Gold Cup history awaits Reggae Boyz

WHEN Jamaica qualified for the final of the 2015 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, it was an accomplishment the nation had never experienced after the 1998 World Cup campaign.

Fast forward two years and our Boyz have managed to repeat that feat, this time dispatching rivals Mexico one nil to get there, the team that defeat us in that historic final two years ago.

The Jamaicans will face different opponents this time around- the United States of America.

Their last title came in 2013 where they defeated the Panamanians 1-0.

During the last tournament, the Reggae Boyz managed to pull off a memorable 2-1 victory over the Americans in the semi-final, a match which was most synonymous with a fantastic Giles Barnes free-kick.

Ironically, it was another superb semi-final free-kick that clinched our spot in the final, this time from the ever-impressive full-back Kemar 'Taxi' Lawrence who beautifully curled one in the far left-hand corner of the Mexican goalkeeper's net.

Not only was it a wonderful display of tactics by Tappa and his Boyz but it was the perseverance and determination to defeat a giant in CONCACAF football that became the theme throughout the match. There was relentless pressure from the midfield to retain possession of the ball and both forwards, Darren Mattocks and Romario Williams, worked extremely hard in making sure the Mexican defenders had less time playing out from the back.

What stood out most however, was the celebration, or lack thereof, when Lawrence curled the ball into the back of the net.

What followed was described by the match commentator as “one of the most professional acts in football.” Instead of running off in utter euphoria, the team rallied together in a circle and bowed their heads in what seemed to be a short whisper of prayer before getting back up and proceeding to complete the last two minutes plus stoppage time. The act was praised by many and further displayed the unity within the team.

Given the fact that we did defeat the United States in the previous tournament, the optimistic Jamaican within us, will think that another such identical score line is once again possible.

However, without complacency and with the same attitude that we played with against the Mexicans there should be nothing stopping us in winning our first ever Gold Cup title. Coach Whitmore and the team has one more test to complete and if they pass, the stigma that we need players of a different background than our local based, born and bred Jamaican players can be forever washed away.

History awaits.



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