Caribbean footballers record wins in Unified Cup
Jamaica's Ellis Guscott (left) shoots to score past Madalin Mihordea of Romania during their Unified Cup match at Schoolcraft College in Michigan on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Photo: Collin Reid courtesy of Digicel Foundation and Courts)

CARIBBEAN footballers had a good day in at the Special Olympics Unified Cup in Michigan after both the male and female teams came away with victories.

The Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) male team beat Romania 3-0 at Schoolcraft College in Tuesday's early session before recording a similar victory over Saudia Arabia in the afternoon.

Ellis Guscott, Ashanie Kennedy and Dillion Richards scored against Romania. Richards, Guscott and Joel Palmer got the goals for the Jamaicans against the Saudia team.

The Jamaicans had already registered a 4-0 win over Paraguay on Monday's opening day of competition.

The Caribbean female team, featuring players from Aruba, Haiti, The Bahamas and Jamaica, rebounded from a 0-7 loss to Guatemala on Monday to defeat Namibia 2-1 on Tuesday at The Corner Ballpark.

Aaliyah Treleven scored both goals for the Caribbean females while Okeri Haakuria found the net for Namibia.

In their other match on Monday, the Caribbean girls had ended 0-0 against Slovakia.

"It was a good day all round for us," said Fadil Lee, assistant coach of Jamaica's male team.

"It was a professional display from the boys, who executed as directed. In the second game we could have been a little better but there was nothing to set off any alarm bell," he told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

"We are looking forward to the final group game on Thursday against Singapore. We hope to explore new tactics, given we've already qualified for the next phase as group winners," Lee added.

At the inaugural Unified Football Cup hosted in Chicago in 2018, Jamaica's male team had an impressive run en route to losing 0-1 to France in the division two final.

The unified sports programme, a focus of the Special Olympics movement, combines people with intellectual disabilities and those without disabilities in training and competition.

Through sport activities and competition, the Special Olympics International movement aims to break down barriers that exclude people with intellectual disabilities, such as autism and Down's syndrome, from mainstream society.

— Sanjay Myers

Sanjay Myers

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