Kwesi Mugisa

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.

Guyana Amazon Warriors secured their place in the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) play-offs with a 37-run win over Trinbago Knight Riders.  

Trinbago Knight Riders won the toss and chose to field in this must-win game, with Amazon Warriors opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz giving the fans at Providence stadium a spectacle, scoring 60 from 42 balls to ignite the Warrior’s innings and help take them to 173-6. 

In their chase, the Trinbago Knight Riders built a steady opening partnership through Tim Seifert and Colin Munro, but wickets then fell throughout their innings as the Amazon Warriors were spurred on by a vocal home crowd. The Knight Riders finished 136 all out and lost by 37 runs. 

Guyana Amazon Warriors suffered an early setback in their innings as Ravi Rampaul showed his effectiveness in the PowerPlay by taking the wicket of Chandrapaul Hemraj. Gurbaz would then play some spectacular shots to accelerate the run rate. Sunil Narine, who did not bowl until the 12th over, would claw the Knight Riders back into the game by taking the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Romario Shepherd. A remarkable late blitz from Odean Smith, scoring 23 runs from 7 balls, would then catapult the Warriors to 173/6. 

Trinbago Knight Riders had a good start in their chase, Seifert and Munro keeping up with the run rate, but led by Shakib, the Warriors fought back to take wickets, including some spectacular fielding to dismiss Nicholas Pooran. Once captain Kieron Pollard was out stumped, the Knight Riders faced an uphill battle and finished on 136 all out.

The result means that Trinbago Knight Riders have been eliminated from play-off contention. 

 

West Indies One Day International captain Nicholas Pooran believes the team is still searching for the right approach to be able to reap success in the format.

Despite some promising signs in both the Test and T20 versions of the sport, the team Windies have continued to accumulate indifferent results in 50-over cricket.  Currently ranked at 9th in the world, the team has won just 4 of the last 10 games and won only one against a team in the top 10.

In their last encounter, the team struggled to come to grips with Pakistan in a 3-0 loss after a convincing win against the Netherlands prior to that.  Recently appointed Pooran, however, believes the team is still trying to find its legs.

“There are a lot of new guys on the team and we need to learn to play together as a group.  You just have to be patient, the ODI format is between the Test and the T20, and the mindset is changing.  We just need to get the right mindset, the right template, and just stick with it for a bit, I am really looking forward to the Bangladesh game,” Pooran said.

The West Indies will play Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series, beginning in Guyana tomorrow.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach, Lorne Donaldson, is hoping for sharper finishing in front of goal against the United States but expects that to continue improving as the team gets more games under its belt.

The Jamaicans kicked off the Concacaf W Championship in impressive fashion with a 1-0 win over hosts Mexico on Monday.  The team, however, in all likelihood could and should have won by a bigger margin having created several clear-cut opportunities throughout the match.

Most notably, Khadijah Shaw scored the all-important goal but also hit the upright in the second half, while attempting to chip Mexican goalkeeper Emily Alvarado.  Forward Jody Brown was also guilty of a bit of profligacy, after being played through clean on goal on three occasions but picking out the keeper with all three attempts. 

With the Reggae Girlz scheduled to tackle the world's number one ranked the United States on Thursday, such opportunities are likely to be few and far between.  Donaldson was quick to point out, however, that attacking coordination and finishing in front of the goal takes time to develop and time is a luxury that the team did not have in its preparation for the tournament.

“The sharpness up front takes time (to develop) and we had no games coming in.  Two weeks of preparation was all we had to get the group together.  Some of the team came in a little unfit so we tried to spend some time getting the fitness up,” Donaldson said.

“So, for that sharpness, hopefully, our instincts will kick in, because the hardest part of the game is to get your finishing touch and we saw that.  So hopefully, we will have a bit more luck and do a better job in that department.”   

The top two teams from each group will advance to the next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has expressed disappointment on missing out on triple figures against Bangladesh but was satisfied in playing a crucial innings on day 2 of the second Test.

The opening batsman crafted a resilient 94 from 268 balls, a resilient 400 minutes that went a long way towards anchoring the team’s total of 265 and a first-innings lead.

Just short of a deserved 11th Test century, the batsman was, however, deceived by Khaled Ahmed and sent back to the pavilion just four short of the coveted total.

“Obviously, I was a little disappointed but I’m happy that the team has formed a lead and it will be key for us to start well tomorrow,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Friday.

“The most important thing was to build a foundation for me, and my team and I was happy with the time I spent.  So well done to the team for getting a lead,” he added.

The West Indies will enter the third day with a lead of 112 runs, after ending the day on 52 for 2.

 

Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group H of the Concacaf U20 Championship, which will take place in Honduras later this month.

