Outstanding schoolboy footballer Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards is confident he already has the tools needed to contribute meaningfully to the Jamaican national senior team.

In recent weeks, a dominant season in the country’s high school level program has seen the player score 29 goals and contribute 19 assists to Kingston College. 

An impressive haul by any standard, but more so it is the quality in some of his finishing that has sparked calls for the player to be given an opportunity with Jamaica’s senior squad.

Not everyone agrees with that particular assessment, however, as some believe the step-up in opponent quality might be a gap too far to bridge at this stage of the player’s young career and might even do more harm than good.

High school players being given an opportunity to feature for the country’s national team is rare but not unprecedented.  In years gone by Kevin ‘Pele’ Wilson another schoolboy football standout, who represented Charlie Smith, was called into the national squad as a 17-year-old, and made his debut against Norway in 1995. 

Another player, Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner, who represented Wolmer’s in the Manning Cup, went on to be arguably the country’s most successful player after being handed his debut as a teenager in 1997, ahead of the country’s historic qualification for the 1998 World Cup.  Based on his tremendous displays many believe Richards deserves similar consideration. He agrees.

“Yes, for sure, right now,” Richards told SportsMax.Tv’s InCaseYouMissedIt, when quizzed about his state of readiness in regard to representing the national team.

“Craig (Butler) has been saying this for like two years, three years now,” he added.

The often controversial Craig Butler is the agent and adoptive father to Aston Villa star Leon Bailey and has had Richards as part of his Phoenix Academy club for the past several years.

"That’s the reason I played Manning Cup to prove myself that nobody is lying, that Craig isn’t lying, my father isn’t lying.  Nobody that has been saying I can play is lying,” he added.

Richards also revealed that the current season of the Manning Cup was his first and will also be his last as the player is expected to explore offers from around Europe.  

Talented Bournemouth winger Jaidon Anthony insists he is in no hurry to decide his future with both international teams England and Jamaica being options at this point.

In truth the 22-year-old winger might not be a major consideration for either country at this point, having not secured much time on the pitch in the English Premier League (EPL).

In total the player has made only 12 appearances but has shown plenty of ability with the 3 goals he has scored so far.  At Bournemouth, Antony is teammates with Jamaica international Jamal Lowe who has already attempted to sell the young player on representing the Caribbean team.  At this point in time, however, he insists he is not yet ready to consider it.

“My mum and my dad are both from Jamaica as well. I have got good heritage from there,” Anthony told the Beautiful Game Podcast.

“It would be an honour to represent either.  One of my team-mates, Jamal Lowe, plays for Jamaica. He’s always saying you need to come!

“I have only been playing professional football for two years. I don’t want to rush any decisions. We will see what happens.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ready now – Whisper

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite insists he was not surprised by the determined, obdurate display of opening partner Tagenarine Chanderpaul, on his debut against Australia, on Wednesday.

Facing a mammoth 598 for 4 declared, the West Indies ended day 2 at 74 without loss after facing 25 overs.  Chanderpaul, the 25-year-old son of legendary West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, made a solid 47 from 73 balls while Brathwaite himself made a more patient 18 from 79.

Chanderpaul was called into the squad last month as a replacement for previous opening batsman John Campbell, who is currently serving a doping violation suspension.  A match-up against top-ranked Australia certainly isn’t the easiest debut for the young batsman, his captain Brathwaite was, however, not worried.

“I wasn’t surprised.  I’ve known him for a while.  I’ve played against him and he has always had fight always takes his time to bat and bats for long periods,” Brathwaite said at the end of the days play.

“I know he is a fighter, so it isn’t surprising.  I just look forward to a lot from him playing for West Indies.  It was good to see but we need to continue,” he added.

Chanderpaul previously stood out for the team last week against the Prime Ministers XI where he recorded a century in the four-day affair.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has refuted claims made in a recent interview by national player Leon Bailey and called for evidence in lieu of some of the explosive accusations levied against the organisation.

In particular, the association took exception to a claim made by the player that suggested that the JFF had actively played a role in preventing his ability to travel abroad when he attempted to do so as a developing young player.

“From I was 8 or 9 I have been getting 'fight' from the federation. They even tried to block me from going to Europe.  They linked up with the embassy to deny me a visa…the last time I went to Europe I had to fly to Cuba to get my visa,” Bailey told the Let’s Be Honest podcast.

In addressing the issues, via a press release, the JFF expressed disappointment with many of the utterances made by the player and the manner in which the grievances were aired.

