Under-20 Girls earned respect, says Gilbert
Assistant coach of Jamaica's Under-20 female footballers, Xavier Gilbert, says the team did well at the recent CONCACAF qualifiers in Trinidad and Tobago, despite their failure to qualify for this year's FIFA World Cup in France in August.
Gilbert told The Gleaner shortly after his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday that the lack of practice matches and the inexperience of the squad were some of factors that resulted in the girls' failure to win a match at the tournament.
"To be honest, the performance wasn't bad," said Gilbert. "I think that we were very bad in the first game because we were very flat and we didn't show enough energy," he said.
"However, the other two games were much better because we should have won the game against Nicaragua, and we should have at least come away with a point against the United States," he said.
The junior Reggae Girlz were beaten 4-0 by Mexico, and 2-1 by the United States, before drawing 2-2 with Nicaragua in their final game.
Gilbert added that the Under-20 Girlz earned a lot of respect from the other coaches and players during the championships.
"We did earn a lot of respect in the tournament with the way we performed, and so I must give a lot of credit to the Girlz and the entire staff for the hard work that they have put in," Gilbert said.
The veteran coach noted that the young Reggae Girlz gained a lot experience from the tournament, and this will certainly help them to better prepare for the next Under-20 qualifiers.
"Eight players in the tourna-ment will be eligible for the next Under-20 championships, and the experience gained will be very important for future tournaments," Gilbert concluded.