Bailey eyes steady improvement for Reggae Boyz after injury lay-off

By June 18, 2019
Leon Bailey celebrates with the rest of the team. Leon Bailey celebrates with the rest of the team.

Newly-minted senior Reggae Boy Leon Bailey is confident of putting in more dominant performances for the national team, after a lukewarm debut against Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday.

The 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger played a crucial role in Jamaica’s first goal, which ended in a 3-2 win over Honduras but aside from that struggled to impact the game in a significant fashion. 

It was, however, the player’s deft touch that set up a through ball to Peter-Lee Vassell, whose shot was then parried by the goalkeeper before being headed into the back of the net by Dever Orgill. 

In the second half, Bailey seemed just short of connecting with substitute Shamar Nicholson on a few through ball attempts.  The performance was perhaps to be expected, with the player admitting he is yet to gain full fitness after recently recovering from an injury.

“It was very difficult for me and in my opinion the pitch was terrible.  It was very dry and I’m not used to pitches like that.  On the plus side, I think my game was ok but I know I can do much better than that," Bailey told members of the media following the match.

 “It was my first game in two months after recovering from an injury, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.  I was glad to be here for the supporters.  I’m feeling good now and I just have to look forward to the next game,” he added.

Orgil added another goal to his 15th-minute opener in the 41st, but the team found itself pegged back when Antony Lozano netted a close-range response in the 54th minute.  Damion Lowe leapt high to restore the team’s two-goal lead with a powerful header two minutes later, but a battling Honduras made for a nervy finish after Rubilio Castillo scored in time added on. Despite being pleased with the team’s overall performance, Bailey had issues with their lapses in concentration.

“I think it was a game of two halves and both teams were pressing.  In the first half, we had a lot of control of the game but less so in the second half.  We have to keep our concentration until the whistle is blown.  We were a bit sloppy in conceding the goals but in the end, we got the three points.”

 

Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi has been a sports journalist with more than 10-years’ experience in the field. First as a Sports Reporter with The Gleaner in the early 2000s before he made the almost natural transition to becoming an editor. Since then he has led the revamp of The Star’s sports offering, making it a more engaging and forward-thinking component of the most popular tabloid newspaper in the Caribbean.

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