Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Mona High School will contest their first ever ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup final after they downed their more fancied rivals St George’s College 2-1 in a keenly contested semi-final encounter at Sabina Park on Friday.

The dynamic duo of Romarion Thomas (39th) and Denzel McKenzie (56th), got the job done for the Craig Butler-coached team, which had over the past two seasons placed the competition on notice in terms of their improved quality and, by extension, ambitions to stop all that came before them.

In fact, it was an 42nd-minute own-goal by Mona High’s goalkeeper Ackeem Bernard that placed St George’s College on the scoresheet, and that Butler said spoke to their defensive fortitude, particularly in the second half.

Mona will meet the winner of the second semi-final between Kingston College and Hydel High.

“It should be a staple for any intelligent team, you have to have that component in your artillery, and we used it well. The boys played out their hearts and we are totally elated, the boys put in a lot of hard work and to get there (in the final), I am really happy for them,” an emotional Butler said in a post-game interview.

Following a stellar performance against Clarendon College in the Champions Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, expectations would have been high that a repeat of that effort, would be good enough to put St George’s College into a long overdue final.

However, Mona with the fresher legs, used it to good effect, as they started brightest and caused a few early problems for St George’s defence, but failed to capitalise on the half chances.

It was not until the backend of the half that the deadlock was eventually broken when a long diagonal ball found Thomas, who made no mistakes from close range for his ninth goal of the season.

St George’s College pulled level three minutes later when Zabir Taylor was allowed time and space at the top of the 18-yard box to pick a spot and curl a right-footed effort that came off the crossbar and then off Bernard on its way in, to keep the game evenly poised 1-1 at the break.

Much like they did at the start, Mona were again more spirited at the top of the resumption, and regained the lead 11 minutes in, when McKenzie drove home a thumping right-footed freekick from inside the arc, and D’Jone Davis in goal for St George’s College, had no chance.

With that, his 11th goal of the season, McKenzie and company seemed content with the lead and dropped deep into their quarters where they were defiant in keeping their North Street-based opponents at bay and seal the historic feat.

For Neville “Bertis” Bell, his team was somewhat a shadow of itself when compared to their Champions Cup showing. Still, he took heart from their accomplishments this season when compared to last season, which ironically also ended with quarterfinal defeat to Mona High.

“It is always tough to lose any game, whether it is a semi-final or not, but we just didn’t do enough. But I am very proud of these kids, we did one better than last year, last year we ended fifth…never made the semi-final or the Champions Cup, so hopefully next year we will do even better. But congrats to Mona, they worked hard, and I wish them and the other finalist good luck,” Bell said.

Trainer Alford Brown believes the presence of Japanese-born jockey Daisuke Fukumoto in Jamaica for the Mouttet Mile could be a learning moment for young riders, in particular, provided they grasp the opportunity to engage the reinsman when he visits Caymanas Park.

Fukumoto, who migrated to Canada from Japan in 2015 and rides at the Woodbine racetrack in the North American country, is said to be a big fan of Jamaica’s racing, and by virtue of his close relationship with veteran Shane Ellis, decided to grace local horsemen with his presence at the lucrative Mouttet Mile Invitational scheduled for December 2.

For Brown, who has booked Fukumoto’s services for two rides on that day, the hope is that the jockey’s visit will go beyond entertainment purposes, given the experience and knowledge he could impart to local riders based on his journey so far.

 “He was always eager to come here. So, the opportunity arose, and he jumped on it, purchased his own plane ticket and the promoters got involved by ensuring that he will be comfortable when he gets here,” Brown shared.

“It’s a very good thing for the punter's sake, for racing itself and the entertainment that it provides. More importantly, with the international jockeys being here, they could also teach some of our local riders a thing or two because you know, you learn every day and it doesn’t matter how good you think you are, there is always room for improvements, so it is just a matter of whether or not they are willing to learn,” he told SportsMax.TV.

For two years, Fukumoto studied English throughout the week and spent weekends hanging around at the track trying to catch a break. That break eventually came when trainer Reade Baker gave him a job as a groom.

From there, Fukumoto debuted as an apprentice rider in 2017 and rode his first winner on October 13 that year, his 20th birthday.

Though still fairly young, his career profile on Equibase shows Fukumoto boast a wealth of experience in the saddle with 2,586 starts, including 273 wins, 267 seconds, and 290 third-place finishes. He has career earnings of $10,949,852.

