After seeing his side just miss out on CONCACAF Gold Cup success, Adrian Mariappa praised his Jamaican teammates who had to settle for a silver medal after losing 3-1 to Mexico on Sunday night.
The Reggae Boyz became the first Caribbean nation to reach the final of the North American championships but couldn’t quite go all the way after the Mexicans clinched a record-breaking seventh triumph in the competition thanks to goals from Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta.
Darren Mattocks grabbed a late consolation for Mariappa’s side in Philadelphia, and the Eagles defender completed the full game to continue his run of playing every minute of his side’s six games in the tournament, but he was obviously distraught at the final whistle to have got so close to creating history for his nation.
"We're gutted to lose today,” he told the Jamaican Gleaner. “I was obviously very emotional. You could see after the game the boys were upset because we believed we could win the competition.
"I thought we started really well. They scored a good goal. Even after that, we had a couple of chances, so I think in the second half they scored quite early, which put us on the back foot, but it's football, it's about small margins, and today we came out on the losing side of it.
"We've a lot to be proud of; there's a lot we can take away from this competition. We got to the final but we are disappointed. We'll lick our wounds and now go forward to the World Cup qualifiers.”
Jamaica coach Winfried Schaefer echoed Mariappa’s sentiments, adding: "For me this is not silver. For me this is gold. Nobody gave us a shot. This team played all its matches over its head. I'm very proud to coach this team. Jamaica should be very proud."