TD makes plans for improved preparation in the wake of dismal young Reggae Girlz performances
FOLLOWING ANOTHER disappointing youth team performance, with the young Reggae Girlz at the Concacaf Under-20 Women’a Championship in the Dominican Republic, football supporters continue to question the local governing body’s, the Jamaica Football...
FOLLOWING ANOTHER disappointing youth team performance, with the young Reggae Girlz at the Concacaf Under-20 Women’a Championship in the Dominican Republic, football supporters continue to question the local governing body’s, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), preparation of teams leading into tournaments.
It is widely known that national youth coaches are generally given two to three months, tops, to select, organise and prepare these teams.
However, Techincal Director, Wendell Downswell, said all of that is about to change, as going forward the JFF intends to have extensive camps of a year or more to fine-tune preparations for future tournaments.
“What we will have now, starting with our under-14 programmes that we have in place, is to have these under-14s come in three years leading up to their tournaments, while our under-15 boys will have two years of preparations.
“These preparations will be funded by FIFA as it relates to staffing and international practice games and camps and that will be a step in the right direction,” Downswell told The Gleaner.
He recalled that in 2011 when the Reggae Boyz qualified for the men’s under-17 World Cup, that the team spent two months in Brazil and played more than 15 practice games in preparing for that tournament’s qualifiers and he said they have to replicate at least that with all youth teams if they aim to be successful.
“In terms of preparation going forward, we want to replicate our youth camp like when we qualified in 2011. We had a two-month camp in Brazil and we played 15 to 17 top international games before the tournament and it made a major difference.
“We need to intensify preparation by starting early with our under-15s and under-14 boys and girls and then we will continue with the under-20s coming up,” he stated.
Jamaica’s U20 girlz ended the Concacaf U20 Women Championship with a dominant 4-1 win over Panama, giving credence to the arguments for better preparation but Downswell was quick to point that the championship came at short notice and was one of the reasons for their limited preparation.
“It was not a calendar event, so it’s not that we had it on the calendar for an extended period. We had to put together a squad in a short space of time and we saw the girls showed guts and determination.
“But to be grouped with the US, the world champion, and Canada, a former world champion, was always going to be tough for us,” he said.
He also believes the level of competitiveness in domestic female competitions must also improve if they are to be a major factor in regional tournaments and qualifiers.
“If you look at the US and Canada, they have very strong leagues and they have a vast pool of quality players to choose from. When you look at our leagues there’s not much the top players have to do in terms of performing. When we have a more competitive environment where week in, week out they have tough games, that will improve our quality and competitiveness.
“There is only so much we can do in terms of preparation but once we are able to get that level of preparation, improve the quality of our leagues and put all the necessary logistics in place as it relates to staffing and such, we will be there competing with the best.”