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December 12, 2012
Star Sport


'There is no excuse'

JFF boss Captain Horace Burrell

Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter

Jamaica Football Federation boss, Captain Horace Burrell, pulled no punches yesterday when asked his assessment of the Reggae Boyz's performance so far at the Caribbean Cup football tournament in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Reggae Boyz, the defending champions, face the prospect of being embarrassingly dumped out of the tournament before the knockout phase should they fail to defeat neighbours Cuba by a huge margin at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium today. Kick off time is 6 p.m. (Jamaica time).

Burrell is, to say the least, very unhappy. "There is no excuse why we should be in this position, our players have a lot more experience. Truth be told ... at this point, we are looking at the positives," Burrell, who is in Antigua with the team, told STAR Sports. Following up on a shock 2-1 loss to French Guiana in the opening game, with a tame 0-0 draw against Martinique in their second encounter, the team find themselves rooted to the bottom of Group B with one point. Martinique are currently top of the group with four points, followed by Cuba and French Guiana on three points each.

Failure to advance from the group could see the national team miss out on a spot at next year's CONCACAF Gold Cup, the region's premier tournament. Although at a loss at explaining the team's performances so far, Burrell said they are solely focused on what would be a narrow escape.

"Our performance has been below par and we have had a team meeting with the staff and looked at our current situation and we know we must pull out all the stops to do better. Our current situation is not good and whatever the reason is neither here nor there, we will spare no effort in trying to get back on track."

Missing out on the next summer's Gold Cup could have serious consequences for the cash-strapped body, and in addition to missing out on valuable match-time against the region's top teams, could also miss the opportunity to fill depleted coffers. The federation boss, however, would not speculate on the possible repercussions of failing to qualify for the tournament.

"We would have to look to cross that bridge when we get to it. I would not want to consider the consequences of that right now, we are just looking at what we need to do to progress."

The Jamaicans could progress in second place from the group with a win over Cuba, coupled with a win for Martinique over French Guiana. The team could, however, also progress over Martinque in the event of a win for French Guiana, which would see the team with the better goal difference advance to the next round. A draw between the teams, however, would knock the Reggae Boyz out of the tournament. Head to head points scored between the teams will be the first tiebreaking criteria used, followed by goal difference.

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