Jamaica Gleaner / After an impressive 6-0 win over Panama in their opening 2017 Caribbean and Central American (CAC) Games hockey qualifiers at the JN Hockey Field yesterday, Jamaica assistant coach Odane Williams warned his side not to get complacent, as they may just have played what he considers the “weakest” team in the tournament.
However, he is confident that if they iron out their faults quickly, there is no reason they cannot win the tournament.
“Based on how they (team) performed, I would tell them, don’t get complacent. This could be the weakest team in the tournament, and we have to make sure final details are ironed out, so that when we meet a team that is equal, we do not falter on quality,” he said.
The top two in each category (male and female) will advance to the 23rd CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, next year. Nicholas Beach netted a hat-trick against Panama. Kemar Mitchell fired Jamaica ahead after nine minutes before Duvaughn Henlon made it 2-0 on 22 minutes.
Beach netted his first on 34 minutes, then moments after the break, he capped off an excellent build-up to put the hosts 4-0 up. He then sealed his third from a penalty on 45 minutes before Charles Burton rounded off the scoring in the 58th minute.
“The score was below what we predicted based on the knowledge we have on the team,” Williams said.
“But I can’t complain, because a win is a win. There are grey areas we need to iron. We need to pressure early and maintain the form throughout. But we only got about 75 per cent of what we wanted, and that’s why we only scored six. But the team chemistry, the effort they are putting out, and the instructions are being adhered to. But that transition for the first 15 minutes is something we need to work on,” he reasoned.
The Jamaican men are next in action when they face Puerto Rico today at 10.30 a.m., before rounding off against Guatemala (Thursday) and Guyana (Saturday). The top two teams will meet in Sunday’s final.
“The team is fully motivated and very disciplined. Pundits predict Guyana and Jamaica will be in the final. I go along with the predictions because Guyana seem to be one of the fitter teams and could give us a challenge leading up to the final. But we are fully motivated and are here to win, and we don’t intend to lose on home turf,” he added.
In the earlier game on the day, at the same venue, Guyana thumped Puerto Rico 4-1.