Jamaica’s track and field icons Merlene Ottey and Deon Hemmings McCatty, as well as female football star Khadija Shaw and legendary jockey Emilio Rodriquez, are among several sporting personalities, who are to receive national honours in October.

2016 Olympic sprint relay Gold medalist Nickel Ashmeade has detailed the traumatic experiences which have derailed his career since the Rio Games.

Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Reggae Boyz have done well to push their CONCACAF rankings and make it directly to the final round of World Cup qualification.

But I don’t believe that this has helped them. I believe it would have been better had the Reggae Boyz not done so well up to this point.

The brand, Reggae Boyz, is not what it used to be and as it stands, the team hasn’t been getting high-quality opponents during friendlies.

I believe that the match windows the team could have used to get sharp and stay sharp will be wasted on teams not of the quality to prepare the Reggae Boyz for the harsh realities of the Octagonal they are to face in June of 2021.

So far, the Reggae Boyz, the number four team in CONCACAF, will play against the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Three other teams will join the Reggae Boyz in the final-round fight for a place at the World Cup in Qatar.

The Reggae Boyz, if properly prepared, can compete against any of these teams, but without having to play in further qualifiers before the final round, I fear they may not be.

Outside of a 3-1 defeat to the United States in June of 2019, in the last year, the Reggae Boyz have played against Curacao, Panama, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana and Aruba.

No disrespect to these teams, but as far as oppositions go, they may not be good enough to accurately prepare the Reggae Boyz for high-quality opposition in the Octagonal.

With no international football since the spread of COVID-19 and attempt to cauterize it from creating further devastation, the Reggae Boyz have been, in a word, idle.

You might say this applies to all the teams in the final round, however, these teams have a greater history of being successful at this level.

It is the Reggae Boyz who need to step up, improve to their level.

The team, I believe, has all the requisite talent to do so. The Reggae Boyz performance in making the second Gold Cup finals in their history is proof of that.

However, coach Theodore Whitmore and standout centre half Damion Lowe, have pointed to one thing while noting the excellent chances of this team of making it to Qatar in 2022.

The two have said the preparations need to be on point.

One of the ways of preparing is to play friendlies against high-enough quality opposition to ensure, match readiness and to figure out how to diminish your weaknesses.

While the opposition the Reggae Boyz have faced over the last year may provide them match readiness, these teams do not adequately show up the Reggae Boyz’ weaknesses.

Those weaknesses will not be shown up because, again, no disrespect to the opposition so far, the Reggae Boyz are better.

The Jamaica Football Federation has kept its plans for the months preceding the Octagonal close to its chest but if the nature of friendlies in the recent past is anything to go by, the Reggae Boyz might find themselves short of work come June.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) have reportedly sought to secure the services of Leeds United central midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

The 24-year-old is fresh off playing a crucial role in the team’s successful bid to secure promotion to the English Premier League (EPL).  The Caribbean team are hoping to he can play a similar role in their bid to secure a return to the FIFA World Cup.  A feat they first accomplished in 1998.

Phillips is of Jamaican heritage and could quality to represent the county by virtue of the fact that his father is Jamaican.  The player has, however, also attracted the interest of his birth nation England, with his progress already being monitored by the team’s manager Gareth Southgate.

The Jamaican’s are currently in an eight-team final round World Cup qualification group, which will see three teams qualify directly to the tournament and another secure a play-off spot.  The JFF has already reportedly contacted Leeds asking for permission to sit down with Phillips and try to convince him to pick the Caribbean unit.  Phillips, who was born in Leeds, has never been selected to represent that Three Lions at any level and could have a tough time securing a spot in a talented England team.

Despite a rich history in football, the Caribbean has not had many moments to savour on the World stage, making them, interestingly, all the more special.

Cuba provided the first of the moments, making the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup all the way back in 1938.

Cuba had always been a little special island, long proving itself self-sufficient and able to compete with the rest of the world, despite any political or financial issues that could serve to slow its development.

That self-sufficiency and ability to achieve despite significant odds meant that Cuba’s entrance to the FIFA World Cup was not a emblematic moment and the rest of the Caribbean felt no closer to the possibility of making it on the world stage.

Thirty-six years later, Haiti provided the second moment, getting to the FIFA World Cup in 1974.

That feat, for a country, which had long-standing political issues and an overbearing poverty problem, was immense.

Now the rest of the Caribbean began to take note. Maybe now other islands could dare to dream.

While Haiti’s football has ebbed and flowed and they have not quite gotten back to those heady heights, the moment was important.

All of a sudden, the possibilities for Caribbean football were immense.

But it took another 20 years before the Reggae Boyz were on a similar journey. For the first time, CONCACAF had more than the obligatory two spots that would go to Mexico and the United States.

