U17 Boyz will not miss out - Edwards
National men's under-17 football team head coach Andrew Edwards is confident the team will win its group and advance to the second round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-17 Championship.
However, he says the disappointing first-round exit of the under-20s recently is still fresh in their minds and they will not be taking any opponent lightly.
The young Reggae Boyz depart the island this Wednesday for the July 15-19 tournament and will compete in Group Four along with hosts US Virgin Islands, Guyana, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Only the six group winners are assured of a place in the final round in September. The best second-place team and host country will complete the qualifiers.
"We accept that we are the pedigree team in the group, but we are not taking anything for granted. We have had solid preparation, so we now have to go out and work really hard and not take anything for granted, especially after what happened to our under-20s," said Edwards.
"We have to start every game hard and play to the finish, but I think we have enough experience from the coaches to the players to do what's required.
"So we are absolutely confident of winning the group, and that fits perfectly into our objectives as we intend to win the Caribbean championships this time, and we will have to win the group to give ourselves that chance," he added.
Edwards' only concern going into the tournament is the form of his strikers.
"The main area of concern is goalscoring. We have been scoring goals, but we have not been getting goals from our front-line players," he observed.
WORK IN PROGRESS
"It's nothing for us to lose too much sleep over as it's a work in progress, and what is important is that we are creating a lot of chances and we are getting players into good positions, so it's about getting the execution right, and that requires some experience, some composure, and a bit of luck. But we are scoring. We just want our strikers to start scoring," he insisted.
The Jamaicans lost the CFU championship final to hosts Haiti two years ago, and Andrews is hoping that experience will benefit the team.
"We want to do the best we can, and part of that job is getting to the championship game. Once we get there, we want to go one better. We got very close last time, and we want to use the experience from the last tournament and bring these boys to victory," he said.