Quest for Hockey 5s World Cup place begins
JAMAICA WILL begin their quest for a historic appearance in the Hockey 5s World Cup today when they open their Pan American Cup campaign at the Mona Hockey Field.
The Jamaican women will open against Trinidad and Tobago at 5 p.m. while the men will begin pool play against the United States at 7 p.m. The tournament opens with a women’s game between Paraguay and Costa Rica at 1 p.m.
Jamaica Hockey Federation President Fabian Stewart, while encountering funding challenges, hopes that hosting it will form the base to propel the country in this format of the sport.
“What we want to do and what we want to continue to do is to allow the benefits from hosting to be certainly derived from the games but also the strategic development of the plan,” Stewart said.
“People can see international hockey at a particular level, youngsters can see it and then try to work towards getting to that level of hockey which will then take us and propel us better in the region.”
It will be the first time Jamaica’s men’s and women’s teams will be competing in this format at the World Cup qualifying level. Technical Director Dr Michelle Holt noted improvements in adjusting to the new format for the women.
SEIZE THE MOMENT
While cautious about expectations given the sport’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Holt hopes Jamaica will be able to seize the moment as hosts to perform well.
“We are hoping that the Hockey 5s is a stimulus for us and give us a period of excitement for hockey that we can capitalise on, ride that momentum and keep on going. Immediately after is the CAC games,” Holt said.
“That is another opportunity to keep the sport in the news and keep the visibility and the excitement going so that come September and October and next year, we will have more momentum and try to get the sport back to where it should be.”
Meanwhile, men’s head coach Duvaughn Henlon is optimistic about Jamaica’s chances although noting the formidable challenge that the United States represents.
“Hockey5s hasn’t been played much in this region and it will be played for the first time in Jamaica. It will also be the first time we will be playing it as a World Cup qualifier. However, I would say that we stand a good chance against the teams. Outside of team USA, we should be able to compete well against everyone else,” Henlon said.
The Jamaican men are in Pool B with Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay while the women are in Pool A with Panama, Puerto Rico and the United States.