It was Bob Marley who in his song “Three Little Birds” said “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright” words quite fitting on a night like tonight when Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz silenced a 30,000+ fan filled Azteca and more than 114,000,000 more Mexicans in and around that country. Ironically, the Reggae Boyz must have been celebrating Bob’s birthday today with the rest of the world and one wonders if the team used this occasion to spring a surprise in the football world.
Only a day ago I raised the question as to whether Captain Horace Burrell missed the mark in hiring Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore as Head Coach of the National Senior Football team. Additionally, in another forum, I, like many, questioned the selection process and the makeup of the team to face Mexico in our first Final Round World Cup Qualifying match in Mexico.
Well after tonight, I be dammed!!!
Whitmore gets another big result leading the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica as you would have known by this, held Mexico, El Tri, the #15 ranked team in the World to a goal less draw inside the Azteca. What a result this is for the Boyz who many feared were going to be trounced by their Central American rivals.
We thought that with the lack of preparation going into the match, that Jamaica would find the going rough in Mexico City. However, it was a professional, almost cohesive unit which graced the field in their gold strips and truth be told the final score at the end of the match could have easily been different.
Who said high altitude would bother us...if it was, well the Jamaicans were great at masking it.
But let us look at the match for a bit.
Jamaica starting with a wholly overseas based 11, in the 9th minute got easily the best chance of the game. A chance that had goal written all over it until McAnufF kicked his rebound into the path of the keeper while staring at an empty net. Credit must be given to McLeary who I thought played a superb game at right midfield. He played with flare and skill and was confident in his movement down the flank.
Barring that miss by McAnuff, he worked hard for the 96 minutes of the game and his efforts definitely helped us get that deserved point.
While the Mexicans were not their usual best inside their fortress, they did still have some shots at goal and it was an in form Donovan Ricketts who kept them at bay, with several superb stops. He to me was our man of the match.
Jermaine Taylor made Chicarito look an ordinary man on the night as he stuck to him like glue. It was clear that the team had a plan and stuck with it for the entire match; a feat not seen by many Jamaican teams in recent times.
The Boyz were patient and at times did keep possession of the football, making some savy looking passes in the process. However, we still had too many turnovers in the match. While this may have proved to be costly on other occasions, the Boyz could be pardoned for this based on their overall play.
We saw a decisive team, a no-nonsense defense who made their physical presence felt, literally, as Peralto found out late in the game.
However, while we celebrate and welcome the disciplined approach taken by Tappa and his men tonight, one cannot miss the fact that we could have come away easy 2-0 victors had we finished our 2 best chances, which ironically, were the best chances either team got for the entire match.
Jamaica no doubt needs a finisher.
Ryan Johnson looked timid in front of goal and as someone pointed out to me, his back was seemingly almost always turned to the goal.
We have cried for a creative midfielder and I think we have somewhat satisfied our hunger for creativity in our midfield with the likes of McCanuf, McCleary and even Omar Daley. But our strikers or lack thereof is a cause for concern.
The questions I ask are: Where is Darren Mattocks?
Where are our finishers?
While this is a good result we should be saddened, as none of the players who played tonight are locally based. Is this good for our football?
We definitely have more work to get done, but I think this is a great start, especially seeing that we got a point on the road to the #1 ranked team in CONCACAF.
Given the happenings in the other games of the round, we are still in touch after match day 1 and we do hope that our team builds on this result and let the other teams know that we will not be their beating stick this time around.
Team Jamaica to mi thing.
Haahahahah, a nung the bandwagon ago full up!!!
Again these are my few, now what say you?