Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Mariappa: We have a lot to be proud of

Published:Tuesday | July 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Mexico’s Andres Guardado (left) and Jamaica’s Adrian Mariappa battle for the ball during the first half of the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Sunday.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania:

SUNDAY NIGHT's 3-1 loss in their historic CONCACAF Gold Cup finals appearance to seven-time champions Mexico hurt Jamaica's men's senior football team deeply.

"We're gutted to lose today. I was obviously very emotional. You could see after the game the Boyz were upset because we believe we could win the competition," defender Adrian Mariappa said after the game.

Mexico went ahead at the 31st minute with a goal by Andres Guardado, then two bad errors by centre half Michael Hector led to early second-half goals from Jesus Corona at the 47th and Oribe Peralta in the 61st. By then, the game was as good as over.

"We've a lot to be proud of; there's a lot we can take away from this competition. We got to the final ... but we are disappointed. We'll lick our wounds and now go forward to the World Cup Qualifiers."

The silver-medal finish was Jamaica's best at the confederation championship, having already qualified for the semis in 1993 - when they placed third - and 1998.

Additionally, their win over the United States was their first on American soil, and they are the only Caribbean team to have played in the final.

"I thought we started really well," Mariappa continued. "They scored a good goal. Even after that, we had a couple of chances, so I think second half they scored quite early, which put us on the back foot, but it's football, it's about small margins, and today we came out on the losing side of it."

Despite the impactful mistakes, Mariappa, who plays for Crystal Palace in the English Premier League, said the 23-year-old Hector will rebound strongly.

HECTORAVERY ACCOMPLISHED PLAYER

"I think he's been terrific. For someone so young to have so much composure and a good head on him. He's already a very accomplished player, and I think he's going to be somebody special going forward," he observed.

"Today we had a couple of unfortunate moments, but there were a lot of stuff leading up to the build-up before those things happened. So, definitely, (I'm) not pointing fingers at anyone; we win together, we lose together as a team, and I think he's been terrific at Copa and this competition."

The Jamaicans will now turn their attention to the upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifying competition, which begins with opening encounters against Nicaragua on September 4 and 8, home and away.

- Audley Boyd