By Devon Dick
I was impressed with the display of the Reggae Boyz in defeating Guatemala national football team 2-1 at the National Stadium. However, on my way home, I listened to the post-game review and I wondered if I had watched the same match as the commentators. One sports analyst even said that the Guatemala team could not beat our premier league team. I would not have commented on that, but it was repeated on a television sports programme last week.
It is a surprising comment because some persons were berating coach Theodore Whitmore before the match, stating that Guatemala had defeated Costa Rica while Jamaica lost twice to Panama. The argument was that momentum was with Guatemala. These analysts fail to recall that in this build-up, the Reggae Boyz had won more games than they lost. The Jamaican football team did not play well in the first half, save and except for the wonder strike by Demar Phillips. And after the second goal by Ryan Johnson, the Reggae Boyz started to play better. They were passing better and played with confidence. By playing possession football they were demoralising the opponents and also getting them tired. In addition, it prevented the opponents from getting opportunities to score. Jamaica could have scored six goals had it not been that the goalpost was hit twice and that the Guatemalan goalie made two great saves. During the regular 90 minutes of play, the defence was competent with Nyron Nosworthy and Adrian Mariappa being outstanding in front of goal. Rodolph Austin had some good shots on target. Dwayne Miller was super-cool in goal after replacing the injured captain Donovan Ricketts.
A good start
Those who did not think that the Reggae Boyz's winning result was not outstanding must be rethinking their position now that Guatemala held the mighty United States (US) to a 1-1 draw. It is not that Jamaica was excellent. I have seen better passing and the long ball was overused. However, it was a good start and they have four points after two matches, the same as US, and they have a clean sheet against Antigua, who scored against the US. We need to be fair in our analysis of the Reggae Boyz who had a good start.
I was, however, pleased with the balanced analysis of the netball team's first match against the South African team by the coach, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie. I attended the match at the National Indoor Sports Centre as guest of the South African High Commissioner Mathu Joyini. Jamaica won 63-48. The coach stated that her players looked winded; the defence needed more work, and I have seen slicker passing from the Sunshine Girls. The girls are a work in progress, but they will go places because the coach gave an accurate and detailed analysis after the first game. Jhaniele Fowler as goal shooter was outstanding. She also shows promise as a goal attack with her good defensive skills. The South African team changed the goalkeeper at half time, but that did not slow down Fowler and it is not surprising that the Sunshine Girls won.
The Sunshine Girls is the fourth-ranked team in the world among the approximately 100 countries who play the sport. The team has achieved much and is our top-ranked sports team and deserve fair treatment.
Let us support our Reggae Boyz and Sunshine Girls.
Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. Send comments to email@example.com.