Local coaches, Rudolph Speid of Cavalier and Omar Edwards of Tivoli Gardens gave Theodore Whitmore the thumbs up for getting his tactics spot on in their 2-1 win over Canada in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Thursday. The Reggae Boyz defeated Canada with goals from Shaun Francis and Romario Williams to book their semi-final spot and Edwards thought Withmore’s approach was ‘ideal’. “I must give the team credit for their improved performance. We managed two very good goals while conceding one. We kept our defensive shape and organisation for majority of the game, and the players are growing in confidence as the tournament progress,” Edwards said. “We won the game very early and the players and coaching staff recognised that. So keeping the team discipline and keeping the players behind the ball was the ideal thing to do. We are very quick and sharp upfront and we managed to launch a few counter attacks, which worked for us quite well, so there was no need for us to use the last 20 minutes to go out and play a high press game when we were already leading the game 2-1. “So I think the entire coaching staff has done extremely well, in regards to getting the players to stay behind the ball and launch counter-attacks,” he said. Speid was also very complimentary to Whitmore and the team, even though he thinks the players lack experience. “The team did well to take the two nil lead. The goals were two brilliant goals, but after we scored I don’t think we played with any composure and that is because of the immaturity of a lot of the players because a lot of them don’t have a lot of caps, so they didn’t know how to pass out the game and they kept kicking back the ball to the Canadians. “But I think the tactics was right. After we scored I think we held on, not looking good holding on because the Canadians got a couple of chances that they should have done better with, but they played the right way against Canada and I believe the level of confidence the players are gaining, it is possible for us to get a positive result against Mexico,” Speid added.
Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) President Handel Lamey feels no pressure from moves by representatives of various clubs in Kingston lobbying for a vote of no confidence against him and members of his executive. It was expected that a second vote of no confidence, since last December, would have been lodged against Lamey, treasurer Florence Williams and secretary Lavinia McClure, at Wednesday evening’s council meeting. However, this was not the case, although council members brought up their concerns in the three-and-a-half-hour long meeting. Lamey said that the sign of a good leader is one who does not yield to pressure. “When we are called to positions of leadership, we have to exhibit all the qualities of good leadership, namely: being able to direct and motivate the people around you. Secondly, if there are issues – deal with the issues. We have certain issues presently in the organisation. The problems that we have are not insurmountable, they’re all solvable. We have to come together and decide to work together. The problem is, in the past, there have been seeds of discord and disunity sewn. We, as an organisation, have not functioned according to our rules, regulations and our constitution.” FEELING DISRESPECTED The Gleaner obtained a copy of a document sent to ASAJ saying that on August 23, the Y Speedos Swim Club and Swimaz Aquatic Swim Club had requested a special general meeting with the body to have motions of no confidence against the three members tabled and voted on. Blue Seals Swim Club head coach Cleon Stewart had also confirmed that this document had been sent and no response had been received from ASAJ, leaving the clubs feeling disrespected. “One of the major things that we are experiencing, I think, is a lack of respect when issues are raised,” he said. “For instance, we sent an email for a critical thing to be dealt with and he (Lamey) basically ignored it. That’s one of the major things.” The document also showed that the clubs are disappointed that ASAJ had lost the sponsorship of Wisynco for the last two stagings of the Walter Rogers Age Group Championships. This, the document says, is because of what it describes as Lamey’s “negligence to follow up in a timely manner with the Wisynco Group regarding continuation of this sponsorship”. Lamey said that the most pressing issue brought up, was actually preparations for the 2018 Carifta Games which take place in Jamaica from April 1 to 4. Although Lamey denied that the matter of a no-confidence vote and issues regarding sponsorship were discussed in Wednesday’s meeting, a source told The Gleaner that both issues were actually raised, with Lamey moving for a vote to censor council members from speaking with sponsors and members of the media about council affairs without ASAJ’s permission. [email protected]