The fixture will see the team play Costa Rica on June 18, hosts Honduras on June 20, and Antigua and Barbuda on June 22 in the preliminary round.

After Group Stage play the top three teams in each of the groups will advance to the Round of 16, joining the four CMU20C Qualifiers winners (qualifiers between the lowest-ranked nations took place in November 2021).
The 16-team Knockout Stage will begin with the Round of 16 (June 25-26), followed by the Quarterfinals (June 29), Semifinals (July 1), and Final (July 3).

 The top four teams will qualify for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in 2023.   Jamaica qualified for the FIFA World U20 Championship in 2001.

 

Jamaica U-20 squad

  1. RICARDO WATSON
  2. CONIAH BOYCE-CLARKE
  3. LUKE BAILEY BADLEY-MORGAN
  4. JADON ANDERSON
  5. DEXTER LEMBIKISA
  6. ROMAIN BLAKE
  7. TARICK XIMINES
  8. LAMONTH ROCHESTER
  9. LUIS WATSON
  10. MALACHI DOUGLAS
  11. ALEXANDER BICKNELL
  12. DUNCAN MCKENZIE
  13. CHRISTOPHER PEARSON
  14. KOBI THOMAS
  15. DEVONTE CAMPBELL
  16. TYLER ROBERTS
  17. JEMONE BARCLAY
  18. CHAD JAMES
  19. JAHMARI CLARKE
  20. ZION SCARLETT

 

Former India players Sunil Gavaskar and RP Singh are among those critical of all-rounder Krunal Pandya kissing former West Indian skipper Kieron Pollard during Sunday’s India Premier League (IPL) encounter between Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants.

So far this season, Mumbai, the many-time champions, have failed to gain any traction, losing all eight of the games played so far.  In Sunday’s loss, Pandya found himself at the centre of controversy after running to give Pollard a kiss on the head after dismissing the West Indian.

Despite it being generally known that the men are friends, Gavaskar believes the bowler went too far with his celebration and that his mockery could have provoked a negative reaction from the West Indian. 

“I know he is not going to like it, No! No! However good friends you are, that has to happen once the game is over. He is lucky that Pollard didn’t do anything,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.  Singh agreed, adding that the Lucknow player had gone too far.

“Nobody likes losing. When a player is not doing well, one should avoid such things. You don’t know what emotions he is going through. What if he (Pollard) had turned back and reacted. He was walking back disappointed at being unable to win matches and that reaction was definitely too much.”

 

West Indies Women all-rounder Hayley Matthews is hopeful that a stunning upset of New Zealand to bowl off the ICC Women’s World Cup will give the team plenty of momentum moving forward.

In a magnificent player-of-the-match performance, Matthews put together a shot-filled 119 from 128 and claimed bowling figures of 2 for 41 to anchor the West Indies in a nail-biting 3-run win over the hosts.

Prior to the win, the team had not defeated New Zealand in the format since 2014 and it was only their second win in 7 meetings between the teams at the tournament.  The innings, her third ODI century and first at the World Cup, also represented a career run high for Matthews and was the team’s fourth-highest total at the World Cup.

For a team that few would have listed among the favourites, it was a solid start to the tournament.  

“It’s exactly what we were looking to come out here and do, get off to a really good start and hopefully we can carry this momentum into the rest of the tournament,” Matthews said, following the match.

Matthews seemed to be set to bat in the middle order for the World Cup, after several strong performances in that position heading into the tournament.  The player was, however, promoted back to the spot she had previously occupied after an injury to Rashada Williams.

“I didn’t know how I felt about it at first, seeing I was pretty comfortable at 5 but I’m the type of player that whatever the team needs, I’m looking to try and do.  It seemed to work out all right."

  

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel remains very much a part of the plans of the new Desmond Haynes-led selection panel despite not being selected in the squad for the first Test against England.

The 33-year-old pace bowler, who has been playing for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the West Indies Championship, was not named among the 15-man squad for the first Test or Presidents XI.  His omission is, however, due to sustaining a hamstring injury.

“Shannon was injured in the game that he played in Trinidad.  We were told by the medical panel that he is having a bit of a problem with his hamstring and would not be fit for selection,” Haynes told members of the media on Wednesday.

“Shannon did very well against England the last tour here.  He’s probably our fastest bowler and we are hoping to get him fit so that he can be on the park."

Overall Gabriel has taken 37 wickets against England in 11 matches and took 5 for 25 and overall figures of 9 for 137 when he face England in 2020.  The English went on to win the series 2-1.  Concerns have been raised over the player’s workload in recent times after the fast bowler has found himself sidelined by a few injuries.

West Indies vice-captain, Nicholas Pooran, believes his performance against England was enhanced by a certain clarity of thought regarding what needed to be accomplished for the team.