Leon Bailey speaks out in explosive interview! The 25 y-o says JA football needs a proper system

“It is unfortunate that Leon has apparently felt this way about the JFF, especially while playing for the Jamaica National team and not expressing it, and knowing his commitment to the program and country. He has indicated that the persons in the JFF, and by implication the JFF, has given him a fight and tried to block him from going to Europe by working through the Embassy…,” the release read.

“This is quite unfortunate as the JFF has always seen Leon as an important member of the National team, and what he has said is baseless and is consistent with recent similar comments made, which we have called for evidence to be shared, either privately or publicly, so that we can act on it. To date, no such evidence has been shared. It is not credible to make anecdotal accusations without evidence, and by doing so seek to damage the reputation of individuals and the JFF as an organisation. We also find it impractical that a child between 8 and 12 years old would understand what the actions and motives of the JFF or any organisation would be, with any clear understanding as first-hand information,” it added.

“In fact, by saying that the JFF has the capability to block an Embassy from issuing a visa, also implies that the Embassy is complicit with the JFF in acting, as he implies, in a “corrupt” manner. The JFF can assure everyone that we do not have the ability to influence a visa decision with any Embassy, and we would never seek to intervene in such a process.”

The release went on to state that the matter had been referred to the team manager and coach for review.

 

 

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite believes maintaining discipline will be crucial for the unit if they are to pose any type of challenge to Australia in the upcoming series.

Despite a relatively solid year in the red ball format, the Windies will start as massive underdogs against the top-ranked Australians on Sunday.  In addition to the fact that West Indies has not secured a win against Australia at home since 1993 the team has won just games in the last 8 Test series.

Having managed solid wins against England and Bangladesh in their last two series, however, Brathwaite will be hoping to spring a surprise.  For that, keeping focus will be crucial.

“We have 10 days of hard Test cricket to play.  We know Australia are a very, very good team, especially at home.  So, the main thing for us is to focus on our discipline,” Brathwaite of the media on Tuesday.

“When we are batting, we want to bat 100 overs plus, when we are bowling, we are looking to get 20 wickets.  So that obviously is to help the team win a game.  We know Australia is a superior team.  We have to play 10 days of hard cricket that’s the focus.”

The West Indies will play Australia in two Test matches.  The first will bowl off in Perth on December 4th, followed by a trip to Adelaide from December 7th-12th.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons admits to some disappointment with a draw in the final four-day tour game against Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval but believes it has been adequate preparation ahead of the two-Test series against Australia, which begins next week.

Chasing a total of 309 runs for victory, on the final day, a win seemed possible when the team entered the final break at 221 for 5, needing another 88 runs to claim victory.

 The West Indies had a less-than-ideal start to the final session, however, and found themselves reduced to 273 for 8, following the dismissals of Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, and then Kemar Roach, in fairly quick succession.

 Raymon Reifer and Joshua Da Silva then combined to help West Indies fight for the draw, playing out the final eight overs to finish on 277 for 8.

“I’m not happy with the results, we should have won it,” Simmons said following the final ball.

“We have a few misplaced wickets in the middle, while we were controlling the game, so that was a disappointment, but at the end of the day the way how the guys fought is always greatly encouraging,” he added.

With the players getting plenty of opportunities to bat and bowl in pressure situations, Simmons was though satisfied with what the tour match provided, ahead of a difficult series.

“The two games have been very good for us, mind you, flattish wickets, but the bowlers got the overs in their legs and the batsmen got their time at the crease so that was good for us.”

English Premier League powerhouse Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Aston Villa and Jamaica international Leon Bailey ahead ov the upoming January transfer window.

The London club has had a stuttering start to the new season, and are hoping to add a quality winger to boost the team’s hopes of challenging for the league title. 

Bailey, who has been in hot-form for Aston Villa reenntely, is reportedly one of several players being looked on as options. 

The move is, however, likely to depend on Chelsea winger and USA international Christian Pulisic being moved on.  

Pulisic still has a little over 18 months left on his contract, but could still move on in January after recent concerns over regular game time at the club.

The 25-year-old Bailey joined Aston Villa last summer from German club Bayer Leverkuson for a fee reportedly in the region of £25million.  The Jamaian was plagued by injuries at the start of his career in England but has now made 34 appearances and scored five goals, with four of them coming this season.

The Blues are reportedly keen to add more pace to their frontline and have also been linked with a January move for France striker Christopher Nkunku from Red Bull Leipzig.

West Indies call-up Tagenarine Chanderpaul insists he is focused on being himself ahead of a possible debut for the Caribbean team in the upcoming series against Australia next week.

