Sport

Ricketts disappointed with poor showing of U-23 Boyz

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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As Jamaica's Under-23 team failed to progress from the Caribbean phase of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts says his administration will be looking for answers from the coaching staff.

The so-called quality of players assembled in the Donovan Duckie-conditioned squad had promised much and anticipation was high that they would get to at least the business end of the qualifiers.

However, two disappointing 1-1 stalemates against Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis in their Group A games have now left them out in the cold, and the governing JFF forced to analyse what turned out to be a rather dismal campaign on home soil.

The Jamaicans ended second on the three-team standing on two points behind St Kitts and Nevis, who came from behind at the Anthony Spaulding Complex on Sunday to earn the required point to finish atop on four points. The twin-island nation had earlier blanked the pointless Dominica 4-0 on Friday.

“To say I'm disappointed with the result is certainly an understatement; because I really think that we have real quality players and for us to draw with Dominica and again draw with St Kitts and Nevis — it is indeed extremely disappointing,” Ricketts told journalists at a press conference at Jamaica Pegasus Hotel yesterday.

Jamaica needed to beat St Kitts and Nevis in Sunday's decisive group game to advance to the next round, but despite dominating possession, they failed to secure the victory. This meant that St Kitts and Nevis secured the lone qualifying spot to the next round, while eliminating Jamaica in the process.

Ricketts pointed out that some introspection will be done upon return of the team and coaching staff which will depart the island today for the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

At the July 29 to August 10 PanAm Games, Duckie's side will play from Group B against Honduras, Uruguay and the host nation.

“We have actually started our introspection. The coach and the squad will leave tomorrow (today), so as soon as they are back, the technical staff will be meeting with us, and we will certainly have a fulsome discussion and a report ought to be tailored,” Ricketts noted.

According to Ricketts, a dissection of the team's nightmare showing is even more warranted given the substantial support offered to the programme by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) in a three-year agreement in the form of a training programme specially designed to select the top-tier Under-23 players for the Olympic programme.

That $8-million agreement was used to cover costs associated with international training camps and practice games including nutritional support, transportation, gears, and match-related costs

The team's preparation started in May last year.

“JOA has worked so hard in supporting the JFF and I know for sure that they must be disappointed at what transpired last evening,” Ricketts stressed.

— Sherdon Cowan


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