On Sunday night in Martinique, Jamaica defeated Guadeloupe 5-4 on penalty kicks to win the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup. The victory earns Jamaica a spot in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup next summer. This is the second straight Cup title for Jamaica.
Dynamo midfielder Lovel Palmer played 65 minutes in the victory, which included a goal from Colorado Rapids' forward Omar Cummings, who scored in the 35' minute to give Jamaica the early advantage. Ludovic Gotin answered four minutes later for Guadeloupe and the game stayed tied at 1-1 through extra time.
Guadeloupe's Jean Luc Lamboude missed his team's fifth penalty kick, giving Jamaica the victory. You can read a full match report here.
The victory could help smooth over some of the controversy that followed the Jamaican team from early in the tournament. After defeating Antigua and Barbuda 2-0 in their opening match, the Jamaican team demanded a per diem of $1,200 plus 80 percent of any cash prize won from the Jamaican Football Federation or the team threatned to withdraw. Captain Horace Burrell, president of the JFF, supplied money from his own funds to meet the team's demands.
The team, through spokesman Shavar Thomas, cited issues with training facilities and the team's willingness to put up with various issues with the federation for some time.
"Personally when I show up there I am not motivated to even walk ... players receive a lot of injuries - knee, ankle, back, playing on that field and those are some of the things we cannot accept any more,"
After the final, thief and all-around unlikeable man Jack Warner couldn't resist attacking the Jamaican players for their demands, saying, "national pride must take precedence over mercenary feelings."
"I have felt in many ways the pain of Captain Burrell, because what he had to go through to reach this stage, for me it was tough," CONCACAF President Warner said after the match. "To be held to ransom, and in my humble view, to be blackmailed by a team is unacceptable, and I want to say to you that the pain he has felt I feel for him, for the Caribbean, because it is a precedent that will be set in the Caribbean, unless we begin to stop it at this point in time."
Warner wasn't done however and vowed to make changes to prevent future situations like this.
"In fact, I have told him even the rules shall be amended to facilitate countries bringing in teams at the last minute that face this situation. National pride must take precedence over money. National pride must take precedence over mercenary feelings and in that context, therefore, I'm pained. But at the end of the day, Captain stood up as a big man and he has saved the day; and today, Jamaica and the whole Caribbean are happy, not because Guadeloupe have lost, but because in my humble view, a bona fide country has won and therefore football in the Caribbean has been saved, also."
If you are all familiar with Jack Warner and his crooked politics, you'll quickly see how soaked in hypocrisy this man's statement's are. Warner pledged to get the $120,000 in prize money to the JFF within 15 days, rather than the usual 30-day period for prize money to be awarded...we'll see how that goes.
In the end, congratulations to Lovel Palmer and the rest of the Jamaican National team on the victory.