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|Goalkeeping blunders cause Golden Jaguars’ defeat|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:24|
… Technical Director says opposition played with composure
“IT COULD have been better, but he is a work in progress and this is a new level for him. Games like this people would learn the finer points, such as when to come off the line and when to stay on the line. I can’t throw him to the wolves. I think he is a decent keeper and he is the best keeper we have and hopefully he will learn from this experience.” Those were the words of Technical Director of the Golden Jaguars, Jamal Shabazz, on his goalkeeper Ronson Williams, following his team’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica in their 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Guyana National Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Costa Ricans, nicknamed ‘La Sele’ and one of the CONCACAF giants, got a hat-trick from Alvaro Saborio which led them to victory.
But while the visitors dominated the home team and played with composure - a fact that was highlighted by Shabazz at the post-match press conference - Williams’ goal-keeping duties for such an all-important game remains in question.
Twice he was beaten in a manner that not even a schoolboy goalkeeper, who is competing in the Digicel nationwide schools tournament, would want to witness, while the fourth and final goal, a lob over his head from the hard-working Joel Campbell, who caught him way off his line was the green light for the close-to-8 000 spectators to exit the venue.
On several occasions leading up to this campaign, Shabazz has been calling for the 12th man to show up and give their support to the team and certainly they showed up at the venue, in the same manner as they did for last year’s encounter against Trinidad and Tobago dubbed 11.11.11.
They even showed up more heavily in 2008, when the Golden Jaguars played Suriname in a second-round encounter, having lost the first round at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium one week earlier, but this time around, Williams was the one who failed to turn up.
Yes, some can say the defence blundered and allowed the Costa Ricans to invade our territory with little or no opposition at all, but if one should look at the work of Walter ‘Boyd’ Moore on left flank, captain Chris Nurse in mid-field and John Paul ‘JP’ Rodrigues in defence, then they will say differently.
Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson, Kayode McKinnon and to an extent, Anthony ‘Awo’ Adams and Dwight Peters tried valiantly to reduce Costa Rica’s lead, following some poor judgment from Williams.
He was definitely having an off-day between the uprights for the Golden Jaguars, while at the same time, Campbell, Saborio and their teammates were having a field day with the local team, harassing both Moore and Rodrigues in the defence.
At one point in the game, Campbell displayed great ball control when he weaved his way through four Jaguars who lacked the killer instinct and sent the ball across Williams’ six-yard box and onto his last post, where a lurking Saborio found the back of the net with a classical header.
“This got to be madness I am seeing here tonight. It is clear Ronson doesn’t wish to save for Guyana, based on how he looking. Shabazz calling for we to come out as the 12th man and we did, just to see he do a bundle of nonsense in de goal, why he was not substituted?” bemoaned an ardent fan who chose to remain anonymous.
It was sickening to see the Costa Ricans, none more than Campbell sending aerial passes across Williams’ six-yard box and he refused to intercept them, only doing so when they were heading to his goal, on a few occasions.
In evaluating his team’s performance for the night, Shabazz said, “Costa Rica played with good composure and professionalism and were able to keep the ball with good patience on a difficult pitch and this made a big difference in the game for them against us.”
He added, “We were not able to effectively apply any type of pressure to the opponent who showed the ability to keep the ball and roll with the play, making it difficult for us to apply the pressure. They created the space and strung the passes together and that was a big lesson for us today.
These are some of the things we will learn on this journey against superior opponents. We always knew that Costa Rica and Mexico would be superior to us and I think they (Costa Rica) showed today that their programme is a lot more advanced.”
Shabazz lauded his team for the chances they created during the 90 minutes of the encounter, while saying it was unfortunate not to be awarded a goal during the first half, when it appeared to all and sundry that the ball had crossed the goal line.
“I thought Costa Rica was the superior opponent tonight and for us, blows that don’t break the back will strengthen it. This is a journey at a new level for us and we have to accept our defeat. We know we will come again, we cannot be faint-hearted and weak.
“We feel disappointed with the loss, but at the same time we are happy for the support from the people of Guyana, but we know that it is a very, very difficult group and we got to learn from this experience tonight,” said Shabazz.
Asked to compare the loss against Costa Rica, with that to Mexico, Shabazz said “Each game has its own challenges and situations. And for me, this game has taught us a lesson in giving too much room and being unable to apply some more pressure, while the Costa Ricans displayed more patience than the Mexicans, while the team is trying to come up to the level.”
The loss Tuesday night was the second for the Golden Jaguars within a week, following their 3-1 defeat away to Mexico at the Estadio Azteca Stadium last Friday night, and while they will be journeying to Costa Rica and El Salvador to take on those two at home, they still have two more games against El Salvador on 11th September and Mexico one month later.
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