On Thursday, the 26-year-old Chanderpaul made 119 off 293 balls during the team’s warm-up game against a Prime Minister’s XI, in the ongoing four-day tour match in Canberra.  The knock featured a risp 11 fours and a six on his way to reaching triple figures.

Chanderpaul, who was called up to the team last month, is widely expected to partner Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite at the top of the innings for the match-up with the world number-one ranked Aussies, following the suspension of John Campbell.

The John Campbell anti-doping ban: Campbell banned for refusing to provide blood sample on demand

Ahead of the player’s potential debut, comparisons to his famous father, West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, are inescapable.  In an outstanding 164 Test match career for the West Indies, Chanderpaul scored 11867 runs, which puts him second all-time behind the great Brian Lara.  It’s a towering legacy to live up to.

“They’re big boots but I try and be myself.  I can only be myself, so I just try and be me,” the young Chanderpaul said after Thursday's match.

Like his father, Tagenarine has shown the propensity to be watchful and patient at the crease, which could bode well for the regional team.  The batsman, however, is hoping to eventually be recognized for his own style.

"I try and be myself. I can't replicate him, so I can only be myself. Fingers crossed… I'll try to get some runs if I'm selected."

 

West Indies wicketkeeping great Jeffrey Dujon believes the decision taken by captain Nicholas Pooran to step down is the best one for the player at this point in time.

The 27-year-old, who took charge of the region’s white-ball teams earlier this year, made the surprise decision to step down as captain, after just 7 months on the job.

As captain of the team, Pooran had faced severe pressure following the team’s poor showing at the T20 World Cup.  The West Indies failed to advance from the first round of the competition, following losses to Scotland and Ireland.  The results led to the resignation of the team’s head coach Phil Simmons but having only just been appointed to the post, Pooran was widely expected to keep the position.

Dujon admitted to being surprised but believes the player has done the right thing given the circumstances.

“I think it’s a good thing for him.  As a young player, you have been given responsibility but things haven’t worked out for him,” Dujon told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He still has a career ahead of him and shedding this responsibility might just help his cricket as time goes on,” he added.

Pooran captained the T20 team for 23 matches, winning 8 and losing 14 for a win ratio of 35 percent.

Jamaica Scorpions spinner Dennis Bulli has credited a strong showing in the CGI insurance Super50 tournament with getting a good opportunity to showcase his talent.

The 35-year-old Bulli was one of the standout bowlers for the tournament and claimed an impressive 14 wickets in 6 matches, with an economy rate of 4.76.  Despite playing two fewer matches, the spinner was just one wicket off the top spot occupied by Shannon Gabriel (15), Odean Smith (15), and Nicholas Gordon (15).

In Saturday’s final, the left-arm spinner's mesmerizing skills were on full display when he left Trinidad and Tobago Red Force batsman Darren Bravo bamboozled all ends up, to take the crucial wicket of the dangerous batsman and end with figures of 1 for 44.

With a tournament best of 4 for 32, against the West Indies Academy, Bulli, who has not always managed to find consistency, was one of the key reasons the team was able to win the first Super50 title in 10 years.

“I’ve had times but I never got a good enough chance to express myself but this has been one of those times,” Bulli said of his performances this season.

“The first time I really got a chance to express myself was in 2019 and I did well.  I got called up for the President’s XI team and got injured, got picked for the CPL, and got covid.  So this is another opportunity and a good time for me to show what I can do.”

 

 

 

  

Former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kelvin Jack believes modern football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo must win at least one World Cup to be considered the greatest of all time.

Over the last decade, the Argentinean and Portuguese superstars have been the standard by which players have been measured.  At the club level, both have racked up unprecedented accomplishments.

The duo is mostly at the top of the list for titles, scoring records, Ballon d'Ors, and various other metrics of success.  Internationally, however, their records, as it relates to trophies anyway, are less impressive.

On one hand, both have managed to lead their countries to continental cups, with Ronaldo and Portugal winning the Euro Championship in 2016 and Messi winning the Copa America with Argentina last year.

The World Cup, international football’s biggest prize, however, remains conspicuously missing on the decorated mantlepieces of both players after four tournaments. 

Having dominated their peers, and the current era, the absence of the coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy remains the only question mark in any comparisons between themselves and the men most consistently mentioned in the greatest of all-time conversations, Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Pele.

“If you want to compare Messi and Ronaldo to the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona, I believe you have to win a World Cup,” Jack told SportsMax.Tv’s IncaseYouMissedIt.

“Messi, make no mistake, this is a special player.  This is a player that has reached a level we probably have not seen before in football, but you cannot disregard the brilliance of Maradona and what he did in 1986,” he added.

