Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz’ winless streak continues against experimental Africans about to tackle Qatar 2022
Justin McMaster marked his Jamaica debut by finding the back of the net to guide the depleted Reggae Boyz to a creditable 1-1 stalemate against World Cup-bound Cameroon yesterday.
The Minnesota United forward bagged an overdue goal for the Boyz inside the vastly empty Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, but the hosts fought back with Djawal Kaiber notching an equaliser.
Jamaica head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was forced to call upon a combination of island-based players and those who ply their trade in North America for the friendly.
Having tackled Argentina and been totally outplayed by the South Americans, this was a totally different ball game for the Boyz.
Cameroon head coach Rigobert Song was also down to his bare bones of stars, but did involve a few players who will compete at Qatar 2022 in their penultimate warm-up before the lucrative winter tournament.
The Indomitable Lions have looked shaky since qualifying for the World Cup finals, but against the Boyz were solid at the back although failed to cause much of a threat upfront.
Hallgrimsson, looking to unearth raw talent, would have been disappointed by their slow start that allowed Cameroon to control the pace of the game.
Once the Boyz stuck to their guns with Hallgrimsson’s tactics midway through the opening half, the contest breathed into much-needed life.
India-based Jourdain Fletcher was a livewire and fearlessly tried to score on 28 minutes, but his ambitious free-kick sailed over the target. Fletcher’s effort before half-time was the nearest the contest came to breaking the deadline, only for the defence to be swift to snuff out the danger and the ball easily caught by shot-stopper Marcelin Mbahbi.
Yet it proved to be third time lucky for plucky McMaster, who brilliantly beat the keeper in a one-on-one opportunity on the hour-mark that he neatly tucked away.
Once the Boyz were ahead they bizarrely took their foot off the pedal and there were a couple of substitutions thrown on to test their talent level, so it seemed a question of time as to when Cameroon would level matters.
Jamaica’s advantage lasted just 14 minutes with a fortunate strike from Kailber, whose shot deflected off the leg of Kevon Lambert and past keeper Jahmali Waite to level matters.
The final quarter-of-an-hour was far from spectacular, with Hallgrimsson making three more changes as the match petered out.
Jamaica have managed just one victory, a Nations League win over Suriname, in eight outings since they signed off their dismal CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 success over Honduras in Kingston.
The Boyz will be able to bring their A-team out to battle against Mexico when they kick off next year’s Nations League in March, which allows Hallgrimsson plenty of time to scour for some true talents to put Jamaica back on the international football map.
JAMAICA: Waite – Brown, Lowe (King, 67), Topey, Thomas (Howell, 79) – McMaster (Wrayton Phillips, 67), Lambert, Harvey – Fletcher (Murray, 86), McGregor (Vincent Stewart, 46), Walker (Atkinson, 77). Sub: Foster
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