Young Boyz must do better - Jamaica face Guatemala with World Cup spot at stake
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Fresh off Friday's last-gasp 2-2 draw against Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica seek their first win in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, with Guatemala standing in their way in today's Group A feature at the National Stadium at 8 p.m.
The Jamaicans will have to do better than they did against the Trinis in what their coach Theodore Whitmore called a "lucky" result, with the hosts needing a win against the Central Americans to keep them kicking in the group.
The tournament serves as a qualifier for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, set for New Zealand later this year.
On Friday, the Jamaicans had a wasteful T&T team and a well executed free kick by Jamaica College star Junior Flemmings, in the last four minutes of added time, to thank for what seemed like an unlikely point for much of the game.
Coach of Jamaica's team, Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, is fully aware that they have to win against Guatemala to remain in contention for one of four spots to the World Cup.
"It is more the mental aspect of the team that we have to work on in moving forward in the tournament. We have to step up the intensity for the next game," Whitmore said on Friday night at a post-game press conference.
Aikim Andrews (6th) and Kadeem Corbin (18th) gave T&T a 2-0 lead at half-time, but Donjay Smith, who replaced senior Reggae Boy Michael Seaton, pulled one back for the host before Flemmings' 11th hour heroics.
"As host, that wasn't the result we were looking for, but luckily we came back," the former national senior team coach and captain conceded.
Meanwhile, coach of Trinidad and Tobago, Derek King, was left disappointed that his team squandered many chances in the first-half.
"Our first-half plan worked. It was a wonderful first-half. I'm very disappointed that we did not win the game but we came away with a point," he said.
Panama, following a 4-0 win against Aruba in the first game on Friday, leads the group on three points, ahead of Jamaica, T&T, USA and Guatemala - all tied on a point apiece. Aruba sit at the bottom without a point.
USA and Guatemala battled to a 1-1 draw in the second game of Friday's triple header.
❐ 3 p.m. - Trinidad and Tobago vs Aruba
❐ 5:30 p.m. - Panama vs USA
❐ 8 p.m. - Jamaica vs Guatemala
(All games to be played at the National Stadium)