The United States’s Under-17 head coach, John Hackworth, was not pleased with the playing surface after his team went down 1-0 to an Arnett Gardens FC Under-20 select team at Jamaica College yesterday. Arnett’s central defender Lemmar Stewart scored from a goal-mouth melee in the 89th minute. “I am not pleased with the surface, we had requested a hard one, but it was also bumpy and uneven and prevented us from playing our football,” Hackworth told The Gleaner at the end of the game. “The surface affected our style of play,” he added. Hackworth said he played against older players as he wanted to test his team as part of their preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Under-17 championship which serves as a FIFA World Cup qualification.. “It is really important for us as they are 16 year-olds playing against older players. We had two good looks in each half. They had a soft goal from a corner kick,” he said. “We are not looking at performance, but working on plays,” Hackworth concluded. Coach of Arnett Gardens Jerome Waite described the game as a spirited one. “It was a spirited performance from both teams. I had seen them in the game against Jamaica Under-17s and identified their strengths and weaknesses. We created numerous chances and could have won by a wider margin. It was a good game,” Waite assessed. Arnett got into action early but the pint-sized Damani Deacon missed a clear chance which he booted wide of the goal. The Arnett backline marshalled by former JC winning Manning Cup captain Alando Brown, goalscorer Stewart and Alton Lewis was organised and made few mistakes. Arnett’s goalkeeper Shamarley Clayton was also outstanding and made a point blank save from USA captain George Acosta during the first half. The USA team will close their series of games against the Jamaica Under-17 team tomorrow on Sunday at Winchester Park, St George’s College, starting at 3 p.m. The Jamaicans will seek to avenge the 3-0 loss to the Americans last Wednesday at Stadium East.
Drama unfolded in the ongoing mercenary case at Criminal Court ‘D’ when one of 18 defendants accused of being mercenaries, unexpectedly turned state witness, failed to show up on Friday, April 25, to testify against his colleagues.All 18 of the men on trial were alleged members of a defunct rebel faction, blamed for going on a violent, murderous rampage around the country, between 1990 and 2003.They were also accused of launching cross-border raids into neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire during 2010 to 2011. Several human rights violations were attributed to them, including the killing of seven members of a United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNOCL) in the same neighboring country.The human rights violations were linked to clashes between the Defense and Security Forces (FFS) militias and mercenaries of former Ivorien president Laurent Gbagbo, on one hand, and the Republican Forces of La Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) and traditional hunters loyal to President Alassane Ouattara, on the other.They were arrested between 2010 and 2012, in Grand Gedeh County by a joint-security team. Grand Gedeh is a bordering county with La Côte d’Ivoire. One of the 18, Prince Barclay, was later exonerated and freed, reportedly after agreeing to turn state-witness.In court on Friday, state-witness Barclay was expected to appear and testify against the other 17 defendants; but when the appointed time came, Barclay could not be found anywhere in the courtroom.Barclay’s absence prompted a request to the court to suspend hearing on that day, (Friday) stating that prosecution’s witness had suffered a severe bout of diarrhea. They did not say which hospital had treated him, or show any medical reports related to Barclay’s sudden illness.One of the lawyers for the defense prayed that the court denied the request, arguing that it was an attempt to delay the case, and prolong his clients’ detention.Cllr. Dempster Brown argued that prosecution’s failure to produce its witness’ medical records, clearly demonstrated the prosecution’s un-readiness to continue the trial.After arguments, however, Judge Emery Paye granted the prosecution’s request to suspend the hearing until Monday, April 28.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)