Clearly deflated, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will not be able to honour late Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell with the Caribbean title as they had hoped.
In the final of the Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup against Dutch-speaking Curacao at the Stade Pierre Aliker last night, Jamaica lost 1-2 to clearly the most consistent and compact team in the semi-final round of the regional tournament.
Elson Hooi got a double in the 10th and 81st minutes to propel Curacao to victory, while substitute / HVFC player Rosario Harriott got Jamaica’s equaliser in the 80th.
It was the first time that Curacao were winning the title, but last night’s success is a culmination of two years of a constant rise in the football profile of the former island of the Netherlands Antilles.
Defending champions Jamaica were hunting their seventh title, which they vowed they would pursue in tribute to Burrell, who died in the USA recently.
Both teams will meet again in the opening Group C match of the CONCACAF Gold in the USA on July 7, in San Diego, California.
Head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore was absent from the touchline last night due to a red card in the semi-final against French Guiana on Thursday. His assistant Jerome Waite took charge in his stead.
In the eighth minute, Jamaica crafted their first promising move when Michael Binns’ early ball in from the left picked out Corey Burke in the box; but he slipped as he was about to address the matter at hand.
But in the next serious attack the other way, Jamaica found themselves behind when Elson Hooi beat goalkeeper Dwayne Miller from the edge of the area with a gentle, but well-placed side-footed effort in the 10th minute, after Jamaica’s defence failed to get the ball away.
Jamaica, like they did in their penalty shoot-out semi-final win over French Guiana, leveled in the score in the 81st minute when substitute Rosario Harriott rapped home from a Binns in-swinging free kick.
A minute later, Hooi got his second of the night, blasting into the roof of the net after running onto Cuco Martina’s right-sided pull back.
In the third-place encounter earlier, French Guiana edged hosts Martinique 1-0.
Teams: Jamaica — Dwayne Miller, Sergio Campbell, Damion Lowe, Oneil Fisher, Shaun Francis (Rosario Harriott 36th), Kevon Lambert, Ewan Grandison, Michael Binns, Jermaine Johnson (Ricardo Morris 60th), Owayne Gordon, Cory Burke (Shamar Nicholson 70th).
Subs not used: Damion Hyatt, Jamie Robinson, Javain Brown, Junior Flemmings, Shawn Genus
Booked: Grandison (29th), Harriott (38th)
Curacao — Eloy Room, Dustley Mulder, Cuco Martina, Darryl Lachman, Quentin Jakolba, Leandro Bacuna, Jarchino Antonio (Gino Van Kessel 74th), Gevaro Nepomucheno, Gillian Justianna, Elson Hooi (Doriano Kortstam 90th), Rangelo Janga.
Subs not used: Germaine Agustien, Shannon Carmelia, Jerlen Gaari, Ashar Bernadius, Michael Maria, Feliticiano Zschussschen, Aryton Statie, Jarzinho Pieter, Rowendy Sumter.
Booked: Bacuna (37th), Nepomucheno (40th), Janga (71st), Van Kessel (80th)
Referee: Michael Rodriguez (Cuba)
Assistant referees: Raidel Toledo (Cuba), Eugene Farro (Aruba)
Fourth official: Ricangel De Leca
Match commissioner: Dominique Stowe (St Vincent)
Source: The Jamaica Observer