Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Hubert Busby, who had the unfortunate task of leading the Reggae Girlz in their failed bid for a place at the Tokyo Olympics this month, believes that despite the obvious regression since a historic World Cup berth last year, there is hope for the future of the programme.

According to Busby, while investment in the Reggae Girlz is important, even more focus should be paid to the younger members of the programme, to the youth.

“I do think there needs to be some true strategic planning and putting things in place that are vitally important, not just for the [senior] women's programme, but the youth programme as well,” said Busby in an interview with Jamaican newspaper The Jamaica Observer.

According to Busby, he would want to continue as Reggae Girlz head coach, saying he would be honoured were the conditions right.

The conditions certainly were not right when Busby led the team into the final round of CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers, with the Reggae Girlz going down 1-0 to Mexico before receiving a 9-0 thrashing from Canada. There was some joy for the Reggae Girlz though, as their final game of the round was a 7-0 demolition of St Kitts & Nevis.

“Obviously if the conditions are right and there's a serious collaborative effort for the programme to progress, obviously I would once again be honoured to lead my country in this role,” he said.

The Reggae Girlz had one camp ahead of the qualifiers, largely because the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the coaching staff which took the Girlz to the World Cup, were at war.

Head coach Hue Menzies had resigned and his assistant Lorne Donaldson, who should have been a shoo-in for the top job, had enough reservations that his employers ultimately went in another direction with Busby. Donaldson consequently resigned having not known what his position with the team was.

“If you truly look at other national teams and how far they've come, all you have to do is look how much investment has gone into the youth programmes to see what comes through. So I'd love to be a part of the solution to make that happen in Jamaica, and look at how we can kind of formulate and work with those local coaches and the director of football and the federation to figure out how we continue to develop players on the island who are ready to play at international level,” said Busby.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange says all is set for the unveiling of the statue of Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell on Sunday, February 9.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness will unveil the statue in a special ceremony at Statue Park in the National Stadium, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Minister Grange has invited the public to attend the ceremony and witness the unveiling of the statue.

Minister Grange said: “This is the final of four statues that we commissioned as part of the Jamaica 55 Legacy programme to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes.

The statues not only highlight Jamaican athletic success but will serve as inspiration for all of us about what is possible when we try.

So I invite as many people as possible to join us on Sunday and celebrate with Asafa.

”The renowned Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson was engaged by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport to design statues in honour of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

It is normal for players who are not turning out for the West Indies to return to their franchises when a regional competition is on, but that did not happen yesterday with Shimron Hetmyer and the Guyana Jaguars who began their contest with the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

Hetmyer had been dropped by the Windies ahead of an away series against Bangladesh after failing a fitness test and was expected to take his place with the Jaguars on Thursday.

However, according to the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Hetmyer did not follow the protocol associated with contracted players not on West Indies duties ahead of the game.

“Players who are not on West Indies duties but are contracted to the West Indies are supposed to report to their franchise,” GCB Secretary Anand Sanasie was reported as saying.

“Since returning from West Indies duties he has not reported to the franchise for training … which automatically makes him unavailable,” said Sanasie.

Hetmyer and Windies opener Evin Lewis fell afoul of Windies’ fitness requirements but the team’s chief selector, Roger Harper, had said the Guyanese left-hander was well on his way to getting himself together.

With that in mind, Cricket West Indies had said Hetmyer and Lewis would have been retested in another two weeks.

Next week the Jaguars will go to Grenada where they take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes and Sanasie believes whenever Hetmyer makes himself available, he will be [art of the team.

“We wish him well. Once he has made himself available he would be selected to play for the franchise,” said Sanasie.

Kemar Lawrence has always wanted to make the move from Major League Soccer (MLS) to Europe and his move to Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, is a realisation of that dream but according to website Red Bulls News Network, the move is not solely driven by the player’s football.

According to the website, the Reggae Boy, while known as a fierce competitor on the field, providing yeoman’s service to the club since his time there, his decisions off the field have been problematic.

The website points to sources close to the organization which allege that Lawrence has had issues with the team since Jesse Marsch’s tenure as head coach.

Those sources say one of the many problems Lawrence displayed was a failure to report to the club after international duty.

“In some cases, he would remain out of contact with the team for several days, reportedly turning his phone off,” the website purported.

Red Bulls News Network cited an example last spring where the Philadelphia Union visited the New York stadium and delivered a beating on the team.

Lawrence was down to play in that game after coming off international duty but was a no-show. In contrast, Andre Blake, the Jamaican goalkeeper, who plays for the Union, started the game.

