Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sports
KANSAS CITY, Missouri:
Jamaica's Under-17 women's football team is aiming to top its group, while seeking qualification to next year's World Cup Finals.
The draw for the finals took place on Monday at the Wyndham hotel in Montego Bay, the city where the CONCACAF eight-team finals will take place from Wednesday, October 30 to Saturday, November 9. Matches will be played at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Two groups equally split will contest the round-robin preliminary phase of the finals, with the top two moving on to the semi-finals, from which the winners will make the final and automatically seal a place in next year's junior women's World Cup.
Jamaica were drawn in Group A alongside Mexico, El Salvador and Haiti and will kick off the tournament against El Salvador on October 30.
Vin Blaine, the Jamaica team's head coach, is satisfied with the draw.
"I think we got a good draw," noted Blaine, who is here as assistant head coach of Jamaica's senior men's national team, which is also involved in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, with an upcoming game against their United States counterparts on Friday.
"We got Mexico, El Salvador and Haiti. We've to back ourselves now to get to the semi-finals from that group, in the top two," he continued, in reference to the Under-17s.
"Our aim is to win the group and see if we can play second place on the other side where we have the USA, Canada, Guatemala and Trinidad (and Tobago)."
In spite of his optimism, Blaine admitted not knowing two of their Group A opponents.
"We don't know anything about the El Salvador team or the Haiti team, but based on some of the results I have seen with them playing against other teams, I think we should be able to get by.
"But I think it's a good draw overall for us," observed Blaine.
There have been three previous CONCACAF Under-17 women's Finals. The United States won two, including the last, while Canada won the other. The defending champions play Caribbean contenders Trinidad and Tobago in their opening match on October 31.
The FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup Final will take place in Costa Rica next year.