Waite Guides Jamaica To success In Antigua
Interim head coach maintains unbeaten record with Reggae Boyz
Jerome Waite, thrown in at the deep end as Jamaica’s interim head coach, saw off hosts Antigua & Barbuda 2-0 on Sunday evening thanks to strikes from Peter-Lee Vassel and Fabian Reid.
Waite, assistant coach to head coach Theodore Whitmore who has now resolved his differences over an improved contract with the JFF, followed up Thursday’s thumping 3-1 win over St. Kitts & Barbuda with another friendly triumph.
The opening exchanges proved uninspiring as the Jamaica side, comprising island-only players, took time to gel.
It took until the half-hour mark for the Boyz to make any impact at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound. Midfielder Jamiel Hardware’s effort from the edge of the area was clumsily parried by home keeper Brentton Mohammed, and although Chevone Marsh was swift to follow up he was deemed offside.
Antigua & Barbuda, who earlier this year held the Boyz 1-1 in Kingston, looked dangerous at times with sharp forwards Peter Byers and Tamorley Thomas appearing to be a threat.
But resilient Jamaica dealt with everything thrown at them and fully deserved their lead two minutes before half-time. Hardware picked out Vassell with a neat ball across the box for the Harbour View 19-year-old midfielder to tap in.
After the turnaround the Boyz powered forward and moved up a few gears to dominate.
Reid missed a glorious chance to double the lead on 56 minutes following intricate play from right back Javain Brown, the 26-year-old scuppered the close-range opportunity despite an open goalmouth.
But Arnett Gardens midfielder Reid made amends within a minute, confidently chipping Mohammed to put the Boyz into cruise control.
And the Boyz came close to adding a third, Alex Marshall’s shot from the edge of the area denied by the upright on the hour-mark.
The hosts were left chasing shadows and frustration boiled over with defender Vashami Allen brandished a straight red card for his dangerous lunge – with his studs showing – on Ladale Richie on 77 minutes.
On the strength of these back-to-back victories the Jamaica Football Federation may be kicking themselves that they buckled to the financial demands of stalwart Whitmore. Should they require a replacement for the former Reggae Boyz ace, then Waite and his assistant Donovan Duckie would surely be in with a shot as they managed to get the best out of the Jamaica-based squad.
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