The website alleges that then coach of the Red Bulls, Chris Armas, covered for Lawrence pointing to his exertions during the international outing and being careful after a recent injury.

Hype Projects Agency, the organisation in charge of Lawrence’s career has denied the website’s claims, saying the left-back’s trade had everything to do with Anderlecht’s will to sign the player.

“Our client’s transfer was based solely on RSC Anderlecht’s desire to sign Kemar, regarded as one of, if not the best left-back in the MLS.  As our vision for Kemar’s growth we felt the timing and contract offer was in-line with where a player of his ability should be,” said Director of Soccer, Kevin Weinress.

Reggae Boy Cory Burke may be finding his way back onto a professional pitch if his club, the Philadephia Union can have their way.

The 28-year-old Burke has been playing for Portmore United, despite having a contract with the Philadelphia Union in the United States’ Major League because he lost his P1 status early last year.

A P1 visa is applicable to athletes entering the United States to perform at a specific athletic competition as an individual athlete or as part of a team at an internationally recognized level of performance.

Burke’s misfortune was beneficial to Portmore United, for whom he turned out in the interim.

Burke’s paperwork was complete recently and he is now well on the way to being able to apply for a green card but until then, the Philadephia Union the team he has been playing on since 2017 when they bought him from the Bethlehem Steel, will be loaning him out.

The striker, who has scored 11 goals in his 20 appearances for Portmore, will now turn out for Austrian outfit, SKN St Polten.

Polten, the 2016 Austrian Champions, now sits ninth in a 12-team table, just three points from bottom.

“I think I found a pretty good solution for him. He is on his way at this moment,” said Philadephia’s Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.

“Everything is not written, but we have an agreement and Cory already has an agreement with the club.”

According to Tanner, the loan spell with St Polten is to get Burke playing at a high level again before his re-integration into the MLS system.

“I think they have a good situation for him, as he will join a club where the coach is a friend of mine and he knows everything about the player,” Tanner said.

“The goal is to give him match practice on the higher level than he has had so far and bring him back at the beginning of May if possible,” he added.

“He can re-apply for a green card by the end of April, and that’s what we have in mind. Loan him out until then and then bringing him back.” 

The Jamaica Football Federation’s issues with the Reggae Girlz and who should coach them are not yet over with the Sunday night announcement that veteran coach, Lorne Donaldson has quit.

According to reports in the media, Donaldson left his post as Reggae Girlz assistant coach with immediate effect.

His resignation letter suggests the reason for the resignation falls in line with an earlier parting of the ways, by his boss, Hue Menzies.

"This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF," said Donaldson, who is also executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer.

Menzies had resigned, suggesting the JFF were not professional in handling contract negotiations.

Donaldson, who was seen as frontrunner to take Menzies place had said he would not take the head coach job unless things changed.

Now he wants nothing to do with the job completely.

The resignation also comes days after the JFF announced an interim head coach appointment for Hubert Busby, who had been the Reggae Girlz goalkeeping coach.

There was also the appointment of long-time Boys’ Town coach Andrew Price as an assistant, as the Reggae Girlz take on the second round of Olympic Qualifying next month.

Donaldson’s letter did not make mention of the fact that an assistant was hired while he was substantively in that role but his last tour with the women’s programme was to hold a training camp for under-17 and under-20 Reggae Girlz last month.

Before that Donaldson took up head coaching during the Reggae Girlz successful first round of Olympic qualifying, while Menzies took time off.

Here is Donaldson’s full resignation letter

Dear Mr. [Michael] Ricketts:

After careful consideration, I must immediately tender my resignation from all duties associated with the Jamaica Football Federation women’s program. This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF.

I’m honored to have served Jamaica’s football community for over 45 years and will continue to do so in many capacities. However, I will not in clear conscience, continue to work for an organization that blatantly disregard the sacrifices of the coaching staff and the Reggae Girlz. As coaches, we have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, but jointly we successfully led our women’s senior team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in history. This was a tremendous feat and one for which we should all be incredibly proud.

I thank the JFF, Hue Menzies and my peers, Reggae Girlz Ambassador, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation who were instrumental in bringing financial support and reviving awareness through social media about the plight of the Reggae Girlz. I also thank members of the Reggae Girlz Foundation, our many sponsors and the Jamaican supporters worldwide for their unwavering support.

Most importantly, I sincerely thank all members of the Reggae Girlz teams for their dedication and commitment while overcoming adversity in challenging conditions as without them these accomplishments would not have been possible.

