Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Coaches expect tougher task against B'dos

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
National senior footballer Alex Marshall (front) and teammates in a recent training session at the Excelsior High School on August 2.
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Local coaches Rudolph Speid and Vassell Reynolds expect a much tougher assignment when Jamaica's senior men's football team goes up against hosts Barbados this evening at 7:00 p.m.

Both coaches were impressed with the Reggae Boyz's 5-1 win over Grenada in their first of two friendlies at the Kirani James stadium in Grenada on Friday, with Peter-Lee Vassell leading the way with a brace while debutant Daniel Green, an own goal, and another from Chevone Marsh gave the Reggae Boyz the overwhelming result, but Reynolds and Speid think it will be tougher against the Bajans.

Rusea's High School and Montego Bay United coach Reynolds thought the Boyz performed creditably against Grenada with a young team, coupled with availability issues. "A lot of the players are young. Also, the coach (Theodore Whitmore) had to make some tactical changes very late because of players available. Technically, there is room for improvement, but it was a fair effort, and it's good we can go to the Caribbean, regardless of opposition, and score five goals. That was a positive for me," he said.

 

BREATH OF FRESH AIR

 

He said Vassell's display in midfield was a breath of fresh air. "Vassell is one player Whitmore stated he is really looking forward to. He's a creative midfielder that can create opportunities and score goals. He was the best performer on the night, not because he scored two goals, but it was good when he got on the ball. He tried a lot of stuff in terms of creating opportunities. So the future looks good where he is concerned.

"Whitmore has been searching for a player like that, and he has invested in Peter-Lee Vassell, and it is beginning to bear fruit in the future," he added.

Cavalier head coach Speid said it was an impressive result for an inexperienced squad. "It wasn't a hard game, but they are ready to play, and they look like they can move to the next step.

""When you have 20 players with less than 10 caps, it's going to be a problem, but the JFF has to continue giving these players more games," he said.

Although both coaches expect Jamaica to win tonight, they don't expect another walkover. "Based on history, it will be a tougher encounter. There are areas the coach must look to improve: the possession and the transition from defence to attack. So I expect it to be closer, but once we play an improved game from the Grenada match, we should win," Reynolds said.

Speid also anticipates a difficult match. "Barbados, traditionally, is a team difficult for us to beat. Barbados is better than Grenada. I expect Barbados will be harder, which is good, because the young players have to show the transition against better opponents. This is a good examination for the players playing for a spot in the [CONCACAF] Nation's League team and Ecuador game," he added.