The Caribbean region breathed a sigh of relief yesterday (March 2) when Jamaica halted Guatemala 2-1 and Cuba drew with Honduras 1-1in the 2015 CONCACAF Under 17 Championship Group A preliminary game played in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the Estadio Francisco Morazán.
Jamaica in its first encounter against hosts Honduras lost 2-0 last Saturday (February 28) and were in no mood to take another loss so early again in this prestigious seasonal youth competition. The young Reggae Boyz were on the score sheet as early as in the 12th minute when Nathaniel Adamolekun converted a Peter Vassell corner into a goal that shot pass the Guatemalan custodian. In the 26th minute Guatemala drew level with a goal from John Mendez, who latched onto a through ball and fired home ending the first half 1-1.
At the start of the second half it was a ding dung battle as both teams settled down and worked hard for the clincher. However, in the 79th minute Jamaica’s Head Coach Andrew Edwards got a brilliant idea to substitute an injured Jahwani Hinds for a fresh footed Donavan Dawkins who did the honours in the 90th minute when he sent an Alex Marshall corner into the back of Guatemala’s net securing three points for Jamaica. An elated Head Coach Andrew Edwards had this to say at the end of the game, “First tick in the win column and we are very happy for that. It puts us in a very good position to advance our case for the World Cup coming up in Chile.
So we are very happy for that.” "In terms of the game we started quite well and were having total domination with a number of very good early chances.
Peter Vassell was impressive with his shooting from range; we had a couple of early corners that we didn't quite capitalise on. But on minute 13 we scored from a corner kick, Nathaniel getting his second goal in Jamaican colours that was very good for us," said Edwards. "But after that we got restless and started to play around with the ball and invited Guatemala to put pressure on us and eventually from one of those same plays we gifted possession to Guatemala and they punished us for it," he explained.
"All in all, we were very deserving of the victory, we had few close calls but we are happy for the victory," concluded Edwards. It was hosts Honduras who took the lead against Cuba in the 50th minute after a 0-0 first half with a goal from Foslyn Grant. Cuba dug deep and came back into the game netting in the 78th minute with a strike from Raycharles Herrera to draw level and share the spoils.
Five teams from the Caribbean are in contention for a place in the FIFA U 17 World Cup which is to be staged in Chile later this year. The teams are Cuba, Haiti, St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica while the teams from the other Confederations are Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, defending champions Mexico and hosts Honduras.
Only Jamaica has won a game from this group so far and Cuba drew its second game. Haiti scored first on Canada in their encounter but eventually lost 3-1 in the end. Games will continue today March 3 when Haiti faces Panama at 2:30pm, Mexico take on St Lucia at 5:00pm and Costa Rica encounters Canada at 7:30pm. There will be a rest day on Wednesday March 4.