Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Downswell enthused by Under-17 challenge

Published:Wednesday | January 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott
Downswell

National Under-17 coach Andrew Edwards said the official inclusion of Wendell Downswell to the technical staff as an adviser to the side presently preparing for the CONCACAF final round in Panama next June can only be positive.

Edwards hailed Downswell as a true servant of Jamaican football and believes his presence can only impact the team positively.

"It is nothing new, what can be expected is that he will be more present in the flesh. He has always been a part of the set-up from I was appointed. He is youth coordinator/Youth Technical Director, he assists with the scouting process, provides guidance and supervises training programmes and plans, so he has always been with us," Edwards shared.

"There is no way we can have someone of the calibre of Mr Downswell and do not benefit from it. He is a true servant of Jamaican football in whatever capacity he has served, so I don't expect him to be here and we do not see the benefits ," he continued.

Downswell, who helped guided two youth teams to world cups, was enthused and says he will be working extremely hard with the two coaches, Andrew and Omar Edwards, to ensure a successful campaign.

"With my experience and knowledge I would help both coaches as it relates to the qualification. Both gentlemen (coaches) I recommended to be my assistant when I was with the under-17 and under-20s, so having worked with them before that lends itself to a good relationship," said Downswell.

"It will not be easy but we will be pulling all the stops to get the players ready. I am quite upbeat and enthused and I am expecting a successful journey," Downswell said.

Meanwhile, the team returned to camp this week and Edwards says they are focusing their preparation for the first game against the United States and coming away with positive result.

MAKING PREPARATIONS

"We recognised the enormity of the project in terms of the opposition we are going up against. But we have confidence in our players and we are just making preparations to give those abilities a realistic opportunity. If we fail to get that positive result we will have to go plan B, but the number one plan is to get a positive result," Edwards said.

Jamaica face USA, Mexico and El Salvador in Group C and Downswell noted that preparation will be the key.

"At the under-17 level there is little difference between the teams so preparation is of utmost significance and that comes with a certain level of exposure. So once we get that quality preparation we will be in good stead," said Downswell.