Jamaica’s 2018 World Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread last night after the Reggae Boyz were battered 3-0 by hosts Costa Rica in San Jose. The defeat left Jamaica a poor third in CONCACAF semi-final round Group B. The Boyz are on four points, six behind early final round qualifiers Costa Rica and three short of Panama in second. In last night’s second match in the group Panama clipped Haiti 1-0. The Haitians have already been eliminated. They are at the bottom of the group with one point. Unlike last Friday’s clash between the two countries, Costa Rica started very fast and dominated the action in last night’s match. They went ahead as early as the seventh minute when Celso Borges sent a powerful header past Jamaica’s goalkeeper Andre Blake. Captain Bryan Ruiz made it 2-0 eight minutes before the break after he pounced on a rebound following a brilliant block by Blake. The hosts completed the scoring after a lightning attack down the right. Blake was in position to block the first shot but was helpless to prevent Johan Venegas from slotting home under his despairing dive in the 78th minute. With two goals for and six against – a goal difference of minus four – Jamaica’s Boyz will need big wins in their final two matches to have any hope of getting to the final round. Only the top two from each semi-final round group will advance to the final round of qualifying. Jamaica will travel to Panama for their next match on September 2 and anything but three points will see the Boyz crashing out of contention. The Reggae Boyz’s final match is against Haiti at the National Stadium on September 6.
BANGALORE, India (CMC):Chris Gayle’s batting failures continued as his Jamaica and West Indies teammate, AndrÈ Russell, upstaged him with an electrifying cameo to fire Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to an important win in the Indian Premier League here yesterday.Entering the run chase with KKR in a spot of bother at 69 for four in the 11th over – in pursuit of 186 for victory – the right-handed Russell reignited the innings with 39 off 24 balls as the visitors reached their target off the first ball of the final over.Yusuf Pathan finished on 60 not out off 29 deliveries, posting an invaluable 96 for the fifth wicket with Russell, who blasted a four and four sixes.Captain and opener Gautam Gambhir stroked 37 off 29 balls.The victory allowed KKR to move into second place on 10 points, ahead of Mumbai Indians, courtesy of a superior net run rate.Gujarat Lions remained clear at the top on 12 points.Sent in at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, RCB were powered by a joint top score of 52 from captain Virat Kohli and opener Lokesh Rahul, as they reached 185 for seven off their 20 overs.RUN OF LOW SCORESAustralian Shane Watson chimed in with 34, while the left-handed Gayle continued his run of low scores with seven.Subdued by Russell in the first over, Gayle seemed ready to explode when he struck South African seamer Morne Morkel straight overhead for six, off in the second over of the innings.Next ball, however, Gayle miscued a pull at a ball of shortish length and skied a catch to the wicketkeeper at eight for one.Gayle has scored eight runs in three innings for RCB this season and all told, has now failed to reach double figures in six consecutive innings since his hundred against England in the Twenty20 World Cup last March.Russell claimed one for 24 from four overs of pace, while West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine went wicketless from his four overs which cost 45 runs.
VOCAL 12TH MAN The answer? Easy. Place enough doubt in the minds of supporters of Portmore United as to whether the match would be played and force them to decide on the wisdom of spending scarce resources in attending a match at the other end of the island that might not take place at all! The result: sparse attendance by Portmore fans and a vocal and powerful 12th man that inspired local hero, Dino Williams, to score the 88th-minute goal that gave the home team the title. Few saw the strategy out of which victory evolved. I have no doubt that the wounded egos of the organisers and administrators of football in this country will guarantee that Mr Powell, and indeed, the team and fans of Montego Bay United, will be sanctioned. However, in my opinion, that will be a very small price to pay for the victory that occurred on Sunday night. To reach the final of the premier football competition in the island three years in a row and to win it twice is not an easy accomplishment. The architects of victory MUST be suitably and amply rewarded. In this regard, local footballers who STAY and play their football here (some eventually getting overseas contracts that improve their game) must be afforded the opportunity of playing for their country, a strategy that will enhance the importance of the local competition in the eyes of the paying public, instead of turning to so-called ‘Plastic’ Jamaicans, whose only allegiance to football in Jamaica is to play in the World Cup. To the Jamaica Football Federation, I say sanction Mr Orville Powell (and MBU) all you want, but understand that the ONLY way to improve local football and to get us back to the World Cup Finals is to invest in local footballers from the time they leave the Under-19 level and stop relying on ‘Plastic’ Jamaicans, who, once we are eliminated from World Cup Qualifying competition, are never heard from again, until …! Well done, MBU. Well done, rural Jamaica. There is indeed good football being played outside of the Corporate Area. Congratulations are in order for Montego Bay United (MBU), for their victory in Sunday’s final of the Red Stripe Premier League. The coach, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis, and the players deserve victory as they outplayed fellow finalists Portmore United on the field in wet conditions. But what about the input of the real leader of MBU, Orville Powell? In assessing his role in the victory of a franchise that has reached its third final in three years, I am reminded of a quote I read some years ago from a Chinese philosopher, who is best remembered for his book – The Art of War – where he writes about how to subdue the enemy without fighting. Sun Tzu said: “All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” After winning the competition in 2014 and losing in 2015, Mr Powell realised the importance of the ’12th man’ – the fan support in finals. He got a part of his wish when the administrators of the sport decided to have the final in Montego Bay, the home town of his team. What apparently irked him was the decision of the administrators and the sponsors to have the game played at 4 p.m. on Sunday WITHOUT any input from any member of the MBU hierarchy, who, presumably, knows some-thing about the likes and dislikes of their fans. Mr Powell’s attempts at having the time changed failed. So his Plan B seemed to include how to minimise the support of his adversaries.