The good news is that Trinidad and Tobago finally got on the score sheet in the fourth and final outing of their CONCACAF Under-15 Championship adventure today. The bad news is coach Russell Latapy’s team conceded their highest tally for the competition, losing to Jamaica by a humiliating 8-1 margin in the seventh/eighth place play-off at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago finished the group phase of the competition with three successive defeats in which neither Caribbean nation managed a single goal. But the young “Reggae Boyz” broke their duck in spectacular fashion against their southern rivals.
After failing to score in 210 minutes of play against Mexico, Honduras and Panama, Jamaica scored eight times against the young Soca Warriors in their 70-minute contest.
Being spanked by Central and North American opposition was bad enough but a mauling by a Caribbean rival is another thing altogether.
Captain Dwayne Atkinson and Kellijah Morgan both notched first-half doubles for the Boyz while Kenroy Campbell also got on the scorecard as Jamaica led 5-1 at the interval. St Ann’s Rangers winger and St James Secondary schoolboy Jean-Heim Mc Fee scored the lone item for the Warriors.
And Jamaica substitute Rajay Wright rubbed their rivals’ noses in it with a second-half hattrick to cap off the drubbing.
Latapy had changed goalkeepers for the match as Matura Secondary schoolboy and North East Stars player Kernel La Fon got his chance ahead of St Anthony’s College and Trendsetter Hawks custodian Jahiem Wickham. But the coach reinserted Wickham for the second half.
Undeterred, Jamaica scored their final three goals against Trinidad and Tobago’s first-choice goalie.
The harrowing result comes just 24 hours after Latapy, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most celebrated players, said his Under-15 troops were “not far off” the likes of Costa Rica and the United States “in terms of potential and talent.”
Latapy, a former Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach, returned to a coaching role for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) last August, just weeks before the National Under-17 Team participated in a Caribbean tournament on home soil.
The young Warriors failed to even get out of their group.
If time was against Latapy in 2016, he had roughly six months and a warm-up tournament in the Cayman Islands to prepare his players for the CONCACAF Under-15 Championship, which included 40 teams from the Confederation.
Trinidad and Tobago were seeded in division one among the region’s top eight football nations.
In the end, the young Warriors ended as comfortably the worst team of the lot, with one goal scored and 21 conceded in just 280 minutes of football.
Jamaica 8 (Kellijah Morgan 20, 44, Dwayne Atkinson 24, 27, Kenroy Campbell 42, Rajay Wright 44, 64, 68) v T&T 1 (Jean-Heim Mc Fee 37)
Jamaica - 13 Shamar Haffenden (1 Hasani Barnes 35th); 2 Khalifah Richards, 3 Kristopher Mcdonald, 4 Kaeleb Rainford, 6 Kellijah Morgan (14 Rajay Wright 58th), 7 Dwayne Atkinson (capt) (10 Christopher Pearson), 8 Ethen Horrobin (18 Isaac Scott), 11 Nickhari Campbell, 12 Dwayne Allen, 15 Omar Reid, 17 Kenroy Campbell.
Coach - Peter Reid.
Trinidad & Tobago - 18 Kernel La Fon (1 Jahiem Wickham 56th); 3 Darian Bradshaw (capt) (Yellow 46), 5 Cephas St.Rose (Yellow 11) (15 Adriel George 50th), 6 Jabari Lee (10 Josiah Edwards 35th), 7 Jean-Heim Mc Fee, 8 Josiah Allen (4 Antonio Chee Ting 49th), 9 Ezekiel Kesar, 11 Jaiye Sheppard, 13 Zachary Welch, 16 Marc Wharfe.
Coach - Russell Latapy.