Howard Walker, Staff Reporter
Left: Action in the Digicel Caribbean Cup match between Jamaica and Haiti at the National Stadium, on Sunday. Right: Jamaica's coach, Carl Brown, shouts instructions from the bench during Sunday's night's Digicel Caribbean Cup match against Haiti, at the National Stadium. Jamaica won 2-0, but failed to advance to the next stage. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Jamaica crashed out of the Digicel Caribbean Cup basically because the players were not physically fit and could not maintain their momentum for 90 minutes, during the five-day tournament.
This was revealed by interim coach, Carl Brown at a press conference moments after the Reggae Boyz' demise.
"Physically the team is not in very good shape and I think that's the reason why the team could not go through the 90 minutes doing what we started doing," analysed Brown.
Jamaica played a brilliant first 45 minutes against St. Lucia in the opening game racing to 4-0 by half-time. But that performance went missing for the second half and it was even brought forward to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) encounter, when they lost 2-1.
So disgusting were those 135 minutes that the usually faithful fans turned against their team and showed their disapproval by booing the Boyz. In fact, they even went further, by cheering SVG's every move as if they were the home team.
"The fact the team was assembled pretty late and we had a number of the players coming from overseas ... Dawkins for instance, didn't played for at least three weeks and we saw tonight (Sunday) he was a much better player than the first two games. It was really time," noted Brown.
Jamaica, nevertheless, turned in a much better performance against group leaders Haiti and were 2-0 up after 32 minutes but once again, could not effectively push for that third goal which would have sent them through.
Said Brown: "Fatique is going to set in and if they worked as hard as they did in the first 45 minutes, it's not possible for them to get to the ball as they started out the game and that is what we needed to do. It was a sheer case of fatique that set out there.
"We knew we needed another goal. The changes that we made were forced changes but we had enough time to do what we wanted to do," said Brown.
Jamaica, as are Haiti and SVG, ended with six points from three games. Haiti topped the group with a superior goal difference of plus eight, while Jamaica and SVG ended with plus five.
However, Jamaica with seven goals for and two against was eliminated because they scored fewer than SVG's 10 for and five against.
Commenting on his team's failure to add to its four-goal first half tally against St. Lucia, Brown said they took their foot off the gas because they had another game in 48 hours time (Friday). But the other teams didn't take their foot off the gas. St. Lucia went on to lose 1-7 and 0-8 to Haiti and SVG respectively.
When asked if that move came back to haunt Jamaica, Brown emphatically answered "of course".