Last year, Fukumoto tallied 55 wins, with his best year in the saddle being 2020 when he rode 69 winners. His tally so far this year stands at 21 winners.

Fukumoto’s visit falls in line with Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe and team’s ambitions to expand Jamaica’s racing presence on the international market by having high profile overseas personalities grace the track.

Renowned Gulfstream Park race announcer Peter Aiello recently made an appearance on the Jamaica Cup race card.

Brown agreed that having international jockeys and commentators at the track serves as an endorsement of sorts and only augurs well for Jamaica’s racing product, especially with the Mouttet Mile set to be streamed live in the United States on Fox 5.

“I think with such a high calibre jockey coming down to ride on that day, and the fact that we are going to be televised internationally, is a good look for us and our racing. It will also draw the attention of other riders to maybe one day take up the offer to come to Jamaica and experience our racing, so it can only go forward from here,” Brown noted.

 

Interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert will again be without his more established players for the decisive legs of their Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures against Panama and Guatemala on November 29 and December 3.

With the players, who achieved the historic feat of making the Round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year still out, Gilbert has once again assembled a squad filled with more youth than experience where senior international caps are concerned.

In fact, Sashana “Pete” Campbell is the only experienced player called up to join fellow 2019 World Cup veterans Chinyelu Asher and Marlo Sweatman in the team.

The Girlz, who lost 1-2 away to Panama and were held to a 2-2 stalemate at home by Guatemala, are faced with a must-win situation in the League A encounters, if they are to secure an automatic berth to next year’s Women’s Gold Cup.

They currently sit at the foot of the three-team standing with a point. Panama heads the standings on six points, with Guatemala on four. Should the Girlz fail to top the standings, they would at least need to finish second to have another shot at Gold Cup qualification through a playoff contest against a League B group winner.

With that in mind, expectations were that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the World Cup players –who withdrew their services over lack of payment and general “mistreatment” from the governing football body –would have arrived at an amicable settlement, as it is understood that several meetings were planned.

JFF’s General Secretary Dennis Chung explained that meetings were in fact planned but didn’t materialize.

“We had reached out to them and asked them to specify in writing what the details of the mistreatment they allege are, and also to advise us of two dates they want to meet and who the representatives are from their end to discuss, as per the grievance procedures under the contract, as we want to ensure that we do everything according to contract for the protection of all. We didn’t receive any feedback on proposed dates, so we proposed December 8,” Chung told SportsMax.TV.

“Someone said to us they would speak to the players about meeting earlier (Tuesday), but this was not official communication from the players and there was no confirmation from them. And there is still no response to the December 8 proposal, so we have to wait on the feedback,” he added.

However, SportsMax.TV has been reliably informed that the reason for the Girlz silence is due to the fact that they are still yet to be paid in full.

This is contrary to a JFF release on October 27 which states: “The JFF is pleased to advise that, as committed, we have now paid in full balances due to the Women’s World Cup team.”

A source close to the situation denied the claims.

“The players have not received their money and they want it to be made public,” the source shared.

But Chung rebutted.

“As far as we know we have paid all the monies due. I have heard people say that players are due money still, but no one has come to us and say what is outstanding. So, persons outside can say anything, but I have to go by the records we have. If there is money outstanding, then it should be for the players to state what is outstanding, not for people in the public to say money is outstanding. That is not something anyone can act on,” Chung argued.

“Our focus right now is on the upcoming games, while we wait on the response to the proposed date, as we of course want to understand the allegations of mistreatment so that if it is something we need to address then we ensure that it is dealt with for all our players, current and future,” he noted.

The Girlz will face Panama at the National Stadium next Wednesday, before travelling to lock horns with Guatemala a few days later.

Squad: Lauren Reid, Malikae Dayes, Zoe Vidaurre, Chinyelu Asher, Israela Groves, Ricshya Walker, Marlo Sweatman, Davia Richards, Mikayla Dayes, Shaneil Buckley, Melissa Johnson, Aliyah Morgan, Theanna Burnett, Serena Mensa, Shanice Foster, Destiny Powell, Njeri Butts, Sashana Campbell, Shania Harris, Sydnie Street, Javanae Jones, Lachante Paul, Maliah Atkins.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz achieved what will be remembered as one of the most remarkable comebacks in Concacaf Nations League history, as they stunned Canada 3-2 in a lively second-leg League A quarterfinal encounter, at BMO Field in Toronto, on Tuesday night.

