Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were held to a 1-1 draw by Costa Rica in their key CONCACAF semi-final round FIFA World Cup qualifier inside the National Stadium last night. Goals in either half by Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson and Costa Rica’s Johnny Acosta has left things interestingly poised in the group. The Jamaicans grabbed a deserved lead in the 16th minute after midfielder Watson went low to meet a teasing Kemar Lawrence cross at the back post, sending his header in the opposite direction. They could have been 2-0 up just before half time, but Clayton Donaldson could not make contact with a low cross by Joel McAnuff as the hosts looked comfortable in possession, while enjoying the better chances. Earlier, McAnuff missed one of several Jamaican opportunities as he wasted a glorious chance to send the Jamaicans ahead in the 8th minute, after he was found unmarked at the back-post after a flicked header, which came from a long throw by full back Lawrence. HALF-CHANCES The visitors ended the first half with a couple half-chances themselves, but were not able to break the Jamaican backline. They did, however, get the breakthrough in the 67th minute when Johnny Acosta latched on to a rebound to make it 1-1 after Joel Campbell’s shot was well saved by Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. Both teams traded chances but neither could add to the scoreline, leaving the Jamaicans to deal with another disappointing result in front of their home crowd. The Jamaicans now sit on four points with the Costa Ricans improving to seven points. Haiti and Panama played out a 0-0 draw in the group’s other game. The Jamaicans will travel to Costa Rica where both teams will meet again on Tuesday.
Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), says Jamaica’s 86-medal haul at the recent Carifta Games comes as no surprise.Jamaica equalled their record medal haul from the previous year, winning a whopping 42 gold, 28 silver and 16 bronze.They also broke three field events and one track record in the process.Blake was present at the welcome-home press conference held inside the VIP Lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday.”The future really looks very good; the assign athletes have performed really well, and as usual, we have topped the medal table yet again and in terms of our overall medal performance, this is one of our better performances,” said the president, adding that the dominance at CARIFTA is now routine.”It shows that people respect our brand and value the training that we give to our athletes and that as you see year in, year out quite a number of athletes from other territories come to Jamaica to benefit from the training that is offered here, not just the physical training, but the mental training as well, and I think it’s something very good for us here in Jamaica and for the Caribbean,” he pointed out.When asked if it was a concern that no Jamaican athlete was selected for the Austin Sealy Award for the best young athlete of the championships, he said he was a little surprised.”This year, I was a little surprised at the choice of the athlete. This is not to take anything away from the winner because the winner really did very well in breaking Kashawn Walcott’s javelin record, but we had people who broke records as well and won more than one gold, so that is something that we will be bringing up and speaking to NACAC (North America Central America Caribbean Association) about,” Blake told The Gleaner.Grenada’s Anderson Peters was presented the Austin Sealy award at the 45th Carifta Games as the most outstanding athlete. The host country’s athlete produced a winning throw of 78.28m on the second round on Saturday.The last Jamaican to win the award was Yohan Blake in 2007.