Coach of Excelsior High’s netball team, Christopher Smart, has warned his rivals that the defending champions will be difficult to dethrone in this year’s ISSA senior urban schoolgirls competition. “We have lost 50 per cent of last year’s winning team, but we have good replacements, and we are much stronger this time around,” Smart said in a recent interview with The Gleaner. The competition begins today, and the defending champions were slated to play their first match on Friday, but with the late withdrawal of Denham Town High, they will not open their account until next Wednesday, when they play away to Campion College. Excelsior have lost Kimberly Hudson, Quanah Richards and Demona Davis, who have moved on to local tertiary institutions, but the three have been replaced by experienced players from other high schools according to Smart. “Racquet Davis, of St Hugh’s, is one of our new players who I think is a big plus for us along with another big-name player from a top team whose name I will not disclose now but these two players along the others from last year, have really made us much stronger,” he added. According to Smart who tasted success in his first year at the school, the biggest challenges in his group will come from former champions St Hugh’s High and St Andrew High. “Both teams are expected to be our main challengers in the group, but we will be playing them late in the season, and by that time, our new players would have gelled well in the team, so that should make a big difference,” Smart said. With the late withdrawal of some teams, there has been a few changes to the original schedule. Last year’s beaten senior finalists and junior champions, Gaynstead, will open their account in a Group F fixture at home today at 2:30p.m. Both the senior and junior teams will go up against Penwood High.
Argentina coach calls up Aguero Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has called up Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero for two friendly matches in November and again left out Gonzalo Higuain. Argentina travel to Moscow to face World Cup hosts Russia on November 10 and then face another team yet to be decided. Sampaoli left Juventus striker Higuain out since he took over in June. Higuain has scored 32 goals in 69 games for the national side. “It is up for us to analyse Higuain to see whether he will go the World Cup or not,” Sampaoli said. Aguero has been in fine form for City this season, scoring six league goals in as many games. A bone fracture that kept him out of the last two World Cup qualifiers, against Peru and Ecuador. Muguruza is WTA’s Player of the Year Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is the WTA Player of the Year, and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens is the Comeback Player of the Year. The women’s tennis tour announced the annual honours yesterday. The awards are voted on by members of the media. Other recipients include French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as Most Improved Player, CiCi Bellis as Newcomer of the Year, and Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan as Doubles Team of the Year. Muguruza beat Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final in July for her second Grand Slam title, then moved up to No. 1 in the rankings for the first time in September. Lin has knee surgery, will miss rest of the season The Brooklyn Nets say Jeremy Lin has had surgery repair a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the season. The procedure was performed yesterday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The team says the surgery was successful and Lin is expected to make a full recovery. Lin was hurt Wednesday during the Nets’ first game of the season when he landed hard after a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter of a 140-131 loss to Indiana.
We’re one day into the greatest show on Earth, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and what an opening game it was, with three players on the score sheet and all of five goals from opening hosts, Russia. The favourites are the usual suspects, one of the seeded teams of Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, or Belgium, and, of course, Holland and Italy fans are left with no one to cheer for this time around. Of the tournament favourites, I pick Brazil to win this World Cup merely on their perfect form over the last two years, their relative ease in qualifying from a tough South American cohort, and their strength in attack and defence thanks to Tite’s masterly management. I fell in love with Brazil because of their attacking flair, but the World Cup winners over the years have actually won on account of their defensive abilities, typically conceding four or fewer goals on their seven-match run to the title. As with most tournaments across any sport, it’s really the solid defensive work that decides a favourable outcome. Now, there are a few players that must be looking to stamp their class and take their place in football history based on a solid standout performance in this World Cup. It is still football’s biggest stage, and fans are hungry for something different. Maybe it’s just me, but the conversations around Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are getting as old as those footballers themselves, and we’re looking for a new hero. Until his untimely and unfortunate injury in the Champions League Final, we all hailed Egypt’s Mohamed Salah as possibly