Spurred by a brace from Shamar Nicholson, who scored in the 63rd and 66th minutes to take his international tally to 16 goals, and a 78th-minute Bobby Reid penalty, the Jamaicans overturned a 1-2 deficit to win on the away goal rule. The tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Alphonso Davies (25th) and Ismael Kone (69th) got Canada's goals.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's side in the process of securing their spot in the Nations League semi-finals, as well as the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America 2024, rewrote the history books, as it was their first ever victory on Canadian soil, and the first time that the Caribbean side was scoring three goals against a North American opponent on their turf.

The Reggae Boyz are now set to lock horns against United States in one semi-final, in March, while Mexico, who overturned a two-goal deficit and defeated Honduras 4-2 on penalty, will meet Panama in the other, much like they did in this year's Gold Cup final.

Meanwhile, Canada will face Trinidad and Tobago in one Play-In fixture, while Costa Rica and Honduras will meet in the other. The winner of those Play-In contests will qualify for next year's Copa America.

After taking a 2-1 lead in their rain-interrupted first-leg clash at the National Stadium, Canada pressed that ascendancy at the start in the packed BMO Field and could have easily extended their advantage in the first 15 minutes, but for two incredible saves from Jamaica's goalkeeper Andre Blake.

The host inevitably got their breakthrough when Davies met a cross from the left and fired a shot that was initially deflected by Blake but spun backward into net.

Jamaica needed a response and minutes after should have pulled level after the re-start, but Leon Bailey's dry spell in the national setup continued, as he slammed his left-footed shot into crossbar.

The equalizer eventually came three minutes past the hour when Damion Lowe showed grit to dispossess an opponent and slipped a pass through for Nicholson, who rifled a right-footer past Canada's custodian Milan Borjan.

With the momentum now in their favour, the Jamaicans took the lead three minutes later on a well-worked counterattack in which Reid found Demarai Gray, and the former Everton mam swept a pass across the 18-yard yard box for the towering Nicholson to finish from close range.

However, their celebrations were short-lived, as Canada regained the advantage on aggregate soon after when Davies served up a cross for Kone to steer past Blake.

Still, the Jamaicans pressed and got the golden opportunity to not only pull level, but more importantly go ahead on the away goal rule, when Stephen Eustaquio handled an intended cross from Lowe inside the danger area. Reid stepped up to take the pressure-packed 12-yard kick and calmly converted to silent the home fans, while the small section of Jamaican supporters went into frenzy.

From there, Jamaica only needed to defend their lines and if that wasn't pressure enough, given their tendency to concede late goals, the task became even more difficult when Gray was shown a second yellow and given marching orders in the 84th minute.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Boyz managed to absorb all that Canada threw at them in the final minutes plus nine minutes of added time to snare a momentous victory.

 

Reigning daCosta Cup champions Clarendon College remain on course to secure a coveted treble, as they came from behind to down a gritty St George’s College 3-1 in a pulsating ISSA Champions Cup quarterfinal encounter at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

Justin Hayles (12th), Keheim Dixon (84th) and Tedane Williams (90+5), got the job done for Clarendon College after Jindu Powell gave St George’s College an eighth-minute lead.

Clarendon College will square off against Hydel High in one semi-final encounter, while Kingston College and Glenmuir will lock horns in the other. Kingston College earlier edged Dinthill Technical 3-2, while Glenmuir and Hydel were 1-0 and 4-2 winners over Mona High and Garvey Maceo respectively.

Both teams started spiritedly with St George’s College getting off the first warning shot and Clarendon College responded soon after. In fact, Clarendon College should have gone ahead at that point, but Deandrae Gallimore his effort High and wide from deep inside the 18-yard box.

Given the tempo at which both teams started, it was almost clear that the small turnout inside the grandstand would not have to wait long for the go-ahead goal, and it fell to St George’s College in fine style.

 After Zabir Taylor was taken down to the left of the 18-yard box, Malique Lorraine delivered a delicate chip from the set-play and Powell rose above defenders to head home.

But Clarendon College pulled level four minutes later when Hayles finished off a rebound from Dixon's long-range effort that was blocked by Jaedon Thompson, in goal for St George’s College.

From there, both teams cancelled out each other in the middle of the park, as they failed to create any meaningful chances at that point.

It wasn't until the backend of the half that Clarendon College once again surged forward and Christopher Hull should I put them ahead, but instead hit his right-footed effort over the crossbar from just inside the 18-yard box, as the score remained 1-1 at the break.

