points. 
 
"It's good to get the winning goal my first time back home. It wasn't the best performance, but we got the three points which was important," he said.
 
Teams: Jamaica -Jahmali Waite, Damion Lowe, Amari'i Bell, Ethan Pinnock, Javain Brown (Tayvon Gray 66th), Leon Bailey, Bobby Reid (Kevon Lambert 77th), Demarai Gray (Renaldo Cephas 82nd), Dujuan Richards (Shemar Nicholson 66th), Joel Latibeaudiere, Kasey Palmer (Daniel Johnson 66th)
 
Subs not used: Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Kevon Lambert, Dishon Bernard, Daniel Johnson, Demario Phillips, Romario Williams, Adrian Mariappa, Renaldo Cephas, Gregory Leigh
 
Booked: Latibeaudiere (68th), Reid (68th), T Gray (90+2)
 
Honduras -Edrick Menjivar, Devron Garcia, Luis Vega (Riky Zapata 65th), Bryan Acosta (Jorge Benguche 77th), Joseph Rosales (Alexander Lopez 89th), Antony Lozano, Maylor Nunez, Andy Najar (65th), Denil Maldonado, Luis Palma, Deybi Flores
 
Subs not used: Juergen Garcia, Marlon Licona, Raul Santos, Jorge Alvarez, David Ruiz-Ochoa, Carlos Pineda, Daniel Carter, Franklin Flores
 
Booked: Acosta (29th), Vega (38th), Maldonado (39th), Rodriguez (73rd), Zapata (74th)
 
Referee: Daniel Quintero (MEX)
Assistant referees: Ibrahim Martinez (MEX); Pablo Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth official: Victor Carcores (MEX)
Match Commissary: Egbert Lacle (ARU)

World Championship sprint-relay silver medallist Natasha Morrison and sprint hurdler Amoi Brown emerged victorious in their respective events at Sunday’s Meeting Citta' Di Padova 2023 in Italy.

Morrison, who ran the lead off leg for Jamaica who won the 4x100m relay silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month, stormed to victory in the 100m clocking a time of 11.15.

The USA’s Twanisha Terry, who incidentally, was on the USA’s gold-medal winning team, was close behind in 10.21. Briana Williams, who was also a member of the Jamaican relay squad, took third place in a time of 11.39.

Brown, meanwhile, who just missed out on a place on Jamaica’s team to the world championships when she finished fourth at her country’s national championships in July, had better fortunes on Sunday when she dominated the 100m hurdles.

Running into a headwind of -0.8m/s, Brown’s time was 12.83. She had daylight between herself and second-place finisher Hanna Toth of Hungary, who clocked a pedestrian 13.20 with Japan’s Mako Fukube close behind in third in 13.25.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 100m dash, Michael Campbell of Jamaica, finished second in 10.28 after he was pipped at the line by the USA’s Kyree King, who ran a winning time of 10.27. They raced into a headwind of -0.7m/s.

Canada’s Aaron Brown finished third in 10.31.

In the long jump, World Championship bronze medallist Tajay Gayle had to settle for second place after his jump of 8.00m was bettered by France’s Tom Campagne’s effort of 8.09m. Reece Ademola of Ireland jumped 7.97m to secure the other podium spot.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says his team will not only draw inspiration from senior Reggae Girlz Fifa Women’s World Cup exploits, but more importantly, build on the positives from their own Gold Cup campaign to achieve future success.

Hallgrimsson’s sentiments came as he named a 23-player squad for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League tournament, where they will be hunting qualification for next year’s 48th edition of the prestigious Copa America to be staged in the United States.

The Boyz, who will contest League A of the Nations League, are grouped with Suriname, Haiti, Honduras, Cuba and Grenada.

They are scheduled to open their account on home soil against Honduras on September 8, before tackling Caribbean rivals Haiti, four days later. Both games are scheduled for the National Stadium.

Following those games, Hallgrimsson’s side will play away to Grenada on October 12, before visiting Haiti on October 15.

To get to the Copa America, the Jamaicans are required to finish in the top six, as such, they will need to secure one of two spots from their group to progress to quarter-finals.

Should they do so and go on to win their quarter-finals fixture, the Boyz would automatically secure berth to Copa America, however, if not, then they would take the playoff route for a second shot at qualification.

With that in mind, Hallgrimsson, alluded to the Reggae Girlz, who became the first male or female team from the Caribbean to contest the knockout rounds at a World Cup since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

On the way to that accomplishment, the Girlz held top-ranked France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and also secured a first ever World Cup win with a 1-0 scoreline over Panama.

“A lot of positivity surrounds Jamaica’s football at the moment, the Girlz performance should give us energy for our games and we should try to use that to our benefit to go forward. But before I go forward, I want to look back at the Gold Cup, we were very satisfied with that tournament and we got even more positivity from analyzing those games,” Hallgrimsson said during a press conference on Friday.

“We feel that we are getting stronger as a unit and as a team. We had some good performances from players, some were new faces at the tournament with very little preparation period prior and we know those players will grow into the team and play an even bigger role than they did in the Gold Cup. So lot of positives, if we talk tactically, we know we can improve in areas like our attacking game, as well how we possess the ball,” he added.

On that note, Hallgrimsson only made four changes from that Gold Cup squad with Jonathan Russell, Kaheem Parris, Javain Brown and Kemar Lawrence being replaced by Tayvon Gray, Kasey Palmer, Greg Leigh and former Arnett Gardens standout Renaldo Cephas.

The American-born Gray, 21, who currently represents New York City FC, won the MLS Cup in 2021 and Campeones Cup in 2022. The right-back also represented the United States in multiple games at the youth level.

Aware that Jamaica contested the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, the Icelandic coach is hoping to also achieve the feat during his tenure, as he believes playing at that level will be integral to their preparations for a shot at making the 2026 World Cup.

“As I said we were very pleased with the Gold Cup so there are not much new faces for this camp. Time spent together is hugely important to us, so again qualifying for the Copa America will help us even more in preparation for the World Cup,” Hallgrimsson declared.

“Firstly, we want to win and be number one in Nations League. That is one thing, it is just an extra spice that doing well in this competition will give us a chance to play in the Copa America, an even bigger competition than the Gold Cup.

“In the process of growing as a unit, it is really important that we qualify for competitions like this to keep the growth going. So, we are just preparing ourselves playing in big tournaments like this,” he reasoned.

Moving up the Fifa rankings is another component of added significance for Hallgrimsson, who again made note of the Reggae Girlz rise from 43rd to 37th, as well as his team’s own move from 66th to 58th.

“Fifa ranking means a lot in national team football today. For example, in the Nations League the top four ranked teams United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama, don’t need to play in the group stage, they automatically qualify for the quarter-finals and that is a huge benefit for them.

“So we want to be in that position to not need to play a whole group stage to be able to play for top four. We want to be top four in the ranking and I would say if we get to 40, it would be a huge success for us,” Hallgrimsson noted.

Squad: Goalkeepers –Andre Blake, Jahmali Waite, Conniah Boyce-Clarke

Defenders –Damion Lowe, Tayvon Gray, Ethan Pinnock, Amari’i Bell, Di’Shon Bernard, Dexter Lembikisa, Adrian Mariappa, Greg Leigh

Midfielders –Kasey Palmer, Joel Latibeaudiere, Daniel Johnson, Kevon Lambert, Bobby Reid

Forwards –Leon Bailey, Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray, Dejuan Richards, Cory Burke, Shamar Nicholson, Renaldo Cephas

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