Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Duckie confident of U-23 challenge

Published:Saturday | May 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Newly appointed national under-23 head coach Donovan Duckie believes that he has the experience and organisational skills to develop a competitive unit that can challenge for one of the two available CONCACAF spots for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Jamaica has failed miserably at trying to qualify for football at the Olympics. However, recently, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) committed over $8 million to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in an effort to boost qualification efforts. And Duckie believes his experience and the expertise of director of football Wendell Downswell and national senior team coach Theodore Whitmore can help them challenge for one of the two spaces.

"I'm ecstatic! It's overwhelming (being named under-23 coach). I have to thank the powers that made it possible, but I am no newcomer to the international game. I have worked at under-17 (assistant) with the late David Hunt. I was under-20 head coach when Rene Simoes was here, and I spent a lot of time with Bora Milutinovic, and I have done many international courses," he reasoned

"My experience as an individual speaks for itself. In terms of organising a team, it is no secret what I bring, and I know they (players) will be organised and tactically aware," he said.




He said that the programme they intend to implement will be crucial to their success, and he is looking to the national coach and director of football to help achieve the objective.

"Other than me, the head coach, there is the director of football, Downswell, who is responsible for the programme, and national coach (Whitmore), who has oversight for the programme. So he (Whitmore) will work alongside me and Downswell," Duckie revealed

He also creditted Whitmore for his vision when assembling the senior national squad for their recent two-game stint in the region.

"Whitmore must also be given credit because recently, we (senior team) travelled with 50 per cent of our squad being under-23," he noted.

Jamaica has found it tough trying to manoeuvre this qualification tournament over the years, but Duckie, coach of beaten Red Stripe Premier League finalists Waterhouse, is positive that they will have a much more creditable effort this time.

"As coach, you have to be optimistic. The thought of losing, I have never harboured in my life. The most important thing is preparation, and with good preparation comes the element of luck. Then the results will come," he stated.