Jamaican central defender Damion Lowe and Egyptian club Al-Ittihad Alexandria have officially parted ways after both parties agreed to terminate his contract.

The 28-year-old Lowe joined the club on a free transfer on a two-year deal in November 2020 after a short stint with Phoenix Rising in the United Soccer League (USL) came to an end.

Since joining the club, Lowe has made 32 appearances over one-and-a-half seasons, scoring two goals while helping the team to nine clean sheets.

Lowe started his professional career with Reading United in USL League Two in 2013 before getting drafted by MLS outfit Seattle Sounders a year later.

During his time with the Sounders, he was loaned out to Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Minnesota United before moving on to Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2017.

He then got his first taste of European club football with Norwegian club IK Start from 2017-2020.

After terminating his contract with Start, he returned to Phoenix Rising in September 2020 then moved to Al-Ittihad of Alexandria in November that same year.

MLS team Inter Miami CF is likely Lowe’s next destination based on reports that he has undergone a medical with them.

 

 

 General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, has welcomed the implementation of Video Assistant Replay (VAR), which will be used for the final six games of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.

Prior to this, Concacaf was one of only three nations not making use of the technology, alongside AFCON (Africa) and Oceania, and were hampered in their efforts to do so by not only technological restrictions but also due to a lack of certified officials.  With both issues rectified since the start of the year, the way is now clear for the replay system to be implemented.

In its absence, the competition has been plagued by what some believe to be high-profile refereeing errors.  Against the United States with the game tied at 1-1, Jamaica defender Damion Lowe’s header, which flew into the net 7 minutes from time, was controversially ruled out for what appeared to be very little contact with US defender Walker Zimmerman.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

With the country well behind on points in their pursuit of three and a half qualification spots, three points instead of one could have made a huge difference.  Wint hopes that in the future such costly errors can be avoided.

“I think it (decisions like that) is one of the major reasons CONCACAF decided to implement it.  It is really important to get the major decisions right,” Wint said of the upcoming technology upgrade.

There have of course also been times when the technology may have gone against the country notably when Lowe was himself yellow carded for a last-ditch challenge on USA player Brenden Aaronson, although the call might have been marginal at best.

“I’m all for it.  If you have the technology, then why not use it.  You can’t have it both ways, at times it may slow the game down, but it is important to try and arrive at the correct decision.”

The Reggae Boyz, who are currently in 6th place in the eight-team standings and 7 points behind the final qualifying spot, will resume their qualification campaign against Mexico on January 27th.  

 

 

 

Preparations are advancing for the Video Assistant Replay (VAR) replay system to be installed at Jamaica’s National Stadium, with a site visit expected to take place early next week.

Production and audiovisual company MediaPro, which is already in charge of broadcasting all Concacaf events, will be responsible for implementing the technology in Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.  The other four venues, which do not have the technology installed.

The move follows up on the decision by CONCACAF to implement VAR for the region in September, but the move was held up not only by logistical considerations but also by adequately certified officials.

In recent weeks, however, football’s world governing body FIFA has accredited referees, as well as VAR assistants and managers.  Prior to that, only the United States, Mexico, and Canada had VAR officials as they were the only ones to make use of the technology in their various leagues.

Implementing the technology in Jamaica will incur an added expense as the equipment will have to be flown to the island before being installed at the country’s national stadium.  The other CONCACAF venues taking part in the Octagonal round, which do not have yet the technology, can be accessed via roadways.  The majority of the bill will be picked up by Concacaf.  Jamaica will resume World Cup qualification action against Mexico, at the National Stadium, on January 27th.

Jamaica’s four-man Bobsled team ended 2021 on a high after securing a medal at the North American Cup in Lake Placid, New York.

The team consisting of Shanwayne Stephens, Ashley Watson, Rolando Reid, and Matthew Wekpe got a time of 1:52.87 to finish seventh overall in the Four-Man Bobsled on December 20.

Stephens and Watson also teamed up to finish seventh overall in the Two-Man Bobsled with a time of 1:55.70 on December 15.

Watson, who is also completing his Master’s degree in Physiotherapy, reacted to the achievement on his Instagram page.

