Wednesday, 5 June 2013


I want to be as positive about this result as possible; that will be very difficult. Reason being, this is possibly one of the weakest Mexican teams I have ever seen. This Mexican team I saw at 'The Office' last night was NOT a dominant or strong team, it was a weak team that we allowed to steal 3 points at our yard, that is very disheartening. Apparently the long prayer Chicharito did just before the start of the game worked for Mexico.

The Reggae Boyz have injuries and players on what? Up until now I have not seen our strongest team on the field and I have put forward my suggestions on more than one occasion.

However, the strategy I saw the Reggae Boyz employ last night.........did I just write that? Strategy and Reggae Boyz in the same sentence? Well someone other than or along with Tappa was calling some shots, I think that may be Montesso. Somehow though I think we just lack that serious bite we need to injure these teams.

D Ricketts - As usual, did what was required
Marriappa - As usual, did what was required
D Gordon - Obviously played to instruction
                   (which is good, kept Chicharito in check for the most part)
Woodbine - I thought he played well,
                   I prefer him to Demar Phillips at that position
A Powell - Played well but his inexperience in the attacking third was
                  glaring (one for the future)
M Elloitt - Looked a little laboured during the game,
                 played below his best
G McCleary - The coaching staff does not know how to use this player;
                       he is being wasted
Austin - Clearly injured but gave his usual 110%
Hue - the maestro; I may have to revisit some of
          my previous utterances (work rate still low though)
Watson - a waste of my writing space
Johnson - bustling but not giving us what we need right now

Mattocks - I now see the indiscipline Burrell spoke of;
                  I can't use expletives here to describe his behaviour,
                  a total waste of a change
J Beckford - The coaching staff does not know how to use this player
K Daley - Did what was required

The brief reviews above highlight something very critical; we need a potent attacking force and the strategy to make them effective. As I keep saying in all my posts, you can see what our opponents are trying to do and they are trying to do this to the best of their ability. I saw more creativity from our Boyz last night, but 0.1 is also more than 0......if you get my point. I need to see our Boyz trying to constantly break down their opponents; for the entire game, not just in spurts.

Funny enough the team itself did not play badly, we are just not doing what is required. They need to embrace the Malcolm X mantra 'by any means necessary'. We don't seem hungry for that Rio 2014 space, I am just not getting that.

  • Drop Watson from the squad
  • Drop Mattocks from the squad - his attitude is hindering him and will hinder the team. His behaviour last night was akin to your mother telling you not to go outside so you behave like a spoilt brat in the house. There is no place for foolishness like this in a National setup.
  • Keep Woodbine and get him down the flanks, he seems very mobile and defends well.
  • Alvas Powell is a strong burly youngster, easy to mould. Obviously has the energy to get down the flanks as well, and he is a defender. Ball possession and skill needs improvement.
  • Bring back Lovel Palmer into the squad, he can be used in a number of positions effectively.
  • Give Jermaine Hue the second half and ask everything of him. Depending on the opponent you can give him the first half. He is a potent option just like Dos Santos of Mexico. Jermaine Hue walks too much on the pitch, his work rate needs a major injection of something (not steroids).
  • I need McCleary dribbling at defenders not away from them. He and Jermaine Hue can definitely form something potent. Hue's passing ability and McCleary's speed are not being put to good use.
  • Theo Robinson needs to see more playing time.
  • Has Sean Frazer retired? That utterance from Captain Burrell before our first Mexico encounter was not good. Sean was playing and scoring in Mexico; I don't care what division he was playing.
  • We are playing as if we are top of the table and trying to preserve a lead of some sort. We need to take risks and go forward confidently and with purpose.
  • Our coaching staff needs to know how to use the resources they have to the best of their ability. We are not doing that.
  • Ryan Johnson is an option at best right now, we are not getting what we need.
Attack with 4 people and support with 2. If the attack breaks down, start tackling from there. Beckford has height we are not using to our advantage. Squares should be coming in non-stop for him to knock down to advancing players, I don't see why we are not trying to do this (Ireland did this quite effectively with Nile Quinn). He should be the target of all corners and set plays, so what if the defending team reads the play, if done well they won't be able to do anything about it. I don't see the commitment in the attack, we are too timid going forward as if we are afraid the attack may break down. We are much too apprehensive going forward.

I don't see the triangles forming in our attack, we somehow lose sight of the objective when we are closing in on our attacking third of the field. If we are now looking to Jermaine Hue, I would love to see McCleary, Beckford, or Robinson at the end of his passes. We need to play to our strengths and not try to create something that we can't do effectively. I need McCleary to see more of the ball and make his presence felt. He has the build and needs to take on defenders more; I guarantee we will get scoring opportunities from set plays because he will be fouled.

The wingbacks can add a dimension to the team and we are not using them effectively in attack. I have been enquiring about the personnel required for that position and what I saw of Woodbine and Alvas Powell last night, they fit the bill to me. They just need the support behind them when they go forward.

Defensively we are not doing badly. Ricketts is the boss, and Mariappa is always dependable. We can't stop teams for 90 minutes from getting scoring chances, that's why we have a goalkeeper, and he is one of our greatest ever.

Long and short of it is that the buck stops with the coaching staff and that is the reality. In all other National teams and Clubs, the coaches take the heat when there is poor performance on the pitch; I don't see why it should be any different with our Reggae Boyz.

Mexico is now top of the group with the win against us. Had we won, we would have been second with Mexico at the bottom. Do we now see how important it was for us to win this match? Mexico did what they had to do. Their custodian also made three spectacular saves which contributed greatly to their victory.

The referee (Joel Aguilar of El Salvador) was superb, I don't think he made a bad call all match. He should be at the World Cup next year in my estimation. He handled the game well and was very fair. His support staff also from El Salvador were quite efficient; I was impressed.

The Reggae Boyz now have it all to do, and it will only get harder from here. We are without a win in 4 outings for this final round and unfortunately only scored one goal. We created chances in this game but too few and far between. We need to get things right NOW. Friday against the USA might just be the nail in the coffin if we don't. The Americans have scored 6 goals in their last two outings and frankly it doesn't matter that these were friendlies; they were scoring goals nonetheless. The Reggae Boyz have scored 2 goals in their last 7 outings in all competitions.


© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved

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All the commentary posted in this publication are my personal view(s) and do not reflect the view(s) of any Association, Federation or Governing Body.