Green Bibs long-time striker, Marcus Brodber does not know what the next season of weekend Champions League football will look like, or if there will be one after a major blunder from senior management of another club during the recently opened January Transfer Window.

According to reports, Brodber, had been having dressing room issues with the rest of his Green Bibs teammates, who, he believes, do not value his importance to the team.

Toward the end of December, when the Weekend Champions League ends, Brodber’s disillusionment came to a head and he sought leave for a transfer.

According to a source close to the situation, who asked that his name not be revealed because he was not authorized to comment, Brodber’s agent, Mino Raiola, had secured a permanent move for the out-of-favour striker and a deal was penned with this season’s champions Red Bibs.

There was little known about Red Bibs until this past season when despite boasting very little pedigree or history to speak of, the side shocked the footballing world to land an unlikely Weekend Champions League title.

Brodber, in a leaked photograph, was seen celebrating with Red Bibs after the season ended, ramping up speculation the striker would be on the move in the offseason.

Red Bibs President, Andrew McIntosh confirmed in that offseason that Brodber would be on his way to Red Bibs and would have started in January pending a medical.

However, in a twist, the team’s CEO, Sean Bell, axed Brodber from the side he put on the field for the first game of the season, saying the President did not have authority to make trades without the rest of the management staff being aware.

McIntosh, who was inexplicably absent from the game, has come out to say the faux pas was completely his fault and that he would be rectifying the situation.

But Brodber may have already moved on from the slight, saying in an interview with SportsMax.tv, he was ‘very embarrassed’.

Brodber went further to question McIntosh’s intentions.

“Mr McIntosh was this all a sham,” Brodber asked after pointing out that he moved his family to be closer to Red Bibs’ training ground, making the slight all the more personal.

Social media has been abuzz since the incident, with Chairman of Green Bibs, Errol Mighty, suggesting there would be no return to Green Bibs for Brodber.

“This is serious … sounds like you’re now without a club,” said Mighty in a leaked WhatsApp group message.

Mighty’s comments were seconded by his CEO, Kwame Miller.

More uncertainty was thrown into the ring after the incident as well, as SportsMax.tv’s source, also pointed out that McIntosh, had, a few years ago voiced opposition to having Brodber sign with Red Bibs, forcing Sunday’s incident to take on a more sinister hue.

Reports out of FIFA are suggesting there will be an investigation into the transfer policies and practices of Red Bibs, the result of which could mean a suspension from doing any further business in the market.

Young Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams lowered her 60m personal best again at the Clemson University's Orange & Purple Elite Invitational on Saturday.

Windies coach Phil Simmons is standing firmly behind the comments of his captain, Kieron Pollard and demanding that his young charges play a ‘complete’ game of cricket against Ireland when the final ODI of their Colonial Medical Insurance series bowls off on Sunday.

“I think the message is for us to play a complete game and not just bowl well, or bat well, or field well and finish the series 3-0, because 3-0 is always better than 2-1.

The West Indies took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series on Thursday when they inched over the line in a one-wicket victory at Kensington Oval. At the same venue, the West Indies had shown chinks in their armour in a more dominant display, running out five-wicket winners on that occasion.

Alzarri Joseph had earned man-of-the-match honours in both games, bagging 4-37 and 4-32 to keep the West Indies’ targets relatively low.

“I’m happy with Alzarri, not just on the pitch but the way he prepares, the way he talks about cricket and about bowling. He seems to be maturing very quickly and it showed in the two games and the way he bowled,” said Simmons regarding those two performances.

Despite the good bowling of the West Indies, the batting has left much to be desired with only Evin Lewis, 99 not out, and Nicholas Pooran, 52, showing a real willingness to bat deep into an innings.

“That’s the crux of the matter here. We need to finish well and play a properly constructed, complete, 100 overs,” said Simmons.

Pollard had been a little more caustic, saying the West Indies top order needed to stop wasting good form with poor approaches to batting.

“We can’t continue to just give away our hand just like that when you have form and confidence because it will come back to bite you,” said Pollard, who seemed to be wagging his finger at the talented Shimron Hetmyer.

Hetmyer had lost his wicket for six, having faced just six deliveries before firing an injudicious pull shot that landed safely in the gloves of Irish wicketkeeper, Lorcan Tucker.

“The batsmen need to go back to what we were doing in India and how we were putting scores together, creating a platform for the big hitters down the bottom. We need to make sure that we do that in this coming game,” said Simmons.