Rovman Powell may have stolen the headlines with his sensational knock of 107, but Pooran played just as critical a role in providing the backbone that the 20-run win for the West Indies was built on. As a pair, they combined to frustrate the England bowlers after adding 122 runs for the third wicket.

Pooran, who admits he is still working on adapting to batting at the unfamiliar position of three, scored a crucial 70 off 43 balls.

“For me it was simple. The last couple of games, even from Pakistan I got the opportunity to bat at number 3 and I’m trying to figure out how I should bat at number three. Today I just felt like I had to be clear. Today was about being clear and just executing. If I said I wanted to look for a single for example, I looked for a single and picked the gap. I just tried to put the ego away for me it was all about staying in the moment, playing the situations well. Trying to play things as well as I can."

The team was also forced to put in a strong effort in the field as led by 75 from Tom Banton, England made a good effort of chasing the target before falling short at 204 for 9.

"For me the extra 22 runs at the end was key. In saying that England batted well but we knew if we could string a couple good overs together we would have a good chance. It seems like they played more bowlers today, so that was also a big help for us."

History-making Jamaica Alpine skier, Alexander Benjamin, believes the country possesses the attributes to produce top-quality skiers on a consistent basis and hopes to be the first of many.

At 38 years old Benjamin made history for the Caribbean after qualifying for the event at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.  He is, however, the second skier to do so for Jamaica behind Errol Kerr who competed in Freestyle skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics where he finished in 9th position.  Kerr’s finish remains the best placing by a Caribbean athlete at any Winter Olympics.

Despite the fame garnered from the 1988 Winter Olympics four-man bobsled team, immortalised by the cult classic Cool Runnings, it is the Summer Olympics that have been the forte of the Caribbean island.

Led by Jamaican track and field legend Usain Bolt, Beijing was a happy hunting ground for the country’s Summer Olympic team in 2008, where they claimed 11 medals.  While Benjamin won’t necessarily expect that type of success, the newly minted Olympian believes there is plenty of talent to harness within the country and throughout the diaspora.

“What my story is all about is encouraging the next generation of Jamaicans to start before 32, so that we can have a real chance at medaling,” Benjamin told the SportsMax Zone.

“I’ve already identified three Jamaicans in New York, who started skiing when they were less than two years old, and they’ve been race training for the last 10 years.  So, they’re now 14 years old and these guys are going to come with force when we get to the 2026 Games,” he added.

“I think that we can get a really strong ski team from the pool of talent we already have in Jamaica and the diaspora.”

Benjamin has targeted being actively involved with the Jamaica Ski Federation (JSF).  Richard Salm the former president of the JSF died of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident last year.

 

 

Jamaica Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) High Performance Director Mark Silver has lamented the circumstances that saw the country’s women’s two-woman team edged out of the Olympic qualifying positions.

Up to last month, the women’s team of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brake woman Audra Segree were favoured to be listed among the automatic qualifiers for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, among the world’s top 12 teams.  By the time January rolled around, however, a conflation of unfortunate circumstances had changed things entirely.  According to Silver, things began to go wrong from the perspective of the team at Latvia's Sigulda World Series where there was a Covid-19 outbreak.

“We did everything we could.  We missed out because of the weather and believe it or not Covid,” Silver explained.

How it works is there are races across the world, after Christmas, the first race was in Latvia, and unfortunately, 7 athletes couldn’t race, which meant that athletes that would have finished lower down finished higher and received points that they wouldn’t have if the race was full of athletes,” he added. 

“In another race, a massive amount of snow meant that athletes who raced later benefited from the snow being clear.  Now, with the snow it's part of the sport, we expect that.”

In the final standing, the team finished tied with France for the final spot but were edge out via the tiebreak.  The team could still qualify for the Games if France or any of the other 10 teams above them Germany, Canada, United States, China, ROC, Switzerland, Romania, Austria, Great Britain, Australia, or Belgium are unable to take part in the event.

“With Covid, the girls finished third overall on the NAC, and before Christmas, I would have said I was confident and with the press release, had it been what we had expected and predicted they were probably our safest option,” he added 

“However, things that changed but that’s sports.  For each bad thing that goes against you sometimes we get good things and fingers crossed we were bang on points, and who knows maybe this time around luck will go with us.  Hopefully not at the expense of anyone else but hopefully the girls will get to live their dreams as well because they worked so hard.”

President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, Chris Stokes, admits it is a special feeling to see the country’s four-man men’s team heading back to the Winter Olympics for the first time in 24 years.

Inescapably, whenever a Jamaica team qualifies for the Olympics, an inexorable link is made to the 1993 smash hit Cool Runnings, which starred the late John Candy and Doug E. Doug that went on to become a cult classic.

Unlike the movie, however, the hard yards put in to get to the Olympics, for the nation that has never seen a drop of snow, has always been real.

