Sports

Coach Waite wants more from Reggae Boyz

BY IAN BURNETT
Sport editor

Monday, October 14, 2019

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Reggae Boyz Assistant Coach Jerome Waite has claimed that Jamaica's labourious 2-0 victory over Aruba on Saturday was due partly to the opposition's vastly inferior quality, coupled with his players' inability to maintain a high standard regardless.

The Concacaf Nations League Group C of League B action played in front of approximately 4,000 spectators inside National Stadium saw Devon Williams give the Reggae Boyz a 13th-minute lead. Shamar Nicholson made the result safe two minutes from the end, despite skying a wild effort from the penalty spot in the 77th minute.

Victory left Jamaica firmly on top of the group with maximum nine points, after scoring 6-0 and 4-0 victories over Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana, respectively, in earlier games.

The Jamaicans were scheduled to depart the island via charter yesterday for Curacao, where they will engage the 195th-ranked Fifa side in the return round tomorrow.

“Congrats to the team, we won 2-0 and it could have been better, but we looked definitely a bit lacklustre, and one of the things I believe attributed towards it is the fact that the opposition really didn't have anything to offer, so we went into that super slow gear,” Waite said at a post-game press conference on Saturday.

“This is not what we are capable of doing and when we play better opposition we have a tendency to rise above expectation, but despite that they (players) have to understand that it is a job at hand and it is their duty to continue to do what they need to do which is to perform at the best of their ability.”

Aruba are rooted firmly at the foot of the four-team points standing without a point, after 1-2 and 0-1 defeats to Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana, respectively.

With such a poor record it was no surprise when the visitors set out their stall in an ultra-defensive manner from the opening whistle, surrendering more than half of the pitch to the home team.

Their goalkeeping Captain Eric Abdul admitted that being the underdogs their plan was simply to make life as difficult as possible for the Reggae Boyz.

“When you come to play Jamaica you got to enjoy it and not just come here and give yourself away and tell them, 'go and help yourself,' but we gave everything we had,” he told the media.

“We were the underdogs, but we didn't show it on the pitch; we showed that we can give a battle with a team that is highly ranked.”

And he promises much of the same when the two meet again tomorrow.

“Although this is our third loss we are coming off two games, where we were pretty good but we are not effective in front of goal. We need to score our goals and in a few days we are going to do the same thing that we did today, what can we change?”

He was also displeased with the fact that Aruba have been playing their games away from home. “I would say it is a big disappointment to play all our home games away and not having that support from the island to back us up. Like the coach said, we fought like lions and our last two games we were the better team but we were just not finishing,” he lamented.

Midfielder Williams, who scored his first senior Reggae Boyz goal to give Jamaica the lead, readily admitted his team's below-par performance on the day.

“To be honest, we are not pleased at all with our performance despite the scoreline. We weren't moving off the ball properly, we weren't passing, moving and keeping it simple, and you have to be hard if you want to be better so that's where I'm at.”

Now he says the team is going to get as much rest as possible ahead of the return game on Tuesday, and hopefully some of the reserves will get rotated into the starting 11.

Nicholson, who made the game safe late on, had experienced a bad day at the office, losing a lot of his first touches and badly missing a penalty late in the second half, and he preferred to take away the positives, the three points.

“It wasn't our best game but the result is more important and we got through with the result. It was a short period of preparation but at least we showed some positive signs,” he said.

As it regards to the penalty miss, he was calm.

“When I missed the penalty I just kept my focus and told myself that I have to get one [goal] and I got one,” he explained.

Another player who had a below-par performance was Dever Orgill, who missed a sitter at the back post in the first half and was duly withdrawn on the hour mark.

“As a footballer sometimes you have some bad days and it is not necessarily that something caused that. It wasn't one of our best games but this is not the biggest point, the most important thing is how we get back from that and putting the positives in the worst negatives right now.”

Waite also believed that the players who came in for the absent Bobby Lewis and Leon Bailey missed an opportunity to stake a claim for themselves.

“If you observe the last two games and the tempo of those players, they are fully professionals players and they weren't here today, but the fact that other players were given the opportunity they need to ensure that the coaching staff's job becomes more difficult and they have to understand that their performance must be the utmost at all times.

However, he was impressed with Clarendon College schoolboy star Lamar Walker, who replaced an ineffective Alex Marshall in the 67th minute.

“Pretty much very talented, he's one for the future and what he displayed is that he has some level of quality,” Waite offered.


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