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.
Trinidad and Tobago U-15 Team: 18.Kernel La Fon (GK) (1.Jahiem Wickham GK 56); 16.Marc Wharfe, 5.Cephas St Rose (15.Adriel George 58), 13.Zachary Welch, 3.Darian Bradshaw (captain), 6.Jabari Lee (10.Josiah Edwards 35), 9.Ezekiel Kesar, 8.Josiah Allen (4.Antonio Chee Ting 49), 11.Jaiye Sheppard, 7.Jean-Heim Mc Fee, 17.Justin Araujo-Wilson.
Unused substitutes: 12.Rhowen Stewart-Williams, 14.Aamal Julien.
Unavailable: 2.Randy Antoine.
Coach: Russell Latapy
(Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Squad)
Goalkeepers: 1.Jahiem Wickham (St Anthony’s College/Trendsetter Hawks), 18.Kernel La Fon (Matura Secondary/North East Stars);
Defenders: 4.Antonio Chee Ting (Trinity College East/San Juan Jabloteh), 3.Darian Bradshaw (Queen’s Royal College/St Ann’s Rangers), 12.Rhowen Stewart-Williams (St Benedict’s College/Club Sando), 2.Randy Antoine (Arima North Secondary/San Juan Jabloteh), 5.Cephas St Rose (Independiente Sabaneta FC—Colombia), 16.Marc Wharfe (Maple Leaf International School/Skhy FC);
Midfielders: 9.Ezekiel Kesar (Naparima College/Point Fortin Civic), 13.Zachary Welch (Fatima College), 6.Jabari Lee (Pleasantville East/W Connection), 15.Adriel George (Bishops High School Tobago/St Clair Coaching School);
Attacking midfielders: 11.Jaiye Sheppard (Scarborough Secondary/Phoenix FC), 10.Josiah Edwards (Brazil Secondary/San Juan Jabloteh), 7.Jean-Heim Mc Fee (St James Secondary/St Ann’s Rangers), 8.Josiah Allen (Shiva Boys Hindu College);
Forwards: 17.Justin Araujo-Wilson (Fatima College/Skhy FC), 14.Aamal Julien (Point Fortin East Secondary/Point Fortin Civic).