The second half started just like the first with St George’s College again on the front foot, as they enjoyed a good passage of play, and breached Clarendon College's defence a few times but failed to capitalise.

Their first fell in the 65th to Adrian Reid, who got on the end of Taylor's cross but his right-footer at the fat post was charged down by two defenders.

Reid was at it again 11 minutes later with his shot from a distance by parried by Roshae Burrell, in goal for Clarendon College, on that occasion.

After absorbing consistent pressure, Clarendon College regained the ascendancy when Dixon followed up and finished off a rebound when Daniel Clarke’s shot from a distance was blocked by Thompson.

And with St George’s College pushing high in their bid for the equalizer, the Chapelton-based team helped themselves to another on a well-worked counterattack orchestrated by Dixon and ended with Williams tucking away from close range, seconds before the final whistle.

Winning coach Lenworth “Teacha” Hyde was delighted with the outcome.

"It was just a match up where the better team would win on the day. It was exciting and both teams put out there all and I must lift my hats to St George’s College for a hard-fought game. I told my players to be relentless and I must lift my hats to them as well, they did well and we just hope we can continue playing this brand of football and hopefully win one of these trophies,” Hyde said.

His counterpart Neville “Bertis” Bell took heart from his team’s display, as he conceded that they were beaten by a quality opponent.

"I give thanks because I thought it was a wonderful schoolboy football game. Clarendon College is a quality team and I thought we matched them well and I am proud of these guys. I don't think anyone thought we would be here at this stage of the competition, but we are here, and we have shown that we deserve to be here. We got beaten by a good team and I can live with that,” Bell noted.

Results
Mona 0, Glenmuir 1
Garvey Maceo 2, Hyde High 4
Kingston College 3, Dinthill 2
 
Semi-final matchups
Hydel High vs Clarendon College
Kingston College vs Glenmuir High
*Games are scheduled for November 28.
Kingston College booked their spot in the semi-finals of the ISSA Champions Cup all-island knockout tournament, after they came from behind to edge Dinthill Technical in an entertaining quarterfinal encounter at the National Stadium on Tuesday. 
 
Captain Robert Seow led from the front with two penalty conversion in the 31st and 45+4 minutes, while Jaheim McLean (44th) got the other.  Tyrese Gowe (1st) and Giovanni Afflick (68th), got the goals for Dinthill.
 
Kingston College will be joined by Glenmuir High and Hydel High, who registered 1-0 and 4-2 victories over Mona High and Garvey Maceo in their games at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex and Manchester High, respectively. St George’s College and reigning daCosta Cup champions Clarendon College were set to decide the other semi-final spot in the late fixture at the National Stadium. 
 
In the curtain-raiser, Dinthill required only 30 seconds to break the deadlock as Gowe picked up a pass at the edge of the arc and rifled a right-footer past Malique Williams in goal for Kingston College.
 
The St Catherine-based team continued to dominate proceedings for the most part and forced Kingston College into a defensive posture, almost as if backing a prey into a corner.
However, they failed to make the kill strike and eventually let momentum slip after Richard Ewart handled the ball inside the danger area on Demario Dailey's effort. Seow stepped up and buried the 12-yard kick.
 
Kingston College doubled the lead 13 minutes later when McLean expertly headed home from a weighted Damaine Smith cross.
 
And before Dinthill Technical could catch their breaths, they were again hit by Seow from the penalty spot after Deshawn Byfield was taken out by goalkeeper Asher Hutchinson in a one-on-one situation.
 
With a healthy 3-1 lead at the break, the expectations may have been that Kingston College were going to sit back after the interval. Instead, the North Street-based team went on the search for more and like a pack of hungry wolves, camped out in Dinthill's quarters early on the resumption, and had numerous opportunities to extend the lead, but poor decision-making and faulty shooting saw their hunt being fruitless.
 
They later paid for their wastefulness when Afflick applied a delightful finish to Shamair Hutchinson's pass at the near post. From there, the teams nullified each other with Kingston College, in particular, being more resolute to see off the contest.
 
Winning coach Vassell Reynolds lauded his team's fighting spirit after going down.
 
"I think it was an even game; we were shocked by the 30 second goal, but we had time to come back, and we did so at the right time before the break. We could have killed off the game earlier, but nevertheless, they showed the fighting spirit that we wanted, and we are pleased with the win," Reynolds said in a post-match interview.
 
