Two important figures in the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad have hailed their side’s historic win over Honduras in the final round of Concacaf qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.
Reggae Boyz goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake and striker Kemar Roofe hoped the 2-0 win over the Hondurans, the first for the Jamaican team in the final round of qualification, would be the catalyst for stronger performances in the remaining matches.
“Very proud of the boys,” Blake told the media. “We had a very dynamic group out there and the way that we started the game wasn’t the way that we finished the game.
“But we were able as a team, including the coaching staff, to analyse and realise that some things weren’t really working, so we had to make some adjustments. Once we made those adjustments we got settled into the game and we fought.”
Kemar Roofe and Oniel Fisher scored on either side of halftime and revived the hopes of Theodore Whitmore’s side, as the Reggae Boyz landed their first win on Honduran soil in six tries at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
“It was a scrappy game, but we matched their intensity and then at moments our football took over where we were able to get some passing and get some possession of the ball,” Blake said.
“So overall it was a good night, a very big three points, and I’m proud of the boys; they did a great job, and now we just have to keep buliding on this momentum and move forward.”
Roofe, who plays for Scottish Premiership giants Rangers, scored his debut goal for the Reggae Boyz in the 38th minute to give the visitors the lead.
“It’s a special moment for all of us, getting my first goal for my country,” he said. “I want to dedicate this to my dad. He is the reason I am playing for Jamaica.
“It was massive for the team to get the three points. I think it all stems from the game against Canada. We didn’t get the three points, but we got the draw, and we came out of that game with solidarity and belief and a lot of respect as well and we brought it into (this) game.”
The result meant that the Jamaicans have five points and have moved out of the basement of the standings to sixth ahead of El Salvador thanks to goal difference, and the Hondurans, on three points.
Mexico leads the octagonal table with 14 points with the United States in second on 11, the Canadians in third on 10 followed by Panama on eight and Costa Rica on six.
The top three teams from the Concacaf qualifiers move directly into the World Cup and the fourth-placed team enters an intercontinental playoff for another shot to reach Qatar 2022.
“We have a group that we are not just here to be here,” Blake said. “We want to play. We want to do well for our country, our family, and friends and for ourselves, and we have ambition.
“We are a group that the more time we get together, the better we tend to play, so we are starting to build some confidence and momentum at the right time, at the right moment.
“We just have to keep the group together now and keep building, keep pushing and stay hungry, and hopefully we can go on a run from here on and continue to get some points.”
During the next international window, the Reggae Boyz travel to face El Salvador on November 12 and host the United States on November 16.