Associated Press / Michael Wyke
Haiti forward Sherly Jeudy, left, advances and Panama midfielder Aldrith Quintero (10) defend as they both kick the ball at the same time during the second half of a CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying soccer match Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Houston.
The Caribbean teams, which contested the just-concluded CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying (WOQ) for places in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics not only left the tournment empty-handed, but the only time the teams scored goals was when there was no chance of going ahead.
Led by Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz which catapulted into this Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football tournament following a sterling performance by playing undefeated in a pre-qualification competition in 2018 among 16 Caribbean teams, the other two regional teams which made it into the playoff were Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The qualifying tournament, which ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 09, was meant to select the top two teams that will go to the Tokyo Olympics.
These Caribbean teams took on Central American and North American sides in their quest for a place at the summer games.
The USA beat Canada 3-0 Sunday to CONCACAF champions while both teams qualified for the Olympics.
The dismal Caribbean showing has perhaps sent a message that the region’s girls are far from ready for that level of soccer.
Jamaica, the top dog among regional minnows, beat St. Kitts 7-0, and that was the only time the Girlz scored. But it was Haiti who had the most impressive victory by beating, Panama, a non-Caribbean team, 6-0.
These two victories for the Caribbean girls were in the third round after they lost their first and second round matches, which gave them no chance of getting to the final.
The dismal reading of the Caribbean score sheet showed Haiti losing to the USA 0-4; to Costa Rica 0-2; and beating Panama 6-0.
Jamaica lost 0-1 to Mexico; 0-9 to Canada; and beat St. Kitts 7-0.
St. Kitts, a fast-rising football nation in both the men’s and women’s game, lost 0-11 to Canada; 0-6 to Mexico; and 0-7 to Jamaica.
A post-tournament issue to lookout for is what will be the fate of the Reggae Girlz temporary coach, Hubert Busby Jr.
The Jamaica Football Federation had given him this temporary appointment and made clear that the Girlz’ performance will be a tester of his ability to permanently lead them.
The redeeming factor for Busby Jr may be consideration of the troubled camp over which he had become temporary coach.
Since the Girlz blazed their way into this tournament, they were beset by several issues, largest of all being a stabbing incident that took the life of star mid-fielder, Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke. Then there were pay disputes that caused the Girlz to threaten not to play; and another that saw departure of head coach Hue Menzies, who had led them to their first World Cup in France last year.
Updated 5:04 pm, February 11, 2020
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