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Reggae Boyz top Nations League performer

Reggae Boyz huddle before a game.
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Not only did Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz dominate their division in the just-concluded CONCACAF Nations League group stage competition, but they also ended up with the most wins and goals scored of the 41 teams across the board.

The Boyz tallied 16 points and 21 goals from five games, registering four convincing wins and only one draw when Guyana held them 1-1. That match against Guyana in their final fixture played before a home crowd in Jamaica, accounted for the only goal scored against them.

The group stage of the Nations League competition involving all teams from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, kicked off on Sept. 5 and ran until Nov. 19 on a home and away round-robin format.

The teams were placed into ranked groups, or Leagues, based on qualifying playoffs completed in March this year.

The three leagues are ranked in the order of ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ with ‘League A’ comprising the highest ranked teams. Within each league there are groups, or pots, of three or four teams each.

The September to November matches set the basis for promotion and relegation of teams within the leagues where the best-ranked teams in the lower division are promoted to the higher division for the next season, and the worst-ranked teams in the higher division are relegated to the lower division.

Jamaica was slotted in ‘League B’ but the excellent performance earned it a place in ‘League A’ for the next season.

This 2019-20 tournament takes the emerging top teams to the first Nations League Championship in June, next year, and the 2021 Gold Cup.

No Caribbean team qualified for the Nations League Championship, as the US, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica emerged as the top teams for that final to be played on a knockout basis.

But Jamaica, Grenada, and Suriname, Curacao, and Martinique are among the 12 to have qualified for the 2021 Gold Cup.

Nine Caribbean teams have made it to playoffs among 12 sides for the final four spots in the 2021 Gold Cup to be played in June 2020. They are Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Montserrat, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Bahamas, and Guadeloupe.

Jamaica Observer newspaper reported Reggae Boyz coach, Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, flushed with his team’s outstanding performance, saying, “that is just one phase of our objective …we have to move to the next. In phase one, we had set out to qualify for League A and qualify for the Gold Cup and we did just that tonight. We have to now go back and strategize for what’s ahead”.

“The main focus now is World Cup qualification and that is something that is very important to us as a team and as a nation.”

Updated 3:54 pm, November 26, 2019
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