‘Positive’ Jamaica U23s hunt berth in CONCACAF Finals
Since 2004, Jamaica's Under-23 men's football team has not made it to the CONCACAF Final round of the Olympic qualifiers, with the team making early exits against underrated Caribbean opponents on the last two occasions.
However, assistant coach Jerome Waite said they are looking for a positive result when they take on Cuba in one Caribbean Football Union (CFU) semi-final this Friday at Stade Sylvio Cater in Haiti for a place in the CONCACAF Final, set for the United States in October.
Both CFU finalists will advance to the CONCACAF Final. Haiti and St Vincent & Grenadines will contest the other semi-final. The final is set for Sunday.
"We are looking forward to positive results in this semi-final round. The objective is to move past this hurdle and get to the final leg. It will be a challenge, but despite that, the players are up for the challenge," the Arnett Gardens Premier League-winning coach told The Gleaner yesterday.
"We have seen some of the top attacking players out of the Cuban team because they played in the Gold Cup. But the head coach (Miguel Coley) has taken the time to assess the Cuban Under-23 team and we expect they have a strong unit.
"They are very fast and they play good football, so we expect a tough game.We don't expect an easy run like in the first round," he insisted.
There have not been many changes to the Jamaica squad that secured qualification in the Dominican Republic in June and Waite expects the players to continue improving.
"The fact that most of these players are the same players who cleared the first hurdle, it will make it much easier because you have less newcomers in the squad," he explained.
"The preparation has been going on well and the players have been responding. They have improved pretty well, although there is room for improvement ... and you can see the team is gelling," he added.
SQUAD: Omar Holness (captain), Kereem Manning, Paul Wilson, Junior Flemmings, Amal Monte Knight, Vishinul Harris, Brandon Anderson, Joel Johnson, Kevaughn Frater, Christopher Campbell, Michael Seaton, Cardel Benbow, Haddad Khouri, AndrÈ Morrison, Sean McFarlane, Nico Campbell, Ricardo Oldham, AndrÈ Lewis, Romario Williams, Damion Lowe.