Sun | Aug 25, 2019

U-23 Boyz fail homework

Published:Monday | July 22, 2019 | 12:23 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Under-23 footballer Ricardo Thomas hangs his head in shame after the team’s failure to advance to the next round of Olympic football qualifying.
Jamaica Under-23 footballer Ricardo Thomas hangs his head in shame after the team’s failure to advance to the next round of Olympic football qualifying.

Jamaica’s under-23 men’s team crashed out of the Concacaf men’s Olympic qualifying first round after playing to a 1-1 draw with group winners St Kitts and Nevis at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex last night. St Kitts, who also beat Dominica 4-0 on Friday, topped the three-team group with four points, while Jamaica, who also drew their previous game 1-1, ended with two and Dominica one.

After failing to win any of his two matches at home and seeing his team drop out at the first stage, head coach Donovan Duckie believes it is time for the nation to stop underestimating its Caribbean counterparts.

WAKE UP CALL

“It’s time to wake up and stop thinking of yesteryear. Yesteryear, Jamaica and dominant Trinidad and Tobago were the dominant sides and maybe Haiti, too. But football has evolved. When we did our background check on this team, the midfield trio includes two players from England and one from Mexico, and players from the USL (United Soccer League in America), so we knew we were playing a quality team. We got the go-ahead goal, and we tried to maintain the advantage, but we didn’t,” he said afterwards.

Both teams were even in the first half, with St Kitts playing with a lot of belief. Jamaica did create a number of opportunities but were not clinical. They eventually grabbed the lead when Nicque Daley latched on to a loose ball and slotted home.

Five minutes after the break, Daley and Alex Marshall had good chances, but neither could make the right touch to goal.

But St Kitts kept going forward in search of the equaliser, and they were rewarded in the 56th minute when Geovanni Lake picked up a ball inside the area and beat goalkeeper Jeadine White with a low strike from 12 yards for his third of the tournament.

St Kitts then dropped back to defend and the Jamaicans found it difficult to get through although chances fell to Daley, Lamar Walker, and Deshane Beckford. However, Lake and Tahir Hanley also had good breaks for St Kitts, but Lake headed wide and Hanley could not beat White from close range, twice, near the end.

“Our families back home are very proud,” St Kitts and Nevis coach Earl Jone, said. “We don’t even have a professional league back home, so the players decided to come here to prove a point, and they really did.”