Young Reggae Boyz Whimper Out Of Olympic Qualifiers
Daley goal not enough against spirited St. Kitts & Nevis
Donovan Duckie’s dream of guiding Jamaica to the Olympic Games was shattered after they were held 1-1 by St. Kitts & Nevis in Kingston on Sunday.
Head coach Duckie, who had seen his U23 side surprisingly held last week by minnows Dominica in their opening Olympic qualifier, needed to defeat St. Kitts & Nevis to progress further.
But Geovannie Lake scored for the visitors after 56 minutes, which cancelled out Jamaica’s strike on the verge of the half-time whistle from Nicque Daley at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
With Guyana having withdrawn from Group A before a ball was kicked, Jamaica’s young Reggae Boyz had only two matches to negotiate but failed to win either.
And this was despite the generous Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) injection of J$3.5m sponsorship to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in March, which amply covered the salaries of both Duckie and assistant coach Merron Gordon.
No doubt there will be calls for new coaching staff to tackle the 2024 Olympic Qualifying campaign, especially as the Boyz had a splattering of players who this month reached the CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final stage.
Dominica failed to build on their shock point claimed against Jamaica, and were torn apart by St. Kitts & Nevis on Friday. Lake bagged a first-half brace, with Yohannes Mitchum and substitute Tyquan Terrell also on target in their opener.
It was a different story for spirited St. Kitts & Nevis against the Boyz, who initially took the bull by the horns and made the breakthrough courtesy of Daley on 45 minutes. The 18-year-old Charleston Battery striker bagging his second goal in the qualifiers, having been on target against Dominica as a substitute.
And Jamaica confidently entered the half-time interval with their slender lead to show for their endeavours.
But 11 minutes after the turnaround the body blow of Lake’s equaliser knocked the stuffing out of the Boyz, who defended admirably but never really looked likely to turn over the slick St. Kitts & Nevis outfit.
The Boyz, who kicked off qualifying for 2020 Tokyo as overwhelming favourites to top the Caribbean Group A, whimpered out of the prestigious tournament with Duckie defending himself by stating that the Olympics are the toughest competition for a football team to qualify for.
So whether Duckie gets another shot with the Boyz remains to be seen.
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