Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Step up in Plummer’s absence! – Menzies

Published:Tuesday | July 16, 2019 | 12:22 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

As Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz get ready for the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to August 11, they have been hit with the news that captain and central defender Konya Plummer will miss the tournament through injury.

However, head coach Hue Menzies, who will also miss a number of players from his FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, says this is a great opportunity for him to test his pool of players and give them valuable experience.

“We just got an injury report that Konya Plummer will not be there, so we will replace her with another player. I have already told them (Jamaica Football Federation) who I want, so I am waiting for that to be confirmed,” he revealed.

Although Plummer’s leadership will be missed, Menzies believes he has others in the team who can lead, and says it will be time for one of those players to step up to the plate.

“We have worked on that. Konya just flips the coin because we have a bunch of leaders, so someone else will step up,” he stated.

The absence of the Jamaican captain from the heart of the Reggae Girlz defence is also cause for concern, but Menzies says in first-time invitee, Rachel Smith, he has a competent replacement.

“Rachel Smith is a new player, who hasn’t been in the programme yet, but she has been on our radar,” he said. “It’s just that she has been out this year on injury. She would have played in the World Cup, no doubt, but with her injury, we couldn’t take the risk. She is now available, so we are going to bring her in.”

He said it was also a chance to test the depths of the player pool and give less experienced players some international game time.

“Obviously, it’s not a FIFA-sanctioned date, so the European-based players with their clubs cannot come. So we have to go into the pool of players. We are only allowed to take 18, so we picked 18, but it’s a group we feel we have to rotate with the pool we have.

“Hopefully, we can get a medal. It’s hard to say what we are going to do, as it’s a young team and the biggest problem we had at the World Cup was experience. So we have to start to give our players experience, but it’s hard to say how we are going to do. It’s a good team, and I am not going to say we are going to win every game, but we know we are going there to perform,” he said.

The Reggae Girlz’s Pan Am Games campaign gets started against Mexico at Estadio Universidad San Marcos on Sunday, July 28.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com