Jamaica ends fourth at regional Guinness Street Football finals
Jamaica's national Guinness Street Football Challenge champions, Medley Mixers, ended their regional campaign in fourth position after losing 1-0 to a more tenacious Guyana team in Castries, St Lucia, on Sunday.
In a rain affected tournament that saw regional teams display a high level of skill and cohesiveness, the Jamaican side fizzled after their semi-final defeat at the hands of Trinidad & Tobago. The twin island republic placed second behind overall winners CuraAao.
"We're very disappointed. We're not used to playing in these conditions. The players were slipping and sliding and just couldn't keep up," said Medley Mixers team manager, Jeffrey Kerr.
He explained that the team's level of fitness was also a factor in their less than impressive finish.
"Preparation is key and we needed to be more prepared. We needed more time in the gym and proper nutrition," said Kerr, pointing to the fact that the top three teams have been playing together for several years.
It was no walk in the park for GSFC champions and first time entrants Respect Boys from CuraAao. Delayed flights and missed connections created challenges for the team even before they arrived in St Lucia.
The four-man scrimmage team stunned T&T with a first-half goal, and defended their advantage to take the title.
"CuraAao definitely showed they were made of more. Despite the issues they had on the trip, they showed up and displayed an elevated level of team unity. It's clear that the best team won," said Imru James, brand manager for Stouts and Malta at Red Stripe.
In addition to the regional title and prize money, Respect Boys won an all-expense paid trip to Brazil to watch football.
Guinness Street Football Challenge returns next year with a series of matches across the island. Local teams will once again get the chance to vie for cash and prizes, and the opportunity to represent Jamaica at the regional finals in CuraAao.