“Fortunately, I’ve been able to see the career of Maradona and witnessing Lionel Messi’s career and witnessing Cristiano Ronaldo’s career but you have to win the World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo has of course won the European Championship, Messi has won the Copa America but that last step to winning the World Cup is what would possibly cement his place as the best ever.”

With Messi being 35 and Ronaldo 37, the tournament in Qatar is expected to be the final chance for both players.

Jamaica assistant coach Nikita Miller insists the team can afford to take nothing for granted when they face Trinidad and Tobago, in the final of the CGI Insurance Super50 Cup, on Saturday.

The Jamaicans will be looking to claim their first title since 2012 and should enter the match with some confidence after a strong batting performance against Guyana on Thursday, in the semi-finals,  and four straight wins.

Miller knows, however, that the challenge will be different against an in-form Trinidad and Tobago who have lost just once this season.

“We will have to plan for Trinidad’s game differently.  We have gone to a couple of their games and looked at some footage and we'll plan our approach,” Miller said ahead of the game.

Trinidad and Tobago were the zone A winners after finishing ahead of Guyana, while Jamaica won zone B ahead of the Leeward Islands.

“We’re looking forward to it we are not going into that game overconfident.  We know that they are playing good cricket and they know that we are playing good cricket as well,” Miller added.

The Jamaicans managed to defeat Trinidad and Tobago in the final the last time they won the trophy.   

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite admits he is looking forward to a potential partnership with new comer Tagenarine Chanderpaul, who could make his debut in the upcoming series against Australia.

Chanderpaul, the 26-year-old son of legendary Windies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, was called into the team earlier this month and widely expected to get his first cap when the series gets under way in one week’s time.

The younger Chanderpaul is expected to become the 7th batsman to join Brathwaite in an opening partnership for the West Indies in the last five years, joining the likes of Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Devon Smith, Jermaine Blackwood and John Campbell.

Campbell, Brathwaite’s most recent partner at the crease received a four-year ban for a whereabouts doping violation earlier this year.  Despite the fact that the duo are yet to face a ball, Brathwaite believes there is potential for the partnership to do well.

"I think the partnership will work extremely well, to be honest," Brathwaite told members of the media on Monday.

"Tage is obviously a guy that could spend a lot of time. For me, my game, there's nothing that's going to change, just focusing on being in the right positions for each ball and… I look forward to the partnership. I've seen him play first-class for a little while, and he's always impressed with the time he has spent (batting). And I really look forward to seeing us do good things together."

Chanderpaul has scored 2669 runs in first class cricket so far and has 5 100s and 10 50s.

West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has insisted the cricket-loving fans of the region deserved more from the team in light of a disappointing World Cup campaign.

On Sunday, at the end of the 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup final, either Pakistan or England will join the West Indies as two-time winners of the tournament.

The Caribbean team, however, once the standard bearers in the world’s shortest format, were nowhere close to hitting those heights in this edition as they crashed out of the tournament in the first round following losses to Scotland and Ireland.

Richards, who once thrilled as part of an all-conquering squad, insists such results are difficult for fans in the region to take, particularly given the team’s once proud legacy.

“There is a legacy where this whole thing is concerned and maybe that’s why some of these players are currently on show,” Richards told the Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

“So, there are a lot of things to represent and I just think that’s lacking. The West Indian fans deserve much more because we have had so many issues like the pandemic and we needed something to uplift us and there are times when we look to our sportsmen and women to do that and presently, the West Indies team is basically lacking where that is concerned.”

The former captain, however, also believes the issue of player availability must be addressed.

 Jamaica and Bournemouth forward Jamal Lowe believes a convincing defeat over Everton, in the third round of the EFL Cup earlier this week, should give the team a psychological advantage heading into Saturday’s Premier League rematch.

On Tuesday, Lowe scored the first of 4 goals in a 4-1 demolition of the Toffees at Vitality Stadium and is feeling confident with the teams set up for a quick repeat of the fixture in league competition.  With both teams struggling just above the relegation zone and Bournemouth winless in their last 5 games Lowe is eager to drive home any possible advantage.

"I think it will give us a slight physiological edge on Everton, I feel like they'll have a little bit of doubt in their mind, and we'll go into the game confidently,” Lowe said of the upcoming fixture.

The 26-year-old has made just one appearance, from the bench, so far this Premier League season but could be in contention for Saturday’s matchday squad after a creditable performance on Tuesday.

“I think it shows how hard we work during the week that players who haven't played that much were able to put out a performance like that today (Tuesday)."

 

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