the next big thing in global football, but without the squad to go all the way, and with fitness concerns since the May 26 collision with Ramos, Salah is not likely to make a great impact in Russia. I believe all eyes are back on Neymar, the likely heir to the football throne. It’s time for the world’s most expensive player and football’s millennial superstar to claim his place as the new quintessential figure in football. I suspect it was specifically to shine the light solely upon himself, and not in the shadow of Messi, that propelled him to leave Barcelona to begin with. He has to complete that transformation before other potentially dominant figures in football mount a convincing challenge. Neymar is possibly the hungriest player in Russia. Having watched Brazil lose the 2014 World Cup semi-final at home to Germany, sidelined by injury, Neymar must have revenge on his mind. It must have been devastating. This is his best shot at glory. Neymar also has fresh legs and may not face the mental fatigue that other players who went for all nine months of their domestic seasons may face. He has been back in fine form in the recent friendlies, and with his pace and creativity, he should cause issues for opponents that’s if they don’t frustrate him defensively. Neymar is also chasing history as he is now tied with Romario on 55 goals apiece for Brazil. This is third on that illustrious nation’s all-time scoring list. At just 26 years old, he must be thinking of surpassing Ronaldo’s 62 and PelÈ’s 77. Eight goals in this World Cup, four better than he did in 2014, is unlikely but not improbable. Neymar has the team capable and ready to possibly take Brazil to an unprecedented sixth hold on the World Cup, exactly 60 years after PelÈ did that twice. The pressure is on, but most champions relish pressure! One Love. Appearances – 85 Goals -55 Height – 1.75m Number – 10 Age – 26 – Tanya Lee is a Caribbean sports marketer, author and publicist.
Even though injury has eliminated Commonwealth and national champion Ronald Levy, Jamaica sends forth a strong crew of hurdlers in Toronto. Hansle Parchment, 110 metre hurdles medal winner at the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games, should handle the Americans Devon Allen and World Indoor runner-up Jarrett Eaton, while 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams is in for a catfight in the women’s 100-metre variant. Though Williams has set a personal best of 12.48 seconds this season, she may need to improve to beat world record-holder Kendra Harrison and Queen Harrison, who won the Pan-Am gold in Toronto three years ago. Harrison has run 12.36 this year. Janieve Russell, Jamaica’s Commonwealth champion, is the most consistent entrant in the 400 metre hurdles and could edge the American who succeeded her as World Junior champion in 2014, Shamier Little. World Cup triple jump queen Shanieka Ricketts faces Tori Franklin, who has a 23 centimetre margin over the Jamaican this year. Other medals could come from inform 100 metre sprinter Tyquendo Tracey, 400 metre ace Demish Gaye, CAC 400 metre hurdles runner-up Annsert Whyte and Jamaica’s teams in the 4×100 and 4×400 metre relays. In 2015, when the Canadian city of Toronto hosted the Pan-American Games, Jamaica won 3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals in track and field. When Toronto opens its doors this week for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships, the returns should be even better. Armed with 2015 Pan-Am winners Fedrick Dacres and O’Dayne Richards and a strong women’s team, Jamaica could gather as many as 15 medals. Dacres has shrugged off a knee injury to continue a fine 2018 campaign in the discus. World leader at 69.67 metres, he faces the American pair of Mason Finley, who edged him out of the medals at the 2017 World Championships, and Reggie Jagers, training partner at Kent State University of Jamaica’s Commonwealth shot put winner Danielle Thomas-Dodd. Richards returns to Toronto just after leading fellow Jamaican Ashinia Miller to a shot one-two at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia. Now closer to her best form, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is perhaps the 100-metre favourite, despite the presence of Commonwealth champion Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago and American Jenna Prandini. That field also includes Jonielle Smith of Jamaica and Ahye’s young compatriot Khalifa St Fort, who, like double World Junior champion Briana Williams of Jamaica, is coached by 1997 World 200m champion Ato Boldon. Smith and St Fort placed first and second at the CAC Games. Commonwealth runner-up Shericka Jackson squares off against Prandini in the 200m. Jackson has the edge on time – 22.05 to 22.18 seconds. Stephenie-Ann McPherson is the fastest in the field at 400 metres this year, but Courtney Okolo of the USA, the World Indoor champion, has a faster personal best, 49.71 to 49.92 seconds. A fine field will face the starter in the women’s 800 metres, with improving Natoya Goule of Jamaica and the fast American duo of World bronze winner Ajee Wilson and Raeven Rogers contending for the win as well. All three got quick clockings in the Monaco Diamond League race – a national-record 1 minute 56.15 for Goule, 1.56.45 for Wilson and 1.57.69 for Rogers. Kemoy Campbell has run 13 minutes 23.73 seconds in the 5000m this season and will be in the mix in Toronto. INJURY
