Ricketts pleased with Reggae Boyz Gold Cup progress
“I think so far things have gone well and would have gone as planned"Saturday, July 24, 2021
BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
DALLAS, United States — Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts says he is pleased with how the Concacaf Gold Cup campaign has unfolded to this point.
Still, he is hoping for greater things down the road.
So far, the Reggae Boyz have successfully navigated the group stage of the tournament by finishing second in Group C behind Costa Rica.
Following wins over Suriname (2-0) and Guadeloupe (2-1) and a 0-1 loss to Costa Rica, the Jamaicans have booked their berth in the quarter-finals with six points.
Costa Rica, meantime, topped the zone with maximum nine points, having also defeated Guadeloupe (3-1) and Suriname (2-1).
Suriname ended third on three points after their 2-1 win over fellow eliminated outfit Guadeloupe.
The Reggae Boyz are now bracing for their quarter-final clash with the United States at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington on Sunday.
In the opening contest of the double-headers, Costa Rica tackle another North American outfit in Canada.
Ricketts says he and the federation are satisfied that the Boyz remain on course, despite the loss to Los Ticos on Tuesday night.
“I must express my delight and must congratulate the coaching staff and the technical team. I think so far things have gone well and would have gone as planned, so from here on we just want to stay positive, keep on getting good results as the aim is to get to the final, and then see what happens on the day of August 1,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.
“We have the USA on Sunday (tomorrow) and hopefully we will get past them. I honestly think we have the machinery and the players to do so.”
Even though the Boyz could not secure the win against Costa Rica in a command performance, the JFF boss was happy with the improved showing, which could be seen as a catalyst of things to come.
“I was most impressed with the game against Costa Rica, albeit that we lost, but I think it might have been the best of the three games. We would now want to transfer that kind of play into the next game, but, of course, we need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal and show a bit more composure and we could very well move on from Sunday and into the semi-finals,” said Ricketts.
The former Clarendon FA president shared that the JFF is pursuing twin goals in this football cycle — to win the Gold Cup and qualify for Qatar 2022.
They are indeed ambitious goals, but achievements, Ricketts believes, would have a deep and far-reaching impact on a nation suffocating from the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Firstly, it would be an historic exercise as we have never won the Gold Cup, but we have been to the final twice. And to win the Gold Cup would be a feather in the cap of this administration of the federation.”
“And as you know Jamaicans have been strangled and depressed by this pandemic that we really would like to use football to give them something to smile about, this would no doubt touch the social fabric of the nation to win the Gold Cup and qualify for the World Cup,” Ricketts asserted.
But if he could only have one, the JFF head honcho would take World Cup qualification.
“We would love to have both, but the World Cup is really the bigger picture, and this starts September 2 when we travel to Mexico, and then host Panama on September 5,” he said, referring to the Octagonal of the Concacaf World Cup qualification.
Ricketts, who is in his fourth year as president of the JFF, admitted that the positive COVID-19 test result of a player was a scare for his administration.
“What I was really scared of is the possible inoculation of other members and thank God that didn't happen.
“The player has been retested [multiple times] and has been negative and has been permitted to rejoin the party. I am very happy with how that had unfolded,” he noted.
Ricketts praised the internal team for its proactive approach in addressing the virus situation.
“We were proactive, and our medical team was prepared to deal with it, and they executed well. I think it was very well managed, hence there was a handle on the whole thing, and we were able to keep it [COVID-19] to just that one player,” Ricketts concluded.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login