WITH ALL MY HEART: Striker Jermaine ‘Tuffy’ Anderson hails the Jamaican fans following the 1-1 draw against Costa Rica in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying action at the National Stadium last night. Anderson scored with a minute to go in the game to earn a point and keep alive Jamaica’s faint hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. – Ricardo Makyn
On a night when the Reggae Boyz fans were outnumbered inside the National Stadium, forgotten striker, Jermaine ‘Tuffy’ Anderson, became an instant hero when he netted a stoppage-time equaliser against Costa Rica.
Anderson, who was introduced as a 68th-minute substitute, scored in the second minute of stoppage time to cancel out a 72nd-minute goal by Randall Brenes, who himself was introduced in the 68th minute.
Costa Rica’s goal came about as a result of an error on the part of goalkeeper, Richard McCallum. His weak pass was intercepted by Bernes, who then beat him with a low shot at his near post.
The result has left Jamaica, on four points, with a more mathematical than realistic chance of making it to next year’s World Cup. With two rounds of games to be played USA and Costa Rica have already qualified with 16 and 15 points, respectively, followed by Honduras (11), Mexico (eight) and Panama (eight).
Anderson, a crowd favourite who has been left out of pervious World Cup Qualifying squads by former coach, Theodore Whitmore, was given 22 minutes to prove his critics wrong. The 33-year-old Waterhouse forward, who has been the leading goalscorer in the local league for the past two seasons, did not bring flair to the pitch when he replaced Marlon King. What he did bring, however, was a clear goalscoring threat and came close in the 86th minute when he got on the end of a ball on the back post, but placed his effort wide after being caught in two minds.
He would get another chance to make amends six minutes later, and he made no mistake then, as he applied a composed finish to a long ball over the top of the Costa Rican defence by Jermaine Taylor.
“I know my job each day I turn out on the field. My job is just to score goals, I don’t have any skill,” Anderson expressed. “Maybe I could have won the game, but that was just unfortunate. Maybe I was too anxious to score, but I still kept my cool, and got it down. The fans have moti-vated me, because they are the ones that have believed in me.”
Anderson believes that he was put in the game at the right time as he knew what was needed to lift the team.
“… It was just some more forward push the team wanted, and I think the vibes that I go out with and make dem know it is not over, and we can fight,” Anderson shared.