“Great way to end our last races of the year with my first ever medal in Bobsleigh. It’s been a long, hard emotional first half of the season. It has been worth the three-plus months graft to have an opportunity to reach the Olympic Games,” he said.

Watson also expressed gratitude to the support staff for the team.

“I’m very proud of the team and hugely thankful for the sponsors, coaches, physio, and people working behind the scenes,” he added.

He says the team will take some time to rest before resuming the season next year.

“Now to go home for a short period to rest before the second half of the season and hopefully the Olympics,” Watson said.

 

Cole Bassett scored a last-gasp winner on debut as the United States capped a strong 2021 with a 1-0 friendly win over 10-man Bosnia-Herzegovina in Carson on Saturday.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Bassett, 20, swooped on a rebound to break the deadlock in the 89th minute, with Bosnia goalkeeper Nikola Cetkovic unable to hold Jonathan Gomez's effort.

The result extends USA's unbeaten run to four games and makes it 17 wins in the calendar year in their final fixture of 2021.

The visitors had been reduced to 10 men in the 40th minute when Amar Begic was given a straight red card from a hard challenge on Kellyn Acosta.

Jordan Morris had come closest to opening the scoring in the first half, with a header brilliantly saved by Cetkovic with his outstretched leg in the 31st minute.

USA head coach Gregg Berhalter had selected a largely domestic-based squad, with the likes of Weston McKennie, Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic unavailable.

Several Caribbean athletes were on show as the NCAA Indoor Track & Field season continued at the Kansas State Winter Invitational on December 11.

Bahamian Kyle Alcine, competing for Kansas State, won the high jump with a clearance of 2.05m.

Alcine, the silver medallist at the NACAC Under 23 Championships in Costa Rica earlier this year, finished ahead of Kansas State teammate Kamyren Garrett who also cleared 2.05 metres and Kaleb Clark of William Carey jumped 1.95 for third.

 Guyana’s Chantoba Bright, also representing Kansas State, was also a winner at the meet soaring out to 13.31 metres to win the triple jump.

Bright, who won a silver medal in the same event at the recently concluded Pan Am Junior Championships in Colombia, finished ahead of Allanah Lee of Oklahoma who jumped out to 12.28m and Nevagant Jones of William Carey who was third with 11.77m.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Fredricka McKenzie, competing for William Carey University, was second in the Women’s 60 metres in 7.52.

McKenzie is a former Edwin Allen High School student who narrowly missed out on an individual medal at Jamaica’s Boys and Girls High School Track & Field Championships or “Champs” on two separate occasions. She was fourth in the Girls Class One 200m in 2018 and a year later, fourth in the Girls Class One 100m.

The race was won by Wurrie Njadoe of Kansas State in 7.45 while her teammate Velecia Williams was third in 7.54.

Williams is a former Hydel High School student, who won silver medals in both the long and triple jump at the 2018 CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas.

Another Jamaican representing Kansas State, Taishia Pryce, finished fourth in 7.60.

Pryce, a former student at the St. Andrew Technical High School, also ran 39.35 to finish second in the Women’s 300m that Njadoe won in 38.42, a new meet record.

Football’s world governing body FIFA has fined Jamaica Football Federation (JMD$170,000) for a bottle-throwing incident that occurred during the World Cup qualifying match against the United States at the National Stadium in Kingston last month.

Near the end of the match that ended in a 1-1 draw, a plastic water bottle was thrown from the bleachers' seats near the running track. The incident was reported to the FIFA security officer on-site and the JFF was subsequently fined.

According to the FIFA ruling, “The Jamaica Football Federation is ordered to pay 1000 Swiss Francs for the inappropriate behaviour of its supporters in connection with the match Jamaica vs the USA played on 16 November 2021 in the scope of the Preliminary Competition for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, CONCACAF Zone. The fine is to be paid within 30 days of notification of the present decision.”

The JFF appealed the decision but the appeal was deemed inadmissible. In its appeal, the JFF expressed regret at the incident while pointing to its constant appeal to fans through different means not to throw objects, as well as the limitations on the sale of refreshments inside the stadium.

In light of the fine, the JFF said it was once again reminding spectators that they must follow all outlined protocols once they are within the confines of the National Stadium on match day as another breach could threaten Jamaica's hopes of hosting international games in the future.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has expressed delight with a decision that will see the West Indies serve as joint hosts of the 2024 T20 World Cup along with the United States.