His counterpart, O'Neil Thomas also praised his team's effort despite the loss.
 
"We scored early but indiscipline crept in, and we conceded two penalties. But the boys did their best and we just have to go back fix what we need to and come again because our main focus is the daCosta Cup semi-finals," Thomas noted.
 
Results
Mona 0, Glenmuir 1
Garvey Maceo 2, Hyde High 4
Kingston College 3, Dinthill 2
Waterhouse's assistant coach Damion Gordon believes the club is already on the right path to turn around their fortunes from last season and, by extension, achieve their ambitions, as they whipped Vere United 4-1 in a dominant display at Stadium East on Monday.
 
The prolific Javane Bryan, with goals in the 9th, 25th and 59th minutes, registered the season’s second hat-trick, to join Justin Dunn on six goals, shortly after the Tivoli Gardens striker also assisted his team to victory over another Clarendon opponent in the curtain-raiser of the double-header.
 
Substitute Jaheim Dorman (90+5) got the other goal for Waterhouse, while captain Javier Brown (88th) got Vere United's consolation from the penalty spot.
 
With the win, Waterhouse, who are now on a four-match unbeaten run, moved the second on 10 points with 11 goals to their credit. Vere United remain eighth on five points.
 
While reflecting on last season’s disappointment when they finished eighth on 39 points with a 26-goal tally, Gordon expressed pleasure with both Bryan's and the team's current trajectory, as they have sights set on Concacaf club football.
 
"We are looking at great things because we definitely want to get into a playoff spot and we definitely want to get into the Concacaf tournament, so this was a good result for us," Gordon declared.
 
"Javane Bryan was brilliant, he feeds off the supply of the team and his work ethics says a lot, so his goalscoring form is just a reward of how hard he has been working. But there is a lot more work to be done in terms of us off the ball movement, and we actually used our weakness from the last game to help trap our opponents tonight (Monday), hence the reason why we got a lot of goals coming down the flanks," he added.
 
Waterhouse were more purposeful from the start and opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Brown got on the end of a delightful Navardo Blair pass, and finished with aplomb at the far post, leaving Roje Williams, in goal for Vere United, as a mere spectator.
 
Bryan doubled the lead in the 25th, as he finished a free header from Andre Fletcher's weighted cross after he was again left unmarked at the far post.
 
Waterhouse continued to apply pressure but the probe to add to their tally in the first half, proved fruitless as they went to the break 2-0 up.
 
However, they didn't have to wait too long after the interval for another goal. This, as Bryan was on hand to finish a rebound after Denardo Thomas's header from a Nickoy Christian freekick came back off the left upright.
 
After offering very little in the attacking third for most of the game, Vere United gradually came to life and had a few half chances, the best of which came in the 77th when Steve Pinnock's diving header just went wide.
 
However, the Clarendon-based team got something belated got something to celebrate when the referee awarded a controversial penalty which Brown and Vere gladly accepted. 
 
Whatever joy Vere felt at the end of that goal was shortlived as Waterhouse added another in time added. Substitute Donte Duncan showed nippy footwork to get by two defenders on the right channel and open space for pass which Dorman finished off from close range.
 
Jermaine Douglas, assistant coach of Vere United blasted his team's poor defensive display.
 
"We conceded two early goals because we never protected our back post properly and we were always chasing the game after that. We have to do some analysis because we never started like we wanted to play. In the second half, the mood and intensity were up and then we conceded again at the back post and that's where we lost the game, we just never defended properly," Douglas noted.
 
Match week results
 
Lime Hall 1, Cavalier 1
Portmore United 2, Molynes United 0
Treasure Beach 0, Dunbeholden FC 0
Mount Pleasant FA 2, Harbour View 0
Montego Bay United 1, Arnett Gardens 3
Tivoli Gardens 4, Humble Lions 1
Waterhouse 4, Vere United 1
Jerome Waite and Tivoli Gardens continued their vibrant start to the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL) season, as they downed Humble Lions 4-1 in a lopsided encounter at Stadium East Field on Monday.
 
The dynamic duo of Justin Dunn and Howard Morris proved menacing on the day, and both bagged a brace to lift the West Kingston team to a third win in four games so far this season.
 
Dunn continued his rich vein of form with goals in the 2nd and 53rd minutes that took his tally to six, while Morris's goals (45+1 and 88th), moved his tally to three. Interestingly, it was a 29th-minute own-goal by Tivoli's captain Barrington Pryce that turned out to be Humble Lions consolation. 
 
