Wed | Sep 19, 2018

'No camp, no problem' - JFF boss not worried by lack of Reggae Girlz pre-WCup qualifier get-together

Published:Thursday | September 13, 2018 | 12:12 AM
Reggae Girl Ashleigh Shim (left) comes under a challenge from Cuban midfielder Ollancy Arrebato Gainza during their CONCACAF Caribbean Women's Qualifier held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday September 2. Jamaica won 6-1.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Michael Ricketts, does not think the abandonment of a proposed training camp for the Reggae Girlz to fine-tune preparation ahead of the October 4 to 17 CONCACAF final-round World Cup qualifying tournament in the United States will put the team at any distinct disadvantage.

Ricketts argued that most of the other teams in the tournament are faced with a similar dilemma, so even though they may not get the intense preparation they were hoping for, they will compete on a level playing field with their rivals.

"The challenge is the availability of the players. A number of them are in colleges across the US. But this (unavailability of players) is a common factor among all the teams in the tournament, so we will not be too much at a disadvantage, because what has happened to us is what is happening to the other teams," Ricketts commented.

Assistant coach to the senior Reggae Girlz, Andrew Price, is in agreement and expects the team to arrive in good condition. He believes they will have enough time to work on tactical weaknesses.

"We have to understand that it is a nuance of (international) football, whether male or female. You don't get access to players for an extended period of time prior to competition, and it is just something that we have to deal with and we are going to have to deal with it in the best way possible," said Price.

"A lot of the girls are already in their college or professional season and are in good condition, and so it is just about adjusting a few tactical things when they get in before the tournament. They have been in preparation from May this year and every tournament and every camp that we have is in preparation, and [is geared] to give the team the best shot it can have to qualify for France 2019," Price added.

 

BEST INTEREST OF TEAM

 

Meanwhile, Ricketts said assembling the squad just ahead of the tournament would be in the team's best interest.

"It's going to be difficult to get them away from school. The coaches would love to get them into the (United) States a week before the start of the competition. If we can get everybody together, or as many of them into the States together a little earlier so we can train together, that would be ideal," he stated.

The Reggae Girlz have been drawn with Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba in Group B of the final-round tournament. Group A consists USA, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com