Jamaica Coach Tastes Defeat In Inaugural Home Match To T&T
Reggae Boyz narrowly ousted by youthful Caribbean rivals FIFA-ranked 40 places below them
Heimir Hallgrimsson’s first home game ended in a slender 1-0 reversal inside the Montego Bay Sports Complex yesterday, but the Jamaica head coach will get a second shot at Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.
It took a second-half strike from substitute Reon Moore, shortly after the hour mark, to divide the teams in what was a surprisingly tepid encounter.
Forced to field a weak second string side presented Hallgrimsson with the perfect opportunity to rue his eye over potential future talent, including 17-year-old striker Dujuan “Whisper” Richards. In contrast Trinidad and Tobago, ranked 40 places behind FIFA no.64 Jamaica, were able to bring near enough their strongest yet youthful squad for these two friendlies.
Yet it was the hosts who came closest to breaking the deadline on 28 minutes, only for Omari Hutchinson to fluff his chance. The ball arrived at his feet from a flick-on, but he tried to pick out a team-mate rather than shoot at the back post.
Richards, the Kingston College and Phoenix All-Stars Football Academy ace who had just signed a pre-contract with Chelsea, made a second-half appearance but was man-marked out of the game.
His future EPL team-mate Hutchinson showed more confidence with the ball after the turnaround, only to send his best chance to score narrowly wide of the target — just before the Soca Warriors scored what proved to be the winner.
Second-half sub Moore cut inside from the left before unleashing the ball past keeper Kemar Foster at his near post on 67 minutes.
The Soca Warriors held off any danger to snuff out the Boyz to register their fifth victory on the bounce for head coach Angus Eve, who is rebuilding the team. He said: “Trinidad & Tobago [football] has been in the doldrums. For us to come here and grind out a victory is tremendous.”
Hallgrimsson, named last year as head coach had watched the Boyz hold 2022 World Cup-bound Cameroon 1-1 in November, but on a less than perfect pitch at Catherine Hall this was a completely different ball game.
He admitted: “All coaches like to win matches, but we didn’t deserve to lose as it was their first attack in the second half. From there, it was more panic than quality.
“They [Trinidad & Tobago] have been training together, so you could see that they have a plan and stuck to it — they were more synchronised. We’ll improve a lot of things and we’ll take some positives from this game.”
The Boyz, who are on a 15-game run without a clean sheet, complete their double-header against the Soca Warriors at Kingston’s National Stadium on 14 March seeking a vast improvement.
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