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Silver Medal winning U20-Boyz get hero's welcome

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:17 am    Post subject: Silver Medal winning U20-Boyz get hero's welcome Reply with quote

Silver medal-winning U-20 Boyz home from Pan Am Games
BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter
Monday, July 30, 2007

TO shouts of 'excellent Reggae Boyz!' from a waiting group of black, green and gold-clad cheerleaders,
Jamaica's Under-20 footballers returned yesterday from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil sporting their Pan
American Games silver medals.

The young Reggae Boyz became the first national outfit to win a team medal in Pan Am Games
history, after losing 1-2 to Ecuador to claim the silver in Friday's final at the Maracana Stadium.

"In two weeks, to play five high-quality games is not an easy task, so we are satisfied and it augurs
well for us and our youth football," coach Wendell Downswell told the Observer shortly after the
contingent's arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport close to 11:30 yesterday morning.

Those five games included four victories - 1-0 against Colombia in the first, and against Argentina
(2-0), Haiti (4-0), and Mexico 5-4 on penalties before the loss to Ecuador in the final match. Meanwhile,
19-year-old Kemmar Daley ended up the tournament's leading goalscorer with four.

"Full credit must be given to the sort of programme we put in place and it has manifested itself and
the players were exemplary in their approach playing against teams which were fully professional and
we had amateurs," Downswell added.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Crenston Boxhill, who met the team at the airport, told the
Observer that it was an historic occasion which spoke volumes of the country's youth programme.

"It's a fantastic achievement, not just for the U-20 squad but for Jamaica's football on a whole and
especially the youth programme, and with the Olympic Games qualifiers coming up, I'm sure some
of these players will be part of that squad," he said.

Team captain, Ricardo Cousins, who turns 20 on August 7, said the result was one of effort and
therefore he was not surprised with the outcome. "I'm proud of my teammates and to be
part of a Jamaica team to make history in Brazil. we worked very hard, so we are not surprised...
we are victorious in our hearts."

Daley, who scored the lone goal against Colombia, both against Argentina and the other against
Haiti, was grateful for his own accomplishment and was quick to point to the 83rd-minute penalty
which led to the team's demise against Ecuador.

"As a young player in the international level looking to better my career I have to give thanks for
the four goals... many Jamaicans looking on would say we got robbed in the finals but that's how
football goes sometimes. You win some, you lose some," he said.

The scores were level at 1-1, when the Jamaicans, who took the early lead and conceded a 79th-minute
goal, were hard done by Brazilian referee Paulo de Oliveira who awarded the penalty, adjudging
defender Dwayne Smith
guilty of fouling Wilson Folleco. A foul, television replays later showed, was dubious at best, and had
taken place just outside the penalty area.

"We were hoping to bring it into the penalty shoot-out because we had really practised for that,
it's just unfortunate... the penalty call looked dubious, but they have to live with things like that,
especially in the game of football," Downswell noted.

Jamaica's previous best finish at a Pan American Games in football was third place in Group B at
the 1999 tournament in Winnipeg, Canada. The Reggae Boyz will now turn their focus to the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games qualifying beginning in September.
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