While Humble Lions remain seventh on five points, Tivoli Gardens inched up to third on nine points with 11 goals to their count, and that puts them well on course to surpass last season’s tally off 22 points and 29 goals. 
 
That for Waite was always the objective. 
 
"There is always room for improvement, even though we scored all goals, it could have been more, but poor decision-making and faulty execution let us down. If you know me, I am a very attacking coach and the whole objective is to score goals because goals make the difference in a game, so we just want to continue putting our best foot forward and see where it takes us this season," Waite said in a post-match interview.
 
It was a frantic start to the contest by Tivoli Gardens, who went straight to work from the whistle and quickly broke the deadlock courtesy of a slick one-two combination between Morris and Dunn, as the latter applied the finish past Prince-Daniel Smith from close range.
 
Though tempers flared in the early exchanges, particularly on the part of Humble Lions players, Tivoli Gardens maintained a cool and continued to frustrate the opponents with tidy movements in the attacking third.
 
Morris should have doubled the lead in the 15th minute when he was allowed space and time at the top of the 18-yard box to pull the trigger, but his shot didn't have enough venom to beat Smith.
 
That missed opportunity came back to haunt them 14 minutes later, as Humble Lions pulled level when Pryce turned an intended cross by Fabian Pascoe into his own net.
 
But that was all the Clarendon-based team would get against a dominant Tivoli Gardens outfit that was both brisk and enterprising in their build ups. In fact, Humble Lions struggled with defensive organization throughout, and Tivoli Gardens happily exploited those areas.
 
Another tidy team build up released Dunn in space to play a pass in for Morris, who made no mistakes on that occasion to out the West Kingston team 2-1 up at the break.
 
Tivoli maintained the momentum on the resumption and extended the lead eight minutes in, as Dunn arrived on the end of a delightful through pass from Nickalia Fuller and drove home a left-footer that gave Smith no chance at a save.
 
From there, Waite's side continued to apply consistent pressure to which Humble Lions had no response, and though they were made to wait in their probe for another goal, it inevitably came Two minutes from time.
 
This, when Dunn released another pass inside the danger area and Morris capitalized on the time and space to thump a right-footer past the hapless Smith and cap the win, which left Waite pleased for the most parts.
 
"Depending on the strength of the opposition, once we identify those areas, there are players who will be given a task (to nullify that strength) and all you want them to do is deliver on the day. The team has been doing well so far and it is our hope that the work they do in training will make the difference on game days," Waite said. 
 
His counterpart Andrew Price cut a dejected figure as he summed up his team's dismal performance. 
 
"I don't think we showed up, defensively we were out of shape, and we just didn't look interested in the game. This is the worse display I have seen from the team. I am disappointed with the way the team played and I expected more from them. But we just need to forget this quickly and get ourselves ready for the next game," Price said.
 
"We have to do some introspection; we know we are much better than this and so we have to get back to basics and start doing the simple things. We usually take pride in our defensive abilities, and we didn't show that and like I said its very disappointing," he added.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson rued his team’s missed opportunities along with a lapse in concentration that proved their undoing, as they will have to overturn a one-goal deficit if they intend to progress to the Concacaf Nations League semi-final, as well as next year's Copa America, after they went down 1-2 to Canada in their opening quarter-final leg at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Jonathan David sent Canada in front in the 45+1, before Shamar Nicholson added to his rich Nations League scoring form, with a 56th-minute strike. However, poor defending by the Jamaicans allowed Stephen Eustaquio (86th) to notch the decisive goal and put Canada in the driver's seat heading into Tuesday's second leg at the BMO Field in Toronto.

"It was really hot, so the tempo understandably wasn't high. In a game like this it's about keeping focus, they lost focus, and we didn't punish them, and we lost focus, and they punished us. At this level when you don't take your chances you get hurt and that was the end result," Hallgrimsson said in a post-game interview.

Jamaica started the contest, which was pushed back from Friday due to inclement weather, spiritedly in bright sunny conditions, as they showed some degree of enterprise in the early exchanges and should have opened the scoring in 15th minute. This, as Leon Bailey breached Canada's defence, but dragged his left-footed effort wide of the target in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Canada also had an early opportunity of their own through David, whose effort was kept out by Reggae Boyz captain Andre Blake in goal.

