Sport

Reggae Boyz head off to defend Caribbean Cup title

Monday, June 19, 2017

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Head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore has named 11 local-based players to his squad, as Jamaica's Reggae Boyz seek to defend their Scotiabank CFU Men's Caribbean Cup title in Martinique June 22-25.

The other nine players in the 20-man suqad have been pulled from the US leagues, and at least two — goalkeeper Dwayne Miller of Sweden's Syrianska FC, and utility Kevon Lambert with links to Serbia's FC Vojvodina — are joining the group from Europe.

Jamaica's delegation departs the island this morning in two groups, as it makes its way to the eastern Caribbean. The main group is expected to travel through Miami, while the smaller zig-zags to Turks and Caicos Islands, then the Dominican Republic, and then ont o Martinique. Both groups are expected to arrive to their final destination tomorrow, with lengthly layovers scheduled.

In a new format, the championship round of the Caribbean Cup will be played on a semi-final basis, with only four teams invovled as opposed to the eight that did battle in the last tournament.

Jamaica will take on French Guiana in the opener on Thursday at the Stade Pierre Aliker in Martinique's capital of Fort-de-France at 6:00 pm (5:00 pm Jamaica time), while Curacao will tackle hosts Martinique at 8:30 pm (7:30 pm Jamaica time).

The loser of match one will face the loser of match two on Sunday for third place, while the two winners will clash for championship honours to bring the curtains down on the double-header.

All four teams have qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, July 7-26.

Whitmore had promised a mixed group of Jamaican players, and he appears to have delivered it.

“It will be a balanced set (of players) and one which can bring home glory at the end of the day,” he told the Jamaica Observer last week.

The former Jamaica standout, who expressed dissatisfaction with the team's delivery in a 1-3 friendly defeat at the hands of hosts Peru last Tuesday, said as defending champions of the regional crown “there will be pressure” to repeat.

“We are the defending champions and everybody is looking forward to playing against a Jamaica team, just like how we are looking to play against everybody… we just have to keep our composure and keep our heads,” Whitmore noted.

Th Boyz had won the title, their sixth, when they defeated arch-rivals Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors 4-3 on penalties, after both teams had played goalless following regulation and extra time in the final played at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on November 18, 2014.

Squad — Dwayne Miller (Syrianska FC), Damion Hyatt (Arnett Gardens FC), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View FC), Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay United), Oniel Fisher (Seattle Sounders), Sergio Campbell (Pittsburgh Riverhounds), Jamie Richardson (UWI FC), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steele), Michael Binns (Portmore United), Shaun Francis (San Jose Earthquakes), Jermaine Johnson (Tivoli Gardens FC), Kevon Lambert (FC Vojvodina), Shamar Nicholson (Boys' Town FC), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United), Javain Brown (Harbour View FC), Shaun Genus (Reno FC), Junior Flemmings (NY Red Bulls 11), Owayne Gordon (Montego Bay United).

— Sean Williams

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