ALVAS POWELL has said sorry for walking out on the Jamaica men’s national senior football team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Additionally, he said the decision was his and his alone.”I was just sorry about what happened,” Powell said in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.”This is a decision I made on my own and it surprised everybody.”The 21-year-old left the Jamaica camp on July 15, the morning after their final Group B encounter against El Salvador at BMO Field in Toronto.Jamaica won the game 1-0 and Powell – who had sat out the previous games against Costa Rica and Canada, came on as a substitute during the second half.The team’s head coach, Winfried Sch‰fer, had said he had no intention to recall Powell to his team initially.Change of heartHowever, on their return from the Gold Cup, Sch‰fer noted a change of heart and said in an interview that “the door is open”.The 65-year-old German, while stating his liking for the youth, said he didn’t want the player’s career to go down and allow him to suffer much public pressure.Sch‰fer had also intimated that Powell had been influenced by his agent, Damani Ralph, who had been to several of the matches and has other national players on his roster.”I don’t think it’s his decision. He’s too young and does not think 100 per cent.”He added: “… His manager must tell him ‘Alvas, you can’t go.’ His manager must give him better advice.”Ralph, however, said he did not advise his player to leave. In fact, the former Jamaica striker said he went out of his way to try and get Powell to change his decision.”I flew up to Canada especially to try and relieve a situation that I knew could have got worse. Sadly, it got worse,” Ralph affirmed.”I did not advise Alvas Powell to leave the camp,” Ralph said. “The player can confirm this.”Powell did.”When I was leaving, Damani never had nothing all to do with it. He even asked me if this is what I wanted to do, more than one time. He told me to think about it, more than once,” the Portland Timbers player said.Powell continued: “What happened has happened already. I cannot change the past. I just feel bad about the decision I made. I’ve gotten the chance to redeem myself, and I will not make a stupid decision like that again. That ‘s why I’ve made up my mind to go back.”I was talking with the coach yesterday and he said he wanted the best for me. At the time when I was leaving, I wished the team nothing but good luck. Me and none of my teammates had any form of beef.”The decision I made, I was ignorant. I was upset. I was upset that I was not playing,” he explained. “I had 18 games outstanding for my club, and to come in the camp and not be playing, I was losing confidence. It was too much in my head. I couldn’t manage it. People are disappointed for me.”Ralph hopes Powell will learn from the experience.He said: “I want to make sure that at the end of the day, we’re able to move forward and this can become a learning experience for a young professional.”
LONDON (AP): Qualifying for the Champions League looks increasingly out of reach for Manchester United. The season could still end with silverware after Louis van Gaal’s side reached the FA Cup final by beating Everton yesterday. And yet van Gaal still has the air of a manager who could be leaving his job. Even amid the joy at seeing Anthony Martial score in the third minute of stoppage time to clinch a 2-1 victory over Everton in the semi-final, van Gaal responded curtly to a question about the team beyond this season. “I am not looking beyond this competition, the FA Cup, because we live in the present,” van Gaal said. “As for the future, I will discuss that with my board and not with you.” When it was pointed out that he had another season remaining on his contract, the 64-year-old Dutchman said: “Yes. You repeat what I have always said.” Disappointing season Martial set up Marouane Fellaini’s opener in the 34th minute against his former club. Although David de Gea saved Romelu Lukaku’s penalty early in the second half to preserve United’s lead after Ross Barkley was brought down by Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Gerard Deulofeu’s cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by United defender Chris Smalling with 15 minutes remaining. Martial’s winner was a slick completion of a rapid attack that prevented extra time. The 20-year-old France forward linked up with Marcus Rashford on the left flank and then played another one-two with Ander Herrera before slotting in the winner. The 11-time FA Cup winners will discover today whether Crystal Palace or Watford will be their opponent in the May 21 final. With four games remaining, United remain fifth, four points behind Arsenal, who play relegation-threatened Sunderland today. Crosstown rivals Manchester City are a further point ahead in third place after beating Stoke 4-0 in one of four Premier League games yesterday. Kelechi Iheanacho, City’s 19-year-old forward, scored twice after first-half goals from Fernando and Sergio Aguero from the penalty spot. Newcastle remained in the relegation zone despite coming from behind to draw 2-2 at Liverpool, who announced before the game that defender Mamadou Sakho failed a drugs test before a Europa League game last month. After conceding goals from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana in the first half, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle salvaged a point, thanks to strikes from Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback on the manager’s return to the club he won the Champions League with in 2005. Brought down Southampton kept alive their outside shot at qualifying for the Europa League by compounding already-relegated Aston Villa’s woes. Dusan Tadic scored twice in a 4-2 victory for seventh-place Southampton, between headers from Shane Long and Sadio Mane. Deposed champions Chelsea are a place behind after cruising to a 4-1 victory at Bournemouth, who have already secured a second season in the Premier League. Cesc Fabregas played a key role in all four goals, including Eden Hazard’s double that produced his first league goals of a disappointing season for the reigning player of the year. Pedro Rodriguez and Willian also scored for Chelsea. The focus shifts to the title race in the coming days. Leicester, who have a five-point lead over Tottenham, host Swansea today. Tottenham face West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane tomorrow.