Jamaica's 17-year-old sprint sensation Briana Williams opened her 2020 season with a personal best 7.27 seconds in the heats of the women's 60m at the Clemson University's Orange & Purple Elite Invitational on Saturday.

The final is scheduled for later.

Williams' 7.27-second clocking beat her previous personal best of 7.28 seconds, a time she posted in March 2019  to beat an elite high school field at New Balance Nationals Indoor. 

Jayla Kirkland of Florida State finished second in 7.29 seconds, while Gabriele Cunningham, running unattached, was well beaten into third in 7.36 seconds.

The race not only represents the first for Williams but the first for the teenager since being found not to have been at fault by the Independent Anti-Doping Panel in September 2019 following a positive drug test.

She took an over-the-counter flu remedy during the Jamaican trials in June which had the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide among its components.

The young sprinter then decided in September to withdraw from the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, a competition she had qualified for at the trials.

Williams, who is based in Florida, will next be in action at the Queen's School/Grace Jackson Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica on January 25, also over 60m.

She is also scheduled to take on a strong field with five Olympians, also over 60m,  at the 113th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 8 at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York.

West Indies Captain Kieron Pollard is tired of inconsistencies in his side and has, in not so many words, told his top-order batsmen they will have to shape up or ship out.

“So sometimes you might have to make tough decisions in certain scenarios,” said Pollard after a lower-order fightback and some luck gave his team a one-wicket victory over Ireland and a series win in their Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International series at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.

Batting first, Ireland had scored 237-9 from their 50 overs and should have had an uphill task to stave of a series defeat in the second game.

However, there was to be no joy for the West Indies’ powerful top order with only Shai Hope, 25, getting into double figures.

Evin Lewis, 7, Shimron Hetmyer, 6, and Brandon King, 0, all falling cheaply.

It took Nicholas Pooran, 52, and Pollard, 40, to stage a sort of comeback that was finished by lower-order batsmen Khary Pierre (18), Hayden Walsh Jr, 46 not out, Alzarri Joseph (16) and Sheldon Cottrell, 7 not out.

The group would score more than 90 runs among them to take the West Indies over the line in a thriller that ended with the penultimate ball of the West Indies innings inching over the ropes thanks to Cottrell’s lofted cover drive.

Pollard was not happy.

“Thank God for small mercies. It took a total team effort for us to get to 237 so, again, we take the win but again we didn’t tick many of the boxes that we spoke about,” said Pollard.

The skipper did like some things about the game though, praising Alzarri Joseph for his four-wicket haul, Cottrell for his three, and Romario Shepherd for keeping the pressure on, despite it being his debut.

Pollard was also happy with the way the team fought to stay in the game for long enough to benefit from what was a lucky final few deliveries.

“Nicholas [Pooran], he got a pretty decent delivery and you can’t fault him but there were some very soft dismissals in our top order and when you look at it you see where we talk about it and guys keep giving it away,” said Pollard.

“A lot of conversations need to take place. At the end of the day we came up with the victory but again, still not happy,” said Pollard.

“We can’t continue to just give away our hand just like that when you have form and confidence because it will come back to bite you,” said Pollard.

Most egregious of the men who gave it away at the top of the order was, once again, Shimron Hetmyer, who went for a pull shot off the bowling of Barry McCarthy having faced just six balls. There was a little extra bounce and Hetmyer, not yet sure what was happening with the pitch, could only manage to top edge the delivery for a grateful Lorcan Tucker.

According to Pollard, there can be no excuses for the top order, bearing in mind the way the lower order approached the game.

“That innings from young Walsh, new in international cricket, and the mettle that he showed in that partnership with Khary Pierre and then Alzarri Joseph, those couple of fours, these guys sticking in there and I hope each and every one of us, the guys that got out before, watch how the lower order went about it. It was a simple case of occupying the crease and playing high-percentage cricket. These are conversations we are trying to have and if the lower order can do it, then the top order has no excuses,” said the skipper.

“A lot of conversations need to take place. At the end of the day, we came up with the victory but again, still not happy.”

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is not done with Ireland just yet, even though his Caribbean side took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International Series being held in the region.

Joseph starred with the ball again but had a vital innings with the bat to help the West Indies pull off a one-wicket victory against Ireland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.

Choosing to bat first for the second game in a row, the first was a five-wicket loss, Ireland showed they can bat in posting a total of 237-9, thanks, in large part, to Paul Stirling’s 63 at the top of the order. In reply, the West Indies barely got over the line, scoring 242-9, getting to the target with one ball to go.

When Ireland batted, Joseph played chief tormentor for the second game in a row, bagging 4-32, to leave the potential for a big innings from the visitors in tatters.