The West Indies will be hosting a World Cup-type event for the fourth time, with the US set to make history with its first.  In addition, the 2024 edition will be the first T20 World Cup to feature 20 teams.

Based on the fixtures, approximately two-thirds of the 55 matches will be held in the Caribbean, with the World Cup venues being drawn from the 13 established international cricket grounds in the West Indies.  The United States will host the remaining one-third of the matches where they will be played at five venues.

“The CWI welcomes this historic announcement by the ICC.  It means that the Caribbean has been handed another opportunity in 2024 to host a premiere world cricket event

“We’ve done this before and I’m very sure we are going to do very well doing this again.  This time its historic because we are partnering with our neighbours from the north USA Cricket.  We know that strategic partnership has helped with accepting our bid and we must soon get to work to make this exciting historic decision a truly successful one for all concerned.”

The United States missed the chance to reinforce their lead at the top of the CONCACAF 2022 World Cup qualifying standings after a 1-1 draw away to Jamaica on Tuesday.

West Ham's Michail Antonio equalised in stunning fashion for Jamaica midway through the first half after Timothy Weah's 11th-minute opener in Kingston.

USA remain top with 15 points from eight games, moving one point clear of Mexico, who play rivals Canada away later on Tuesday, as Jamaica climbed to fifth with seven points.

Lille forward Weah had surged into the left of the box, before firing home the opening goal in off the post from a tight angle.

Antonio netted his second goal in three games 11 minutes later, working his way into space before bending home an unbelievable effort into the top-right corner from 30 yards.

Jamaica's Fulham attacker Bobby Decordova-Reid had the best chance of the second half but inexplicably skied over the bar from close range, while Damion Lowe had a late headed goal disallowed for a push.

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah and the USA’s Ryan Crouser have been named 2021 Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

Jamaica’s senior national men’s team is set to leave for El Salvador on Monday evening, November 8, giving coach Theodore Whitmore three days to work with the players before their crucial World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday, November 12.

Jamaica’s coming matches against El Salvador in San Salvador and a strengthened United States of America at the National Stadium in Kingston will be of great importance to the Reggae Boyz, who will be hoping to make up lost ground on the five teams ahead of them in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players based in Europe are scheduled to arrive at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston at 4:30 pm on Monday, where they will join the local delegation on a charter leaving at 7:00 pm. The players based in the United States (and Costa Rica) will fly directly to San Salvador on the same afternoon.

Injured players Dillon Barnes and Andre Gray will be replaced by Dwayne Miller and Javain Brown, respectively.

Jamaica will return to the island by charter on Saturday, November 13 before taking on the United States on Tuesday, November 16, at the National Stadium. A maximum of 5000 vaccinated spectators are expected to attend.

Jamaica got off to a poor start in the Octoganal round of qualifiers, losing 2-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Panama in September. They then lost 2-0 to the United States in October and drew 0-0 with Canada and 1-1 with Costa Rica before getting their first win, a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Jamaica has five points, the same number as El Salvador. They are also a point behind Costa Rica and three behind Panama that a currently fourth in the standings.

Mexico, the USA and Canada are the top three teams and are in the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup.

 

Around 5000 fully vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend the Jamaica Reggae Boyz upcoming World Cup qualifier against the United States after the country’s government reversed its previous position.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a request by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to allow fully vaccinated fans into the country’s National Stadium for the first time since the start of the qualifiers had been denied.

The team’s previous home matches against Panama and Canada were played in front of an empty stadium due to the country’s existing Covid-19 protocols.  The JFF attempted to rectify the situation by implementing plans and protocols that would allow some fully vaccinated patrons to enter the match.  Initially, the proposal was rejected by the government who cited concerns regarding the ability of the entities to ensure proof of vaccination for patrons.  Following an emergency meeting, at the JFF headquarters on Thursday, however, the parties have now reached an understanding to allow the stadium to be occupied at around 14 percent capacity, consisting of fully vaccinated fans, for the encounter.

