Sports Editor's Diary

L. D. Roberts
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

CONCACAF tourney

IT IS A GOOD thing that the recently completed Caribbean round of the CONCACAF Championships (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Associations), did not call for return matches, as from every indication, if this were so, the sereis might not have been compeleted; what with the atrocious conduct of certain players, and the uncontrollable Jamaica spectators.

Haiti, until their matches against the Netherlands Antilles and Jamaica, had built up a happy relationship with local fans, but certainly lost admirers by their sudden turn of unsportsmanship when the tide seemed to be against them in the decisive match with Jamaica. Mark you, it is a basic requirement of every competitor to approach any event with the will to win, but nevertheless, the fact that one finds victory seemingly difficult or evasive, is not an excuse for ungentlemanly conduct on the field.

But the ironic thing about the unfortunate incident when Haitian goalkeeper Manoyrine raced from his goal to assault a Jamaican defender, was that his team had just netted the lone goal of the match a few minutes from the end. The referee correctly ordered him off the field, but it eventually took some strong-arm action by his team officials and team-mates to get him on the sideline.

UNDER the rules of the competition the maximum penalty for an offence of this sort is suspension from three international matches, which is what the Disciplinary Committee imposed on Manoyrine.

There are a lot of thing for Jamaica to learn from the tournament. And to me one which need to be put forward more than anything else, is that our spectators should come to the realisation that their contributions to stoppages of play by unruly behavior can have an adverse effect on their team.

I am thoroughly convinced that the stoppage in the second half, when a couple of bottles were thrown on the field, must have temporarily put off our players and interrupted their concentration and rhythm of play.

For if ever a team deserved to win a match then it was the Jamaica XI which faced Haiti at the National Stadium on Saturday, January 21. For the entire 90 minutes (I should say 81½ minutes), Jamaica were the masters; but although they ripped into Haiti's defence relentlessly, they could not find the back of the net, due to excellent goalkeeping my Manoyrine.

One the question of Trinidadian referee Len Jardine allowing only 81½ minutes of play, I thing the JFF officials, who must have been aware of it before the match was blown off, should have made some effort to let the referee know that they were aware of how many minutes were lost due to various stoppages. Maybe if that had been done he would not have taken the chance of calling off the match before time.

But one pleasant and refreshing aspect of the Championships is that even with the justified accusation that Jamaicans did not adequately support the matches in which their team was not competing, there was such overwhelming support for the games involving Jamaica that the overall tour showed a profit of £3,500. And the profit will quite rightly be distributed equally among the teams—Haiti, Trinidad, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles and Cuba, getting £700 each.