Sat | Feb 24, 2018

JLA aiming for World Champs knockout round

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
National lacrosse team head coach Dale Walker (left) in discussion with players Gregory Powell (second left), Chadwick Hamm (third left), John Edwards (fourth left) and teammates during a recent training session at Emmett Park in Kingston last Friday.

Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) Vice-president Dwight Clarke said that Jamaica's first appearance at the World Lacrosse Championship will not be just to participate, as he is confident that the nation can be competitive and at least reach the knockout stages in Israel in July.

At present, there is no qualification process for the championship, which means that all affiliate countries are invited to participate in the sport's showpiece event, where over 50 nations are expected to compete.

Although Jamaica is relatively new to the sport, after a recent introduction about three years ago, Clarke says that the JLA feels confident that it can advance to the elimination stages.

FAIRLY GOOD TEAM

"We have a fairly good team with a mixture of foreign and local players that can really make an impact on this competition. So I think we are going to reach the knockout stage and anything is possible from there. So when Israel comes around we will see how things pan out. We think we have a good squad, and we think we can be competitive," he added.

Clarke admitted that top-ranked countries are way more advance than Jamaica. He said that the national players will have to be on top of their game for every match to have a successful championship.

"Compared to the better teams, our guys still need a lot more work, but we are not too far from them. It is just a matter of being dedicated and putting in the work to achieve this," he said.

It will also be the last world championship without a qualification process and Clarke wants Jamaica to make the most of this opportunity.

"For the next World Cup, we will have to work and qualify for that. Worldwide, the sport is growing. (In) this World Cup, you even have Jamaica, so the sport is growing, and for our local guys, we want them to gain experience from playing top-flight lacrosse," he said.