Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Hosts Jamaica will begin their quest for a spot in the Women's Under-17 World Cup next year when they face El Salvador at 6 p.m. in the CONCACAF qualifiers which kick off today at the Catherine Hall Complex in Montego Bay, St James.
In the first match of the double header in Group A, Mexico will meet Haiti at 3:30 p.m.
Jamaica are hunting a historic berth in the World Cup, to be staged in Costa Rica next March, and head coach Merron Gordon says that the team is prepared for what their opponents have to offer starting with today's game against El Salvador.
"We were trying to get information on the Internet about the El Salvador team, but could not. However, we know that women's teams normally play like their country's men's teams, so we are looking for tough game," Gordon told The Gleaner from the team's camp in Montego Bay yesterday.
"We are hosting the biggest part of the CONCACAF qualifiers, so we hope to make the nation proud. The team is fully focused on the task on hand," Gordon added.
"Our chances of advancing are as good as any of the other teams. We have had close results against Mexico in the past, and we have some experienced players who are coming over from the Under-20s that have bolstered the team," Gordon disclosed.
Jamaica's team will include four players who were members of the Women's Under-20 squad that won the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Championship here last Sunday.
Khadija Shaw, who scored the winning goal in that final against Trinidad and Tobago, was named captain of the Under-17 team. The other members of the squad are: Georgia Hughes, Robin-Ann Whittaker, Asia Lesat, Shana Ricketts, Felicia Davidson, Camille Nurse, Cheyann Wakeland-Heart, Amoya Johnson, Cachet Lue, Konya Plummer, Jessica Johnson, Deneisha Blackwood, Melissa Hamilton and Sashine Smith.
In the CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championships, the eight nations are placed in two groups. Jamaica are in Group A alongside El Salvador, Mexico and Haiti while the teams in Group B are Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and USA.
After the completion of the tournament, which runs until November 9, the top two nations will advance to the World Cup. Entry to all matches is free of cost.