Now there was hope for someone else to join the fray. Still there were obstacles.

In 1997, the Reggae Boyz were up against it. In the final round they were winless, until a series of three games, 1-0 wins over each of El Salvador, Canada, and Costa Rica.

After finishing winless in the first four games of the final qualifying round, Jamaica recorded three 1–0 wins over El Salvador, Canada, and Costa Rica, giving them a chance at history.

Jamaica were on the cusp of becoming the first English-speaking team from the Caribbean to make it to the World Cup.

But standing in their way was the mighty Mexico. Jamaica needed to avoid losing to a team they had lost to 6-0 earlier in those qualifiers. There was hope but it was slim.

History has a funny way of staying the same and no matter how many times this story gets told, the 0-0 draw the Reggae Boyz achieved against the attacking juggernauts that were Mexico still seems unlikely.

An entire nation celebrated, but so did the rest of the Caribbean. After all, there were other countries in the region that had proven worthy adversaries for the Reggae Boyz and that meant somebody else could make it too.

In 2006, somebody else did.

Trinidad and Tobago, still with two of its legends, Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, in tow would take an ageing team, and prove the Caribbean were now becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Until 2018 when Iceland made their World Cup bow, T&T were the smallest nation to ever play in the tournament.

But it wasn’t easy either, and Trinidad and Tobago, after finishing fourth in the final round had to contend with the unknown quantity that was Bahrain.

The tiny twin-island republic had to play against a team, which had financial resources that would dwarf it.

Things looked even more bleak for T&T after the first leg of the home-and-away tie on November 12, 2005, played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, ended 1-1.

This meant, T&T had to go away to win against a team they couldn’t get the better of at home.

Again, the Caribbean beat the odds and a 1-0 win at the Bahrain National Stadium on the 16th of November 2005 again changed the course of history for the Caribbean side and the region around it.

The Caribbean has, since those moments made great leaps in the transport of its players all over the world, even if those marginal improvements have yet to bare fruit in terms of consistent Caribbean representation at the ICC World Cup.

But the improvements continue as can be seen with the large number of locally grown players, now turning out for the national teams of countries all over the region.

Today there is more and more competition from the rest of the Caribbean and neither T&T nor Jamaica have a free run of the region anymore.

It is interesting that the success of the three over the last 46 years, is what has created a competitive Caribbean and destroyed the spectre of their unquestioned dominance.  

Jamaican bodybuilder Dwayne Walker is as pleased as punch following his debut performance in the Open Class at the IFBB Tampa Pro tournament this past weekend.

Jamaica, West Indies and Guyana Amazon Warrior batsman Brandon King is doing his part in supporting the Black Lives Matter and assisting communities by the COVID19 pandemic.

Reggae Boyz central defender, Damion Lowe, continues to maintain that his side stands a very good chance of finding its way to the World Cup in Qatar, even with the changes of the final round from the traditional six teams to an eight-team format.

CONCACAF has three and a half spots, meaning the top three from this group earns an automatic berth to the World Cup, while the fourth-placed team plays in a play-off for a chance to join them.

With two additional teams in the final round for which the Reggae Boyz have already qualified should mean more competition for the the three and a half spots but, according to Lowe, the performance of the team in its recent past suggests it has the tools to get over the line nonetheless.

“I believe the teams ranked ahead of us is because they play bigger opponents and more games, but if you look at tournaments where we play against each other, Jamaica are second or third and we can challenge Mexico and anybody else when we are prepared properly,” said Lowe during an interview with local newspaper, the Jamaica Observer.

By preparation, Lowe means further improving on the personnel in the squad coached by Theodore Whitmore, as well as getting top-class opposition to warm up against.

“We maybe fourth ranked now, but we have to scout properly in order to find the right pieces. When we find the pieces, we have to now play top opponents to help us prepare for the qualifiers,” he said.

CONCACAF announced the following on Monday:

The new Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 comprise of three rounds and provide all participating Member Associations with the chance to compete for the Confederation’s three and a half World Cup spots.

The First Round (30 teams) will be played between the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA rankings as of July 16, 2020.

The 30 men’s national teams will be drawn into six groups of five in a seeded draw. The six highest-ranked teams, El Salvador, Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago will be pre-seeded into groups A to F respectively.

Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches; two home and two away. These games will be played in the FIFA match windows of October 2020 and November 2020.

At the end of the First Round, the six group winners will progress to the Second Round.

The Second Round (six teams) will be played between the group winners from the First Round, with the matchups pre-determined as follows:

 

Group A winner vs Group F winner

Group B winner vs Group E winner

Group C winner vs Group D winner

 

The teams will play home and away in a direct elimination format in the FIFA match window of March 2021. The three winners will progress to the Final Round.