With only 12.4 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated, however, the number of patrons who will be able to take advantage of the opportunity remains to be seen.  The vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the region and lowest among the countries participating in the final round.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will face another empty stadium for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against the United States, after a request for permission to have fully vaccinated fans attend the game was denied by the government.

The Jamaicans are scheduled to face the United States in a crucial encounter on November 16, as the team looks to push itself back into contention for a spot at next year’s World Cup. 

So far, the team is the only country not to allow fans into the stadium, in some capacity.  However, with an estimate of just 12.4 percent of the population being fully vaccinated Jamaica also has the lowest rate of any nation in the final round and is the only one below 20 percent.

According to a recent press release the denial was based on concerns regarding the capacity and logistics required to ensure that only vaccinated persons were allowed inside the stadium.  The decision caught Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts off guard as, according to him, the football body had harboured optimism of having fans return in some capacity for the upcoming round, following positive talks with government entities.

“We had discussions with persons from the Ministry of Health and we would have put our ID unit in motion.  In fact, one suggestion was that we would merge both ID entities so that once you apply for a ticket the JFF could say to you we can or cannot verify your vaccination,” Ricketts told TVJ.

“We put everything in place, all the plans.  We made several site visits.  We were working closely with IPL on how to have the patrons seated.  We had a meeting and went through all the protocols and that gave us the confidence that we would have been permitted to have fans.”

The government has indicated, however, that the proposal is under review and the request could be granted in time for the January round of matches. The team is currently in 6th place on 5 points, three outside of an automatic qualifying spot.

Will Jordan scored a hat-trick as rampant New Zealand tore the United States apart to win the inaugural 1874 Cup Test 104-14 in Washington DC on Saturday.

The All Blacks scored their crushing win at FedExField following a spine-tingling haka that was dedicated to Maori All Blacks star Sean Wainui, who died in a car accident at the age of 25 on Monday.

Ian Foster's side put on a scintillating display and racked up 16 tries in achieving New Zealand's biggest win in four matches against the Eagles, who were at least able to score their first two tries against the three-time world champions.

Luke Jacobson scored the opener after a brilliant burst from livewire full-back Damian McKenzie and went on to claim a first-half double along with wing Jordan.

Ethan de Groot marked his first Test start with a try, while McKenzie, the brilliant Richie Mo'unga, Angus Ta'avao-Matau and Quinn Tupaea also crossed in a first half that ended with the ruthless All Blacks 59-7 up.

The Eagles were unable to contain relentless New Zealand, with Ta'avao-Matau claiming his second try before Dalton Papali'i and Anton Lienert-Brown went over the whitewash.

Foster showed no mercy as he sent on Beauden Barrett, who duly got in on the act with a try prior to Jordan completing his treble. Dane Coles helped himself to try number 15 before TJ Perenara went in under the posts to take New Zealand to three figures right at the end.

Mo'unga scored 18 points with the boot as the USA were blown away, but Nate Augspurger scored a historic solo try for the Eagles at the end of the first half and Ryan Matyas finished after the break.

The mystery surrounding the decision of West Ham forward, Michail Antonio, to withdraw from Jamaica’s team days ahead of the ongoing round of World Cup qualifiers has added another twist, with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) insisting it was based on a misunderstanding.

According to multiple reports, the issue stemmed from the fact that the player was not given permission to carry his personal physiotherapist on the trip, which he had agreed to pay for out of pocket.  Through his agent, Antonio who has suffered from a long history of muscular injuries, made the request for the medical professional to be able to join the squad but was turned down.

However, strangely, the JFF now insists that the player’s representative was given the wrong information as he should have in fact been granted permission to travel with the therapist.

“It was a simple mix-up that caused that caused that to happen.  What we don’t want to do is to continue to lay the blame all over the place.  We know administratively from the JFF hierarchy that that is something we had supported,” General Secretary Dalton Wint told TVJ Sports.

The official, however, seemed to be at a loss to explain how a member of the technical committee could have communicated a negative answer to the player’s agent when the answer he admits should have been a simple and positive one.

“He is allowed (to carry physiotherapist), it’s simple.  That’s why we used the term miscommunication.”

Wint went on to state that the issue had been cleared up with the player and his agent and expected him to return to the team in the near future.  The Jamaica team is at the bottom of the standings with three losses in the first four matches.

   

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