GREAT SEASON Lennox Graham, the coach of former world champion Danielle Williams and world number three in the 400m hurdles Kyron McMaster, believes it was the endless days and nights he spent at Kingston College (KC) as a coach that has made him into one of the in demand hurdles coaches in the world today. The Clemson University sprint and hurdles coach guided ‘The Purples’ to six of their 31 Boys Champs titles, and he believes it was those formative years as a coach at 2A North Street why athletes and coaches regard him as a hurdles guru. “A lot of people would see it now, but obviously it started a long time ago from my days as a coach at KC. We used to stay down there till two in the morning sometimes, and it continued with Leford Green, Shermaine Williams, Rosemarie Carty and Samantha Elliot at Johnson C Smith University,” Graham explained. “It is a learning experience every year. I have learned to be patient and tweak new things each year. For example, Danielle, she has been with me for seven years now and every year we have to find a way to get her faster over the hurdles.” In his last year in charge of KC, Graham swept all the hurdles events in the boys’ category at Champs. But it was his work with the Williams sisters, Green and McMaster, who represents the British Virgin Island, which has thrust him into the spotlight as the go-to man for the hurdles. Williams and McMaster are enjoying one of the best seasons of their careers. Having won titles at the Commonwealth Games, Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) and North America, Central America and Caribbean Championships (NACAC), McMaster registered the third fastest 400m hurdles times in the world this year with his 47.54 seconds effort. Williams, who finished second in the 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games and NACAC Championships, also ran a lifetime best this year with 12.48 seconds. Their exploits over the past few seasons have caught the eyes of many hurdlers, who want to be under the tutelage of Graham. “I am focused on Clemson right now, so I don’t want my group to get too big,” Graham said. NUGENT JOINS TRAINING Recently, Olympian Leah Nugent announced that she will be joining Graham and his group when training for the 2019 athletics season begins in the fall. “We (Graham) connected well in 2016 at the Rio Olympics. I like his coaching style, and I believe I will be able to reach the goals that I have set with him,” said Nugent, who underlined the importance of this change, considering the upcoming cycle of global athletics events. According to Graham, his objective for his growing elite group remains to maximise their potentials. “What is at the forefront of my mind whoever comes in front of me, I try to get the best out of them,” Graham said.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP): Karim Benzema scored twice to lead Real Madrid over Leganes 4-1 in the Spanish league yesterday, including one goal awarded by an overrule from the video assistant referee. At 1-1 in the 48th minute and with Leganes holding their own, Benzema skilfully headed in an out-swerving cross from Marco Asensio despite tussling with defender Jonathan Silva. In real time, referee Jaime Latre called a foul on Benzema that annulled the goal. But after consulting the VAR monitor on the sideline, Latre reversed his decision upon seeing Silva fell only after he grabbed on to Benzema’s arm. Following the wait that lasted around half a minute, Benzema was embraced by his teammates at the midfield circle. “It is true that the goal celebration is somewhat muted (after the wait), but I have always said that I am in favour of (the VAR) because it was a goal that had been disallowed,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. “I am sure that one day it will be our turn to be on the other end of things, but it is positive.” Gareth Bale scored the opener for Madrid by volleying in a headed pass from Dani Carvajal. Visitors Leganes equalised on their first attack to reach Madrid’s area in the 24th. Guido Carrillo’s penalty beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on his debut with Madrid. Benzema scored an exquisite second goal to make it 3-1 after working a one-two with Luka Modric. Ramos rounded off the rout with a penalty after Asensio was clumsily cut down by Unai Bustinza. NOT MISSING RONALDO For years, Benzema and Bale interchanged parts as second and third fiddles to Cristiano Ronaldo. And after Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in Serie A, many Madrid fans thought the club would miss its top scorer. So far, the team has done more than fine without the Portugal captain thanks to the fine form of Benzema and Bale. Benzema has five goals in four matches, while Bale has picked up where he left off last season with three goals. Led by their two forwards, Madrid have won all three league matches. Barcelona can match Madrid with three victories if they win at promoted Huesca today.
