Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Women ready as Jamaica host CAC qualifiers

Published:Friday | November 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Cuba's Kenia Alvarez (left) uses her feet to block as she moves the ball away from Jamaica's Tamara Russell, during the opening match of the Pan American Games hockey qualifier, at the Mona Hockey field in 2010. Cuba won the game 3-0.

The national women's hockey team is as ready as it can be for the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games qualifying tournament, which will begin on Sunday at the Mona Hockey Field.

Coach Christine Bartley is quietly confident in her 18-member squad but is, however, mindful of a tight schedule in the tournament that will run until November 12.

Speaking after her team had won its final practice game 2-0 on Sunday over a pickup team, including several former national players, the coach pronounced: "We're pretty ready. There will be (more) training sessions before, so we will tighten up on some of the things that we have seen in this last game to make sure we execute effectively throughout the tournament."

With ages ranging from 35 for goalkeeper Lorie-Ann McIntosh to 16 in Mona High School student Imauny Linton, Bartlett's squad is truly a mix of youth and experience.

"It's a mixture of both," she remarked, "and we expect them to use their experience to guide the younger ones so we can get the best results."

Also in the squad are the last two winners of the Hockey Player of the Year award Kamile Griffiths and captain Demi Nicholson.

Linton looked busy in last Sunday's practice game and scored one of the goals.

Jamaica starts against Guatemala at 4:30p.m. on November 5 and then Panama at the same time on November 6, but the coach isn't overly concerned about the schedule.

"It is important that we try to manage each individual to make sure that they are able and ready when they are called upon to perform as we will be playing two games back to back and then a rest day."

Guyana, Puerto Rico and Bermuda are the other countries that will be competing for the two available slots in the hockey competition at next year's CAC Games.

Bartlett is also hoping that the Kingston qualifier could spark local interest in the sport.

"Having the tournament here, I'm hoping it will help younger persons to be involved and not just players but I think we are shopping for persons to come in and help financially so we can further develop and get more exposure for the players," she said.

The event, which is being held under the auspices of the Pan-American Hockey Federation, will also see men's competition.