The Final Round (eight teams) of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will see the three winners from the Second Round join the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 1-5 based on the FIFA rankings as of July 16th, 2020. The national teams ranked 1-5 had already gained enough FIFA ranking points to guarantee their place in the Final Round prior to the development of a new format.

Final Round teams: 1. Mexico 2. USA 3. Costa Rica 4. Jamaica 5. Honduras 6. Second Round Winner 7. Second Round Winner 8. Second Round Winner.

The Final Round will begin in the double FIFA match window in June 2021 and continue in the FIFA match windows of September, October, November 2021 and January and March 2022.

The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each team playing 14 matches.  

Asafa Powell appeared before the Family Court in Jamaica on Thursday over child support payments. Meantime, Powell has requested that the court order a paternity test.

Powel, 37, appeared before the court after the child’s mother Amita Persaud-Webb filed documents seeking financial maintenance of JMD$25,000 a month.

Attorney-at-law Michelle Thomas represents Webb while Annaliesa Lindsay is representing the former world record holder.

The parties are to return to court on October 9.

Dave Cameron’s vision for the future of cricket involves longer T20 seasons, fewer Test matches for weaker teams but more players earning decent livelihoods playing all over the globe.

 The former president of Cricket West Indies is pushing this vision as he attempts to become the next Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), a platform that will provide him with the opportunity to create a more equitable environment in cricket globally.

 It is a job made harder for not having the support of the CWI but Cameron, who needs two votes to become a contender, is confident that he has a legitimate shot against ECB Chairman Colin Grave and possibly India’s Sourav Ganguly.

 “I have those votes I don’t think it will change. I am still waiting to hear about Ganguly’s future in the ICC. They have not finalised the election process yet,” said Cameron.

 During an interview with Indian Express, Cameron revealed his belief in a longer Indian Premier League (IPL), while noting the irony that the cancellation of the ICC World Cup paved the way for the IPL in the same window.

  “The IPL is way a more valuable product than the T20 World Cup. Let’s be very clear about that,” he said. “India will make a lot more money and so too the players. The players themselves would prefer would playing in IPL than the World Cup.

 “A lot of T20 leagues need to run concurrently, which is not happening now. Everybody wants to not clash with the other guys. The IPL needs to happen alongside BPL, CPL and Big Bash and the best players will get picked in the best leagues.

 “There will be room for everyone including the Indian players who are unsold in the IPL. They have the opportunity to play elsewhere. One has to make a decision on tradition versus profitability.”

 That being said, Cameron lamented the lack of growth in the sport, believing it should be played in more non-traditional markets that will make the sport more valuable for all concerned.

 “We need to grow in China and other places. It is a plan that has to include India. Any globalisation will require investments from India,” Cameron said.

 “A team like the West Indies plays less international games in a year but their players are able to play in the best leagues around the world and then they come to play for the country.

 “That way players make more money, their board will not have to spend money on retaining its best players and we focus on the continuous development of the sport with that money.

 We are living in a capitalist world. We are trying to talk about tradition versus what the players want. The players want to be paid.

 “Yes, Test cricket is great and it is a tradition and it will survive for another few years between the big countries but the truth is smaller counties like Afghanistan and Ireland should not be forced to play Test cricket until they can be competitive. You are wasting resources.”

 He continued: “This thing of trying to do more ICC events is not going to help the smaller countries because there is not enough space in the calendar. Test cricket should be a choice for smaller teams like Afghanistan and Ireland, it should not be mandatory.”

The Jamaican Karate Team will donate the proceeds from their virtual master class ‘Defend The Future’ to the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation.

Pushing towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and developing the sport locally would make it understandable for the karate team not to look outside of themselves still, they are making their contribution to social change.

In particularly, they are attempting to change the way mothers aged 17 and under, who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy, are valued, and attempting to change their opportunities.

A statement from the athletes highlighted, “To be a Jamaican athlete goes hand in hand with the desire to not only lift up your community, but to also inspire social change in the world.”

“As a team, we have come together to DEFEND THE FUTURE, to share our knowledge and experiences to raise funds to support the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, an organization that exists to provide vital support to mothers aged 17 and under, who have dropped out of the mainstream education system on account of pregnancy.”

The virtual class is scheduled for August 30th at 10 a.m and will feature karate athletes like Alton Brown, Kenneth Edwards, Jessica Cargill and Valentyna Zolotarova. The after-effect will help thousands of teen mothers who are dependent on the Women’s Centre of Jamaica like Tenuke Doyley once was in 2003.

