SPORTS

Reggae Boyz In A Plundering Mood vs. Trinidad & Tobago

(Oh, dance crasher)

Oh, oh, oh, oh

(Oh, dance crasher)

Oh no, no (aaaah)

Don’t break it up

Please don’t make a fuss

Go to a gym

Get yourself in trim

(Be a big fighter)

(‘tead of a dance crasher)

Let me tell you (wha-oooo)

Be a gentleman (wha-oooo)

You could be a champion (wha-oooo)

Like Mr. Bunny Grant (wha-oooo)

Alton Ellis — Dance Crasher

The song titled Dance Crasher by the late Alton Ellis is apt in describing the enthralling display of football by the young Reggae Boyz against a cocky Trinidad and Tobago team, which had earlier drubbed St Kitts and Nevis 3 nil in their recent Gold Cup opening encounter.

Prior to the Reggae Boyz 1- 1 draw against the U.S. and now a win in fine style — 4-1 against their Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago, Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson had come under a lot of criticism and great scrutiny.

The fact of the matter is he had had a winless streak in eight friendly games before his win on Wednesday.

Until now, his record showed 0-3 to Argentina, 0-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, and 2-1 to Qatar and Jordan, respectively, in friendly fixtures. His record also includes 1-1 and goalless score lines with Cameroon and Trinidad and Tobago, also in friendlies, followed by a 2-2 Nations League stalemate with Mexico and, more recently, a 1-1 tie with the United States in their Gold Cup opener.

However, the Reggae Boyz, with some sumptuous goals in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A fixture on Wednesday, would have avenged those losses and put some joy not only in the Icelander’s heart but also in the hearts of all Jamaicans despite waiting for the fat lady to sing. 

The triumph for the Jamaican team came via the route of goals from Demarai Gray (14th and 28th), Leon Bailey (17th), and 17-year-old Dujuan “Whisper” Richards (90+2), who became the youngest scorer in the history of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Andre Rampersad (49th) gave the twin-island republic something to wipe away the tears from their eyes — a consolation goal in the 49th minute.

At the same time, the Reggae Boyz coach had reason to brag a little in his post-match conference amid the criticisms.

“I haven’t lost a competitive game for Jamaica, and that is what matters, the competitive matches. I am pretty sure this team will grow, there are a lot of young players starting to play for us, and they will only grow as the tournament gets older. That is the important thing about tournaments like these.”

“Normally in a FIFA Window when you have players for seven days, eight days, maximum, and you have two matches, there is so little you can do to connect with them at that time. But when you have a tournament like this, you can always add things where you can improve the understanding between individual players. So, it’s helping us a lot which is why it’s important to be here and that is why it is important to make it to the Copa America next year as well, so we can continue to grow as a team,” he added.

Hallgrimsson, who was also taken to task about his selection of rising sensation Richards, argued that the late goal scored by the former Kingston College and the Chelsea-bound prospect justified the coaching staff’s decision.

He touted Richards as one with a great future ahead of him and, with experience over time, will be a menace to all opposition.

“Normally, I don’t like to talk about individual players, but we were criticized for picking the kid, and he only needed 10 minutes to score a goal, so that shows why we selected him, and I don’t think he knows what he is going to do, the opponents don’t know what he is going to do, but he is lethal. 

 “I have to admit when he took the shot, I was wondering why he was shooting from that range, but he scored, so he is kind of like the guy that defy the odds a little bit, and all teams need players like him. As I said before he has a lot to learn, but he still knows a lot and can do a lot right now,” Hallgrimsson shared.

He also had high praise for Gray, who celebrated his 27th birthday with a brace in only his second appearance as a Jamaican international. 

“Demarai, everybody knew he was a long time coming, I think we started talking about him coming to Jamaica two years ago so for everyone to see now how good an individual talent he is, taking players on, he is a real quality on the field, and he is fast as well. It will take time for him to really get into the tactics and get to know the players around him, but I think it was a good birthday present he gave to all of us scoring two goals and I think he had a really good game,” Hallgrimsson noted.

He also spoke of the depth of his squad and the workman-like attitude of the Boyz under his charge.

“We have good depth in the squad, not much difference between some players and we have tried these players in these positions before, so it was good to give both Javain [Brown] and Dexter Lembikisa a chance to play and Amari’i was a little bit injured, so we didn’t want to risk him so that’s why Taxi [Kemar Lawrence] started at left back and did a good job there. But at half time, he felt a little stiffening up, so we moved Dexter to the left and Joel Latibeaudiere played right.” 

He further said, “So there were a lot of changes going on in these positions and then just the rotations of the center-backs, I think Dishon Bernard did a really good job, so I hope Jamaicans are happy to see that there is a young center-back coming up, he showed his strength and character in this game and in general was really good.” 

“I don’t think Trinidad created a chance except for the goal, I think that was the only chance they created, so that’s good and shows the defensive game we played today (Wednesday),” he concluded.

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

 Edited by Jesus Chan

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