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Friday, June 18, 2021

‘Jamaica aren’t any darkish horses’ | Sports activities

Concacaf President Victor Montagliani says Jamaica has a practical probability of successful the Gold Cup event this summer season.

The Reggae Boyz misplaced to Mexico 3-1 within the 2015 last beneath then head coach Winfried Schäfer. Then a 2-1 loss to the USA of America (USA) two years later noticed them end as runners-up as soon as extra. That was beneath present head coach Theodore Whitmore.

The workforce then exited the event on the semi-final stage in 2019.

With the subsequent staging of the Gold Cup set for July, Jamaica, now ranked third in Concacaf and forty fifth on this planet, are thought-about by many as outsiders to win the event, behind favourites Mexico and USA, however Montagliani doesn’t see the Reggae Boyz as mere darkish horses.

“To not me, not the Concacaf president,” Montagliani advised The Gleaner in an unique interview. “I believe Jamaica has an excellent coach. I’m a giant fan of the coach. He’s accomplished an amazing job.

“Optimistically, he ought to’ve gained a type of two Gold Cup finals. In considered one of them (towards the USA), they have been the higher workforce, simply sadly, (Goalkeeper Andre) Blake bought harm, which didn’t assist.”

Montagliani has been aware of the modifications happening within the nationwide workforce, with the Jamaica Soccer Federation aggressively scouting England-based gamers to strengthen the squad forward of the Gold Cup and FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September.

“Jamaica, to me, is considered one of our prime groups,” he stated. “Hear, any of our prime groups can win the Gold Cup. In fact, you recognize Mexico shall be sturdy, and the US shall be sturdy, however I don’t see Jamaica as being second fiddle to anyone. I believe they’ve the expertise, I believe they’ve the coach, and I believe in the event that they apply themselves, as they’ve in the previous few Gold Cups, there’s no motive why they’ll’t be again within the last as a result of I believe they’ve the gamers.

“The gamers now which might be being interested in play for Jamaica, I believe their expertise stage has elevated much more than it was within the final two Gold Cups. If they arrive collectively, I’ve no motive to suppose that they’ll’t be one of many favourites. And I believe the angle ought to be that by Jamaica as a result of they should have that angle.”

Concacaf additionally introduced yesterday that preliminary-round matches within the Gold Cup will happen at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

South Florida is understood for its massive demographic of Hispanic and West Indian expatriates, which the regional governing physique may even see as advantageous as it’s trying to have followers at video games this summer season. However Montagliani admits that it is dependent upon the speed of COVID-19 vaccination happening within the space main as much as the competitors.

“I’m assured we could have followers,” he stated. “Now we have to work with the native authorities on [working out] precisely what the proportion of the stadium we will promote tickets for as a result of that’s a little bit of a transferring goal. We’re sitting right here in April, and these video games are performed in July, and the speed of vaccination within the US, particularly Florida, is sort of excessive, and I’m assured we shall be in a great place to have a big quantity of followers on the stadium, however we’ll work with the authorities alongside the way in which.”

As of April 7, 11.1 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Florida, with 4.11 million individuals, or 19.1 per cent of the inhabitants, being totally vaccinated.

Jamaica have been positioned in Group C of the Gold Cup with Costa Rica and Suriname and the winner of preliminary match eight.

rachid.parchment@gleanerjm.com

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