Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Gardner positive ahead of CFU qualifiers

Published:Saturday | June 11, 2016 | 6:00 AMLivingston Scott
Head coach of Jamaica's national Under - 20 football team Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner (centre) in discussion with a group of players during a training session at the University of the West Indies yesterday.

Although Jamaica's Under-20 team, which departs the island this Monday for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) first round qualifiers in the Dominica Republic, will face the age-old problem of not enough preparation time, coach Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner, believes they have done enough to see the team through.

The team leaves the island to compete in Group Four of the competition from June 15-19 and will face host Dominican Republic, Dominica as well as St Kitts and Nevis.

The top two teams from this and three other groups will advance to the final round.

But despite not having the time he would like with the squad, Gardner says the team has been making progress and doesn't anticipate any hiccups when they travel to the Dominican Republic on Monday.

"Most of the players are schoolboys so we don't get that much time together, this week is the longest we have had together, it's over a week and the preparation has been decent so far.

"We would want a lot more than the time we have had with them but we have seen progress with the players we have here. We have played (friendly) games and we see where they try and execute and we are seeing some pretty decent stuff, especially some of what we have been practising in training," he noted.

With the preparation they have had, the former national representative does not foresee much difficulty at the tournament, as he believes they will have too much for the regional minnows.

"You can see where we are developing step by step hopefully we go straight into the tournament like this. The goal is to give of our best and I think our best will be good enough. We are not going to play against breeze. We don't know much about them and I am sure they don't know much about us, but we have prepared the team the way we want to play and I am sure if we go out and execute we will come out on top," Gardner said.

"We are a very strong from defence to offence and with the bunch of players we have, we believe we have prepared well enough to go there and deliver," he added.

The Jamaicans will open their campaign against Dominica on June 15 before facing St Kitts and Nevis on June 17 and the host two days later.