Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Duckie remains positive ahead of must-win Olympic qualifier

Published:Sunday | July 21, 2019 | 12:17 AMLivingston Scott - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Jamaica’s Tyreek Magee being challenged by Dominican defender George Usher during their Caribbean Football Union Under-23 qualifier at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The match ended 1-1.
Jamaica’s Tyreek Magee being challenged by Dominican defender George Usher during their Caribbean Football Union Under-23 qualifier at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The match ended 1-1.

National Under-23 coach Donovan Duckie has come under heavy criticism, following the team’s 1-1 draw with Dominica in their opening Group A Caribbean Football Union Men’s Olympic qualifiers at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Duckie, however, says he is still positive about the team’s chances of making it to the next round despite the unexpected setback in midweek.

“It could have been worse. We played against a team that plays a dangerous style. These were the things that we talked about. We had a few chances we could have converted, but it didn’t happen for us, but we got a point out of the game,” Duckie said.

The introduction of goal scorer Nique Daley and Lamar Walker in the second half lifted the performance of the team and many question why they were not in the game from the start and why the team needed two defensive midfielders (Chevaney Willis and Kevon Lambert) when another attacking midfielder would have given the team more fire power to break down the stubborn Dominicans.

“This is football, and we know that the fans think they always have the answer after the fact. But before the fact, you have to figure it out. Daniel Green is a good-quality player. Nique Daley did what he had to do. Maybe if he started, no goal, but he came on and scored, so let’s give thanks for that. We introduced Nique, and immediately, it paid dividends, and that was a bright spot for us,” he added.

Good opportunity

Jamaica will have it all to do again when they take on St Kitts and Nevis in their final game at the same venue today, and Duckie believes that the game between Dominica and St Kitts on Friday will give him and the coaching staff a good opportunity to assess the opponent and make their preparations.

St Kitts and Nevis hammered Dominica 4-0 in their contest at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Friday to move to three points, meaning that the Jamaicans must win today if they are to progress to the next stage of the competition, where they would meet the other group winners from the Caribbean region.

“We know exactly what we have to do. We have everything to play for in the last game. We fought really hard to get back in the game (Wednesday), so I was very impressed with the effort, but I was disappointed with our finishing. The Olympics is the hardest tournament to qualify for, but we are still positive about it, and we are happy with the result, and we have everything to play for in the last game,” Duckie said.

Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m.