Joseph was backed up by pace teammate, Sheldon Cottrell, who ended with 3-51.

Joseph was also good with the bat, scoring an important 16 before a mistimed pull off a slower ball from Mark Adair, ended his evening.

Despite the win, Joseph sent a subtle warning to the visitors.

“The win means a lot to everyone, but it's not finished, we have one game to go," said Joseph, after he was awarded his second man-of-the-match honour in as many games.

The young paceman said he was relieved to have come away from the game with a win, but for the first time in his fledgeling career, spoke, for the first time, about his batting.

“We wanted to bat sensibly and get to the score. When I went out to bat, there were a lot of balls to get there and I was looking to play every ball on merit,” said Joseph.

While Joseph is excited about his personal performance, he is also aware that there were others who stood up to be counted.

"Relieved about the win but it's a team game, we all put in the effort,” he said.

Joseph bowled a fuller length to the Irish in this game than he did in the first where he bagged 4-34, explaining that he had read something different from this pitch.

“The wicket was a bit more even than the first game, so I assessed early and bowled to the plan.”

When Joseph spoke about the four-wicket haul he enjoyed in the first ODI against Ireland, he alluded to how much work he had put into getting back to international cricket and his captain, Kieron Pollard, confirmed as much on Thursday, saying he was happy for the young man.

“Alzarri Joseph again the pick of the bowlers getting another four-wicket haul. He continues to show again, his hard work is paying off so congratulations to him,” said Pollard.

 

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is happy to have started the year with a bang after his 4-32 helped the West Indies to a dominant performance in the first game of a three-match One-Day International series against Ireland in the Caribbean.

Joseph, who has been in and out of the West Indies team with injury and because of dips in form, led the attack for a West Indies side that would end up five-wicket winners in a game Ireland never got the handle of.

Choosing to bat, Ireland were in early trouble after Joseph removed the openers, Paul Stirling (15) and Gareth Delany (19) before returning to rip the heat of the middle order with the wickets of Kyle O’Brien (4) and Lorcan Tucket (31).

The visitors to the Kensington Oval in Barbados were eventually rolled for just 180 in 46.1 overs before an unbeaten 99 from opener Evin Lewis made victory secure for the West Indies, who scored 184-5 in just 33.2 overs.

"For me, it's a really good start to the year," said Joseph after receiving his man-of-the-match award on Tuesday.

According to Joseph, the coaching of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benajmin has been instrumental to any improvement he has shown recently.

“Winston Benjamin, whenever I have something going on, I turn to him for advice,” said Joseph.

Despite the influence of Benjamin on his fledgeling career, Joseph is also very aware that there is something else that is key to his development as a consistently good bowler.

"It's just about putting in the hard work in training and doing the yards,” he said.

After the preparation is done, the actual execution may not be that interesting, as his captain, Kieron Pollard, has consistently said.

“Success is boring.”

“I kind of had an idea of how I wanted to bowl today, and I just kept it simple and bowled to my plans," explained Joseph.

Social media is abuzz with excitement over rumours that Jamaican International, Leon Bailey, is a target of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Bailey, who turns out for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, had a phenomenal first year there but the last season and a half have been a little more mute.

Still, Liverpool fans believe targeting Bailey, who made his international debut for Jamaica last year, is a good idea because the winger could flourish under the guidance of Klopp and could be a good replacement for Jadon Sancho, who is a marked man.

According to the ‘Anfield Edition’, Sancho still remains a target for Liverpool, however, with interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Borussia Dortmund, being an unwilling seller, a deal may be difficult.

Rumours of Bailey moving to England aren’t new either, with links to all the big clubs coming before he left Genk in Belgian’s top-flight league for Germany.

“But under Klopp, he will be a class player,” read one of the many comments.

“Great talent with a huge upside Yes please,” read another.

Bailey has scored just three goals in eight league games for Leverkusen this season but much of the period has been spent nursing injuries as well as on suspension from two red cards.

Bailey, has so far, played five games for the Reggae Boyz and has scored one goal.

The winger started with the Phoenix All Stars Academy, the brainchild of his father and agent, Craig Butler, where he stayed from 2009-2011 before moving to FC Liefering and then to Trencin. From 2015-17, Bailey was a Genk player until he was sold to Leverkusen for whom he has played 75 times and scored 17 goals.

Cricket West Indies boss Ricky Skerritt is hitting back at critics who have said he is going back on a pledge to hire local coaches to help get West Indies back to winning ways.

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