Wed | Jan 20, 2021

Girlz hunt first PanAm win

Published:Saturday | August 3, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica’s female footballers will look to end their Pan American Games campaign on a winning note when they face Paraguay in their final Group A match today at the San Marcos Stadium in Lima, Peru, at 1:00 p.m.

The Reggae Girlz have no chance of advancing to the semi-finals following back-to-back defeats against Mexico and Colombia in their previous games.

Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies is expected to rotate the line-up but has not changed his overall mindset of ­evaluating the young talent on display as he continues to build on the programme’s foundations.

“We’ll have some changes in the line-up, but it’s just going deeper in the bench and resting certain players because some of them have played two games, so we have to watch their loads,” Menzies said.

“(There is) no different approach than what we came here (for). We have a young group of players, and we want to put them in some difficult situations to make them get the experience. Nothing changes from day one till now,” he added.

Paraguay have played themselves back into contention of qualifying for the semi-finals after a shocking win against Mexico, which sees them tied with Colombia on four points each. Colombia lead the group on the virtue of a superior goal difference, with Mexico in third place with three points and Jamaica rooted to the bottom, having failed to pick up a point from their two games.

Paraguay can qualify with a win or a draw. Mexico will need to win their game against Colombia to guarantee a semi-final berth.

There have been positives from the Pan American Games experience from the infusion of young talent that was selected, particularly the play of 21-year old right back Jadya Pelaia-Hylton.

WEAKNESS IDENTIFIED

“We have been successful in ­identifying a [solution for a] weakness that we needed in the World Cup, and I think we probably identified that ­person. So that aspect of it has been great,” ­commented Menzies.

Menzies will hope that the young Jamaicans will be up to the challenge as they sign off from their Pan American Games experience.

“We don’t go out there to play. We go out there to win. We are going to have to play well because Paraguay has a good team. As far as them winning the group, if we can prevent that then we are just going to go out and give it the best effort that we can,” he said.

He will be evaluating the squad to see who will be selected in the 18-player squad for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers later this year.

Meanwhile, results in yesterday’s events were unfavourable as Dahlia Palmer finished third in the second heat of the Keirin Women first-round Heat 2 cycling event held earlier yesterday. Her finish was not good enough to qualify for the next round, and Palmer could not improve when she placed third in the first heat Repechage round to classify for the athlete rankings. Palmer contested the seventh- to 12th-place race yesterday evening at the Velodrome.

The men struggled in day one of the men’s Skeet event qualifying as Christian Sasso and Shaun Barnes placed 25th and 28th, respectively. Sasso and Barnes will look for improved performances when day two of qualification continues today.

D. W.