The Canadians continued their probe and almost broke the deadlock in the 32nd, as Cyle Larin was allowed time and space to release a right-footer from outside the 18-yard box, but Blake again proved equal to the task.

Canada used the channels well for the service and had a few more half chances but were still unable to break Jamaica's resistance. 

Bailey should have put the Jamaicans in front in the 40th when he arrived at the far post to meet Bobby Reid's weighted corner, but the effort slammed into the left upright. 

The Jamaicans later paid for that missed opportunity, as Larin turned his marker and played a pass inside for David to tap in.

Canada should have added another in stoppage time, when David produced a tidy run down left channel and found Larin, who had enough time and space to pick a spot from dead centre of the 18-yard box but steered right-footer wide.

The North Americans picked up where they left off on the resumption and almost doubled the lead four minutes in, but David's well-struck effort from almost 20-yards out was parried by Blake.

Jamaica came into their own and pulled level when a quickly taken freekick from Reid sent Nicholson in behind Canada's defence and the towering striker made no mistakes with a firmly struck effort. Though initially flagged offside, the goal stood via the VAR review.

From there, the contest remained evenly poised and could have gone either way in the latter stages, but it was Canada, who inevitably found the winner.

Richie Laryea’s dashing run down the right channel dragged Jamaica’s defence and opened up space for Eustaquio to sweep home the perfect cut-back pass from deep inside the 18-yard box.

 

After serving 14 years as President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Martin Lyn has opted not to seek re-election, citing the need to refresh and reinvigorate the organisation with new leadership.

Lyn, whose time at the helm was spread across seven two-year terms, believes he has left the association in good standing with a solid platform on which the next president can build to drive the country’s aquatic sports product forward.

The new president will be selected at the ASAJ’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for December 5.

Georgia Sinclair and Lance Rochester, who served as vice presidents with responsibility for swimming and water polo respectively, under Lyn’s leadership, are said to be frontrunners in the race to take the reins.

“Sometimes you have to know when to step aside and let someone else take over. My accomplishments and achievements speak for themselves, and nobody can dispute the fact that I have done a significant amount of good during my time in charge. I also think it’s time for me to focus on other things as well and also allow the association to grow in a different direction,” Lyn told SportsMax.TV.

“For the first time in a while, there are people vying for the presidency and it is good that people’s ambitions towards leadership is stimulated. So, I am stepping down to allow the association to grow even bigger and better with fresh ideas because I have left a strong foundation on which the next president can build,” he added.

According to Lyn, his time at the helm boast outstanding contribution and great personal sacrifice, though his credibility, integrity and, by extension, leadership qualities, have been called into question on a number of occasions.

“The presidency is not an easy job in any federation. It wasn’t always easy to beg and beseech the minister (of sports) and Sports Development Foundation for funding or even to secure sponsorship, and of course, you and others don’t always see eye-to-eye for various reasons. But we have upgraded the system and most importantly we are in one of the best financial positions that we have been in, in years,” Lyn argued.

“The day-to-day running of the federation was up and down but the administration performed very well including the disciplinary committee. For the first time in a long time, we don’t have any disciplinary matters pending,” he noted.

Though celebrating some infrastructure development, as well as the recognition of five Jamaican officials on the World Aquatics list among his achievements, Lyn pointed out that he also had some regrets.

“Two regrets I have, and one is the fact that I have tried unsuccessfully to change the constitution of the ASAJ so that there are not so many gray areas because in the current constitution, there are a lot of loopholes. But the feedback was that we couldn’t just meet and discuss the constitution, so maybe I was a little premature in my approach, but it is something that I will encourage for the new administration to look at,” Lyn shared without going into details about his other regret, which had to do with how swim meets were conducted.

That said, Lyn left words of encouragement for the new administration which will boast familiar faces, as treasurer Florence Grizzle-Williams will battle incumbent Shauna Jackson for the post of Honorary Secretary.

Robyn-Ann Chin-Sang will be running unopposed for Vice-president in charge of artistic swimming, while Marlon McIntyre is the only candidate for the vice-president in charge of water polo.

Meanwhile, Hilary Brown-Nixon seems set to take the post of vice-president in charge of swimming.

“The first word of encouragement is to keep the train rolling, because we are on a very good path for success. I have dedicated a lot of time out of my life to do what I did, so which ever candidate takes over, they must be willing to invest the time and effort into moving the sport forward because it is to the benefits of the athletes and more so the country,” he ended.

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