Downswell confident U20s will advance
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
A strong Jamaica Under-20 squad is set to leave the island today for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) men's second-round qualifiers, which will be held in Guyana from October 4 to 11.
The junior Reggae Boyz are scheduled to play their first match against Grenada on Wednesday, then tackle the US Virgin Islands two days later. The Jamaicans will oppose the hosts in their final game on Sunday.
The top team in the group will advance to the CONCACAF final round of 12 teams, and the second-place team will play the runners-up of the other group for a spot in the final round.
"We are pretty confident," said Wendell Downswell, head coach of Jamaica. "However, our preparations were severely hampered because of the adverse weather conditions and also the challenges that we had getting the youngsters from their respective schools for training."
Downswell is very optimistic that they will get through this round, based on the quality of players in his squad.
The Jamaican team includes the experienced pair of defenders Oniel Fisher and midfielder Devon Williams, who have both represented the senior Reggae Boyz.
"We have a very good all-round team because defensively we are quite solid and offensively we have some quality players and so I believe this a well-balanced team," said Downswell, who is also the coach of Digicel Premier League outfit, Reno.
Downswell noted that despite being very confident, they would not be taking any of their opponents lightly.
"I think all these teams are good teams and so we just have to make sure that we go out there and play hard to win these games," he said.
Downswell continued: "I think that on tradition, Grenada should be our toughest opponent, along with the host team, Guyana, because they will have their home crowd behind them cheering them on."
The full squad is: Neco Brett, Sergio Campbell, Kevon Farquharson, Gregory McKogg, Ricardo Morris, Allan Ottey, Rohan Roye, Carl Brian Reid, Kemar Lawrence, Oniel Fisher, Devon Williams, Jhamie Hyde, Ackeemo Palmer, Nickoy Christian, Kemar Foster, Paul Kieron Wilson, Craig Foster, Ewan Grandison.
The CONCACAF Finals will be held in Guatemala in March, 2011.