Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Hallgrimsson gets passing grade

Published:Wednesday | March 29, 2023 | 1:37 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Andrew Price
Andrew Price

SOME LOCAL coaches are giving coach Heimir Hallgrimsson a lot of plaudits after the Reggae Boyz’s display against Mexico in the Azteca on Sunday, which earned them a 2-2 draw.

However, one coach, former national assistant, Bradley Stewart, was however far from impressed.

Stewart believes the Mexicans were never really troubled, though, to be fair, he says, the team needs a lot more time together if it is to develop a good understanding and truly be competitive internationally.

“Mexico has a tradition and history of being the best in Concacaf, and I am not saying that we didn’t come close (to winning). But we need to train hard and develop an understanding because every time we scored, they just scored back on us.

“They played a very relaxed game, knowing that if we scored they could always score back on us. I am less than impressed,” he commented.

He added it was naive of Hallgrimsson to believe he could waltz into the Azteca and get a win, something Jamaica has never done before, without serious time and preparation.

“We are playing without adequate preparation. There’s not enough time with the players or between players or between coaches and players for him to develop an intimate understanding of what the players are capable of.

“The reality is we are not prepared for serious international football. We do not have the team together long enough and we do not have the players consistently playing together, so it is going to take us some time to get to that level.”

However, former national assistant coach Donovan Duckie and Humble Lion coach Andrew Price said the team and coaching staff did well on the night.

Duckie thought the team was well organised between lines, although he thought there were times when there was too much space.

“Sometimes we allowed too much space between our (defence) last line and our (midfield) second line, against a Mexican team applying a lot of mobility.

“But the structure was good and we had a good line of confrontation,” he said.

Going forward, he said, the team must improve on its marking and tracking.

“Those two things bothered us. So while we were very organised, the Mexicans were able to break our lines using runners out of position.

“But I was impressed with our approach and you must give the coach a lot of credit,” he said.

Price said it was good team effort but believes they could have been more incisive in the final third.

“Going to the Azteca is always a challenging task. The team put in a decent shift. There were occasions where we kept the ball well, but we could’ve made some better decisions on our counterattacks. We had numerous breaks where better decision-making could have got us some more goals,” he said.

Like Stewart, Price believes the coach needs more time to get the team to gel.

There are some things I saw that are very encouraging. Now we need to play more internationals and get a core of players to depend on and a core of players we can look to perform.

“We defended stoutly throughout the game and credit must be given to the defence. This result will give a lot of belief to the players. So though we didn’t win, the result will be a good bit of tonic for the confidence of the team,” he pointed out.