Ready to fight for history
The preparation time may not have been ideal but Jamaica Football Federation technical director Wendell Downswell says that time spent has been maximised as the national under-20 women’s team prepares to face the final hurdle in their road to the...
The preparation time may not have been ideal but Jamaica Football Federation technical director Wendell Downswell says that time spent has been maximised as the national under-20 women’s team prepares to face the final hurdle in their road to the Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
The team left yesterday for the Dominican Republic, hosts of the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 championship. The young Reggae Girlz will be up against it in a tough Group A with the United States, Panama and Canada. Jamaica will open against Canada tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Jamaica time).
The Group B teams are Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and hosts Dominican Republic.
The majority of the Jamaican team is comprised of the players that went undefeated in the qualifying rounds. The team’s preparation has been limited with availability being a factor in getting the squad together. However, Downswell says that the time has been used well to get the team ready for their final challenge.
“If we could have had a little more time, we would. But the challenges that we faced with a number of players that were in school (were substantial). So it was a significant challenge to get the squad together,” Downswell told The Gleaner. “But the time that we had, we spent wisely and intelligently. And therefore we are looking forward to good things with the squad.”
Among the key areas that have been focused on is their defensive shape, something Downswell said was necessary to give themselves the best chance given the strength of the United States and Canada.
“We have spent some quality time on our defence because we knew that the teams we are up against: Canada, the United States and Panama are formidable opponents. Our intention is to get a positive start and once we get that positive start, it is up to us to consolidate that position.” Downswell said.
Despite the enormity of the task at hand, under-20 goalkeeper Liya Brooks says that the team is in good spirits, eager for the opportunity to show what they are capable of against the best in the region.
“We know how hard we have worked and we know what we can do. And we know we have to prove that to a lot of people but we also have to prove that to ourselves. I think if everyone plays their best and works for each other, the results will speak for themselves,” Brooks said.
Jamaica’s best finish in the tournament was fourth in 2006 and with an upbeat atmosphere in the camp, Downswell said that the team is prepared to display the fight necessary to make history.
“The girls are quite excited. We want to achieve the feat of being the first women’s youth team to qualify for a World Cup. And that is our dream and aspiration. And we are working towards achieving that goal,” Downswell said.
The Concacaf women’s under-20 teams will be competing for the regional title and three available spots in next year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Finalists and the third-place match winners will qualify for the World Cup.