Stokes was a last-minute alternate when the team crashed the sled during the historic catapult down the ice in the four-man competition, in Calgary 1988, for the squad that would become immortalised in film.  He and others have pushed on ever since.  The team has subsequently appeared at another eight Olympic Games.  The men’s team, however, last appeared at the Winter sports spectacle in 2014 when a two-man team of Marvin Dixon and Winston Watts finished in 24th place and have not taken part as a four-man unit since 1998.  In the upcoming Olympics, the men’s team will make a triumphant return, but the team has also qualified for the two-man event and women’s monobob to appear in a historic three events.

“It has a special place in my heart to know that we will be in the four-man event once again at the Olympics, having been a part of that team myself (In 1988) it gives me great satisfaction,” Stokes said.

“It's not something that we take for granted it's hard work every time to qualify and it is a huge step for us to have three teams at the Games this year.”

With a bit more luck it could have been four, with the women’s two-woman team finishing just outside of the automatic qualification spots based on a tiebreaker.  The team could still appear at the Games having secured the position as the first alternate, should any of the automatic qualifiers withdraw from the event.

 “The two-woman team of Audra Segree and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian were close.  They were in the qualifying spots for most of the way but in the last few weeks, I think some very questionable decisions were made when it comes to qualification.  I can’t say that I was surprised because these things happen, but it was unfortunate.”

The women’s team made its debut at the 2018 Winter Games with Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell taking part in the event.  Despite the possibility of that team being left out this time around, qualifying three teams is not a feat to be scoffed at.

“We have an absolutely outstanding program and we don’t take it for granted.  We have a strong administration and an elite coaching staff that are wanted all over the world.”

West Indies fast bowler Ravi Rampaul is confident the experience of senior members of the team will be crucial in its effort to retain the ICC World Cup.

The 37-year old’s call up to the squad has been among the most controversial made by the Caribbean team, with some fans insisting the West Indies should have focused on selecting younger talent.  Rampaul’s effective showing the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), however, convinced selectors that he could be an asset for a team looking to successfully defend its title.

In 10 matches, Rampaul was the tournament’s leading scorer with 19 wickets at an economy rate of 7.96 and a best of 4 for 29.  The bowler is satisfied that the work put in merited selection to the team’s T20 World Cup squad.

“In every team, you want to play for, you have to put a performance out there and I know I needed to work hard and show the selectors I could still take wickets and compete at a level.  I needed to put the performance out there and show them I could take wickets at the CPL stage,” Rampaul told members of the media on Saturday.

Despite the criticism aimed towards the age of some members of the squad, Rampaul believes the experience of the team will be critical in the bid to retain the trophy.

“Going into big World Cup games you need experience and the team that was selected is a lot of experienced guys and a lot of young guys as well, guys that play around the world in different conditions.  We know games come quick and fast and the experienced guys will know how to manage themselves.”

The West Indies will bow into action with a match against England on October 23rd.

Guyana 400m sprinter, Aliyah Abrams, will approach competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games with fresh zeal after taking full advantage of the enforced break from the sport the coronavirus provided last season.

Like many others the Guyana national champion found herself upended with heavily disrupted training sessions, the majority of meets cancelled, and even eventual postponement of the Olympics.  Still, she endeavored to make the best use of the situation and found unexpected benefits.

“Despite the Games being cancelled and a whole lot of meets being cancelled it was the reset that I needed,” Abrams told SportsMax.TV.

“Sometimes you just need to step away from track and pursue and do other things that you enjoy.  When you come back to doing it, you can rekindle that flame that you had,” she added.

“A lot of things of things were shut down but I got a chance to spend some time with the people I love and recover my body and my mind.”

For the 24-year-old, Tokyo will represent her second appearance on track and field’s biggest stage, and in addition to being in a better frame of mind, she is also feeling in better physical shape.

“It’s been five years from 2016 to the 2021 Olympics, I was able to compete internationally and do well at Worlds and at Pan Ams, so I have more experience, I’m in better physical shape as well.  I’ve also run faster than I did heading into the first Olympics,” Abrams said.

The quarter-miler, who has a personal best of 51.13, has targeted cracking the 50-seconds barrier in Toyko, but in a highly competitive field that may not be enough to earn a place among the top eight women in the world.  Win or lose though, the plucky athlete certainly intends to give it her best shot.

“I haven’t been running the third 100 of my race the way that I want to this season, so I have been working on how to better execute that.  The problem has been the second part of my race.  Once I set that up, I’ll be in good standing,” Abrams went on.

On her Olympic debut in Rio, Abrams exited the competition in the first round, she has much higher targets this time around.

“My ultimate goal this time around is to make it to the final that would be a success for me."

 

 

Page 1 of 2
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.