USA Gymnastics is turning to bankruptcy in an attempt to ensure its survival. The embattled organisation filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Wednesday in an effort to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces and to avoid its potential demise at the hands of the US Olympic Committee. USA Gymnastics filed the petition in Indianapolis, where it is based. It faces 100 lawsuits representing over 350 athletes in various courts across the country who blame the group for failing to supervise Larry Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them. Nassar, 55, worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. He is serving effective life sentences for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. Kathryn Carson, the recently elected chairwoman of USA Gymnastics’ board of directors, said the organisation’s goal is to speed things up after mediation attempts failed to gain traction. “Those discussions were not moving at any pace,” Carson said. “We as a board felt this was a critical imperative and decided to take this action.” The filing does not affect the amount of money available to victims, which would come from previously purchased insurance coverage, she said. Carson said the insurance companies “are aware we’re taking this action and our expectation is they will come to the table and pay on our coverage”. Carson added: “This is not a liquidation. This is a reorganisation.” John Manly, an attorney representing dozens of women who have pending lawsuits against USA Gymnastics, chastised the organisation for continuing to “inflict unimaginable pain on survivors” and encouraged law enforcement officials to “redouble” their investigative efforts. “Today’s bankruptcy filing by USA Gymnastics was the inevitable result of the inability of this organisation to meet its core responsibility of protecting its athlete members from abuse,” Manly said in a statement. “The leadership of USA Gymnastics has proven itself to be both morally and financially bankrupt.” USA Gymnastics insists that’s not the case, stressing that the filing is based on legal expediency, not fiscal distress. While Carson acknowledged that sponsorship is down since the first women came forward against Nassar in the fall of 2016, she described the financial condition of USA Gymnastics as “stable”. USA Gymnastics reported assets in a range of US$50 million to US$100 million and a similar range of liabilities, with 1,000 to 5,000 creditors.
DUBAI, UAE (CMC): Reigning champions West Indies have qualified automatically for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. The Caribbean side booked their spot by virtue of their current seventh place in the ICC T20 rankings at year end, with the top eight teams, including hosts Australia, all securing their places at the showpiece. Minnows Afghanistan, coached by Trinidadian and former West Indies head coach Phil Simmons, also qualified directly by virtue of their eighth place in the rankings. Former champions and three-time finalists Sri Lanka, ranked ninth, and Bangladesh, 10th, will have to go through the group stage of the tournament with six other qualifiers in order to make the Super 12s. Six teams from the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier later this year will join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the group stage, with four qualifying to the Super 12 stage. West Indies won the T20 World Cup for the second time back in 2016 when they beat England in a dramatic final in Kolkata. Since then, their form has been erratic, however. In 2017, they won six of 11 matches and last year managed a mere two wins in 13 outings while losing to Pakistan and India in 3-0 clean sweeps. For the Windies, the news of their direct qualification will be welcomed, especially after the disappointment of missing out on a direct route to the ICC 50-overs World Cup in England next May. They were forced to go through a 10-team qualifier in Zimbabwe last March in order to book their place at an event they have won twice. Top-ranked Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are the other automatic qualifiers for next year’s T20 World Cup from October 18 to November 15.