Editorial

Don't give up on the Reggae Boyz

Saturday, March 30, 2013    

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After Tuesday night's World Cup qualifying loss to Costa Rica, we are not surprised that the Reggae Boyz are being criticised by Jamaicans who really wish well for the team.

After all, optimism about the senior national team's chances of qualifying for the 2014 finals in Brazil escalated after their historic draw against Mexico in the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, much feared because of the impact of its high altitude on the unaccustomed.

In fact, that optimism followed the Boyz into their home game against Panama on March 22, and was heightened even further when the Jamaicans took the lead with a goal in the 22nd minute.

However, as we all now know, the Panamanians drew level in the 65th minute and the match ended in a disappointing draw.

Jamaica are now on two points from three games, while the leaders, Panama, are on five points. With seven more qualifying games to go -- four of which are at home -- Jamaica, we believe, still have a good chance of making it to Brazil.

What is important is for the team to take maximum points at home and, at the very least, secure a point from each of the three away games.

Just as important is for the Boyz to find the right chemistry in time for those games. For it is clear that with the recent addition of the England-based players the Reggae Boyz are still yet to gel as a unit.

That is why the exhibition game between the Boyz and English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur on May 23 in The Bahamas is so important. For that match will, no doubt, provide an opportunity for the team to correct flaws that were most evident in the last two qualifiers.

It is clear from the comments of team members after the Costa Rica loss that they are fully aware of what needs to be done.

"I think we have the ability to do much better. We have things we need to sort out and get back on the right track, and I think we have time to do it," Mr Donovan Ricketts, the team captain, told our Sport Editor Mr Ian Burnett.

Mr Jermaine Johnson's view was that the team "need to look at ourselves and come again and just try to recover for the next game".

Mr Marvin Elliott, the goalscorer against Panama, was even more positive, as he told us: "We are definitely in with a chance, and the reason why we are so disappointed is that we know we are better than we are showing."

That the team have not been afraid to be critical of their performance is indeed refreshing. We also expect that the coach, Mr Theodore Whitmore, will be equally candid about his team selection and make adjustments that will realise the cohesiveness that is needed.

All that said, we wish the Reggae Boyz the best going forward and appeal to fans not give up on them. For Brand Jamaica stands to benefit from their qualification.

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