According to Doyley, The Women's Centre of Jamaica has been serving teenage mothers for several decades, but the truth is they just can't do it alone. The organization needs all the help possible to continue providing motivation and education to teen moms. And if it’s one thing, Doyley knows what it feels like to grapple with the consequences of teenage pregnancy and admits, “who feels it knows it. I navigated life as a teen mom by standing on the shoulders of many and so, It's my duty to pay it forward.”

Doyley, the founder of the ‘Leave No Girl Behind Initiative’, created the project to “empower and equip teen moms with the tools necessary to be the best version of themselves.” The initiative is advocated by the likes of Usain Bolt, Ricardo Gardner and Dr. Zoe Simpson, Executive Director of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation.

Through support, Doyley hopes to see organizations like the Women’s Centre of Jamaica flourish so that women can get a chance to improve their lives and ultimately the society.

Jamaica international Garath McCleary has expressed disappointment with the manner in which he learned his time with Championship club Reading FC was at an end but thanked fans and former teammates.

McCleary had signed a short-term contract to help the club through the final matches of the campaign, but Reading has decided not to extend it.  The decision marked the end of the 33-year-old’s eight-year tenure with the club who he joined in 2012.  The player, who took an active part in the team’s 2012-2013 Premier League campaign, recently reflected on the situation via his Instagram account.

"After 8 years & 270 appearances, my time at Reading FC has come to an end! The farewell wasn’t how I envisaged it would be, receiving a call whilst on my holiday after season finished, BUT.....

 "I want to say a huge thank you to the all the players past & previous I’ve played with (in football they say you never have friends but I’ve made some for sure) and staff especially the people behind the scenes,” McCleary posted.

"I’ve built up some great relationships across the years with kit men, canteen staff, pa’s, groundstaff and more so without naming you all you made my time that extra bit enjoyable,” he added.

"No matter who you are, treat every person with respect I’m genuinely sad there are still so many people I haven’t seen to have a proper natter and hug.

"To the fans who’ve stood by me and stayed positive throughout all the drama, sometimes a message you may not think is seen always is and I’m touched by what’s been said.”

Cailyn Morgan did enough to get Jamaica noticed during an artistic swimming tournament over the weekend.

The 1-5 favourite ‘Above and Beyond’ delivered an unchallenged victory in the Jamaica 1000 Guineas on Saturday afternoon as champion trainer Anthony Nunes sustained his dominant run in Classic racing at Caymanas Park.

Confidently ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson, Above and Beyond slammed the 14-horse field by 6-1/2 lengths for Nunes’s 22nd Classic triumph in a fast one minute 38.80 seconds in the JA$2.8 Million (US$19.600) one-mile run for owners Rawdon Persad, Vickram Oditt & Rajendra Poonai.

Trainer Gary Subratie’s 5-2 second favourite ‘Another Affair’ was second and denied Nunes the top-three sweep as his long shots Sencity (26-1) and Glock (41-1) snatched third and fourth positions respectively.

It was Nunes’s fourth Fillies Guineas victory after ‘Latonia’ in 2004, ‘Selectabook’ (2013) and ‘I Am Di One’ last year. Nunes has now won five of the last six Classics at Caymanas Park, including his 2019 Triple Crown run with the colt ‘Supreme Soul’.

Breaking smartly from the 14-box, Above and Beyond raced very relaxed with the pacesetters down the backstretch and looked the winner from mid-race.

The chestnut filly, by ‘Blue Pepsi Lodge’ out of ‘Rumble’, cruised to the lead and when she quickened away from the busy Robert Halledeen aboard the chasing Another Affair leaving the half-mile, the picture of her motionless jockey told the story of race control.

Above and Beyond entered the homestretch with a two-length lead and steadily increased her advantage en route to her third win in seven career starts for groom Steven Smith.

The result also closed an afternoon triple for three-time champion jockey Nelson, who had piloted third race winner Generational and KJ Express to victory in the seventh.

Nelson had two previous Fillies Guineas wins with ‘Al Fouzia’ in 2000 and ‘Nuclear Affair’ in 2016 and engaged Above and Beyond in speedy split-times of 23.3, 45.3 and 1:10.2. The big filly still looked strong at the end under Nelson, who had been aboard for her two previous wins.

“Dane Nelson knows her inside out,” Nunes said about the race strategy.

Coming off her fourth place finish behind 2000 Guineas contender Nipster in her July 5 “prep” event, Nunes revealed he stepped up her training programme for the Classic season opener.

“We made sure to bring her over as fit as we could make her and as happy and as healthy as she could be and she did the rest,” said Nunes, who scored four wins on Saturday’s 11-race card. His other winners were ‘Generational’ in the third race, ‘Supreme Soul’ in the fifth and ‘KJ Express’ in the seventh.

Page 1 of 12
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.