DONOVAN RICKETTS
DONOVAN RICKETTS

Reggae Boyz suffer setback in bid to qualify for World Cup

By Admin Wednesday April 03 2013 in Sports
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Jamaica’s bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup soccer finals in Brazil suffered a setback last week following a 2-0 loss in Costa Rica.

 

The Reggae Boyz fell behind in the 22nd minute and never posed a serious threat to the Costa Ricans, who sealed the match eight minutes before full time.

 

Veteran goalkeeper, Donovan Ricketts, was not pleased with the team’s performance.

 

“I think we have the ability to do much better,” he said. “We have things we need to sort out and get back on the right track and I think we have time to do it.”

 

The Reggae Boyz are at the bottom of the table in the final round of regional qualifiers after holding Mexico to a goalless draw at the Azteca stadium and Panama to a 1-1 tie at home.

 

The qualifying round resumes on June 4 with Jamaica facing Mexico at the National Stadium. The Reggae Boyz will also host the United States three days later at the same venue.

 

Panama leads the group with five points, followed by Costa Rica, the United States and Honduras, who are tied with four. Mexico has three points after three ties, while Jamaica is in the cellar with two.

 

The top three teams will advance to the World Cup finals, while the fourth-place team will play a home and away series against the Oceania winner.

 

In the African qualifying tournament, Egypt maintained its perfect record in its group with a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe last week. Guinea is in second place in the group followed by Mozambique and the Zimbabweans.

 

Other group leaders are Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Congo, Cameroon, Senegal, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria and Malawi.

 

A total of four teams are competing in 10 groups.

 

The group winners will play five home and away series with the winners of each tie advancing to Brazil.

 

The African qualifying competition resumes in June.

 

Meanwhile, Namibia’s coach has quit after his team’s 1-0 loss to Malawi late last month.

 

“The time has come to part ways because I failed in my mission to qualify the team for both the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup,” said outgoing coach, Bernard Kaanjuka.

 

In his 18 months on the job, Namibia won four of 15 matches under Kaanjuka.

 

Namibia is third in its group behind co-leaders, Nigeria and Malawi.

 

And Egypt clinched its fourth African Under-20 title last Saturday with a 5-4 penalty kicks victory over three-time winners Ghana in the final in Algeria. The two teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of extra time. In the playoff for third place, six-time champions Nigeria defeated Mali 2-1.

 

Ghana, Egypt, Mali and Nigeria will represent Africa in this year’s Under-20 World Cup tournament in Turkey from June 21 to July 13.

 

As the continent’s champions, Egypt is grouped with Chile, England and Iraq. Ghana, the 2009 world champions, is in Group “A” with France, the United States and Spain, while Nigeria is in the same bracket with Cuba, Korea Republic and two-time winners, Portugal.

 

Host country Turkey is in Group “C” with El Salvador, Colombia and Australia while Uruguay, Croatia, Uzbekistan and New Zealand are in Group “F”.

 

A total of 24 teams will participate in the tournament that starts with the Korea Republic meeting Cuba.

 

RON FANFAIR

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