Jamaica Hockey Federation President Fabian Stewart says the federation remains very hopeful that they will be able to contract the services of a highly respected Argentine coach.
Stewart revealed that the engagement with the South American, which is supported by the International Olympic Committee Solidarity programme and the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), has gone a very far way.
Although the new coach would only work on an intermittent basis, with his main focus on the youth programmes.
“He would not come permanently, he would come at various time span.
“We are also in talks with (JOA President Christopher) Samuda to have a permanent solution to coaching.
“We have gotten some development work that we were embarking on, like getting local coaches certified and get them to work with the (national) teams and have the Argentinian work alongside them,” he said.
“So we are looking for better and more improved performance against some of the better teams in the region, based on the development work and that (coach) being in place.”
And though the coronavirus pandemic has stalled the discussions, Stewart said the Argentinian is still very interested in taking up their offer.
“The Argentinian coach is still interested. We have submitted the paperwork and just await information, but nothing can’t go ahead right now; and it would be premature to give a timeline at this stage,” he said.
Following government approval for national team training, president of the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF), Fabian Stewart, is anticipating that approval for competition is not far behind.
The approval for senior men’s and women’s teams to begin preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) qualifiers in April is the first activity for the sport locally in 18 months due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Stewart is hoping that the protocols and procedures they put in place will lead to the return of some local club competitions soon.
“We got the approvals in December, and we have been sensitising a group of individuals because there are certain things to be done, records to be kept, procedures and people to put in place to ensure we have the type of procedures that will keep us safe,” he said.
“We have done the work, and the national team has a very close engagement, a qualifier for the CAC Games in Bermuda in April.
“The national team will start their preparation in a very short time for that qualification tournament, and it is absolutely important we participate because we have been out of competition for two years and two years out of the international ranking,” he pointed out.
Stewart said lack of activity locally has curtailed development of the sport and there is an urgent need for the resumption of club competitions.
He noted, however, that things will not be the same and that stakeholders must work in accordance with the new requirements for the sport to return fully.
“We may not be able to have spectators based on regulations. But the fact that we have done and cemented the procedures, we can look to then start having smaller junior and senior tournaments.
“Once you have the national team training, we will have all the procedures in very short order,” he said.
“We are looking at having smaller competitions called hockey five. We will have to go back and apply for the competition itself, but we are looking to have the hockey five competitions so the clubs can plan and start their rebuilding process.
“I do not think we are far off from actual competition, however, the competition that we are going to introduce will have to be modified and mindful of protocols
“Therefore, we cannot have the same type of competitions as procedures have to change, and that is what we are working on,” he stated
After nearly two years of dormancy, Stewart said they would also have to work on revitalising the clubs and players but that they are ready for the challenge.
“When you have over 18 months of layoffs, we anticipate that we will have to redevelop, remotivate, and re-energise our clubs.
“It would be foolhardy to anticipate that you would automatically have the same level of participation.
“This COVID environment will be extremely challenging for sports because we are talking about participation, health, spectator engagement, and resources.
“So it is going to be a very difficult to rebuild hockey based on the current environment, but like we did before, we are going to face this challenge,” he stated.
President of the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF), Fabian Stewart, said with more preparation time, Jamaica can be very competitive at the Central American and Caribbean games (CAC), which is set to take place in El Salvador next year.
Jamaica men’s team qualified for the CAC games after topping their qualification group over Puerto Rico and host Bermuda on the weekend to claim one of the two qualifying spots.
However, despite their dominance in midfield and defence, their profligacy in front of goal left a lot to be desired.
Nevertheless, he believes that with more time to work on this aspect of their game, a top-four finish could be in the making. Finishing among the top four would mean automatic qualification to the Pan Am Games.
“Both (men and women) teams did very well based on the training and preparation time. So I have really strong praise for the coaching programme.
“From the games it was clear that the Jamaicans were extremely dominant in the defensive and midfield thirds.
“However, both teams had trouble in terms of their conversion in the final third. But the number of attempts, penetrations and penalty corners indicated a level of dominance in attack but we just weren’t able to put away the chances,” he said.
CAN BE RECTIFIED
He thinks this can be rectified before the tournament, and he is looking at a top-four finish despite having to step up in class.
“It was due to the short preparation period and it is a fairly young team with a lot of the players getting their first senior cap, and I am pleased with the performance of both teams.
“We now have more time to prepare and we will be competitive. This (CAC) level is a little higher but apart from
the confidence that we have in the technical staff, if the structure that was used continues to improve, we will be very competitive.”
According to Stewart, there has been much progress and continuing the trajectory should make for a competitive national programme.
Though, he said, there was still was much fundamental work to be done.
Stewart also noted that the women, who finished third in their qualification group, might still have a chance of advancing to the games, but have to await word from the organisers.
“The men automatically qualified because they won the tournament. The women got the bronze medal but there is still a possibility of them qualifying. The president had signalled that a third spot would be awarded from the
tournament and that we will know very soon,” he said.
The Jamaican men’s team drew 1-1 with Puerto Rico, beat Bermuda 4-1 and 1-0 and drew 1-1 again with Puerto Rico in the return game.
They topped the group with eight points, followed by Puerto Rico on six and Bermuda on one.
The women lost 2-1 to Bermuda, drew 1-1 with Puerto Rico and beat Guyana 1-0 to end the tournament in third with four points. Bermuda topped the standings with seven points, two more than Puerto Rico, who both qualified automatically.
The approval for senior men’s and women’s teams to begin preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) qualifiers in April is the first activity for the sport locally in 18 months due to the COVID-19 restrictions. read more
Guyana women’s are the 2017 CAC Games qualifiers champions after beating Jamaica one nil in a nail biting encounter Sunday afternoon.
Both teams having already qualified for the CAC Games next year in Colombia, started the encounter cautiously creating no real opportunities in the first quarter. The tempo picked up in the second quarter as the team’s settled in the game.
La Tacia Chung dealt the telling blow to the Jamaican’s in the 48th minute sweeping home from close range from a penalty corner beating goalkeeper Lorie Ann McIntosh for the first time in the tournament.
The Jamaicans fought hard for the equaliser but it was not to be as the Guyanese stood tall in defence.
Both Jamaica and Guyana will now turn their attention to next year’s CAC Games.
Puerto Rico men’s completed the CAC Games Qualifiers bronze medal double following their female counterparts by beating Guatemala 2-1.
Joseph Agosto opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Gilberto Monserrate doubled the lead in the 42nd minute.
Leonidas Leiva got Guatemala’s consolation goal in the 56th minute