Men's hockey team target semis at CAC Games
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
With less than a week to fine-tune preparations, Jamaica's men's and women's hockey teams are maintaining high hopes of putting in good performances at the Central American and the Caribbean (CAC) Games, which take place in Veracruz, Mexico from November 14-30.
Nicholas Brown, coach of the men's team, is optimistic his players can make it through the rounds and into the knockout stage.
"I am hopeful that we will reach the semi-finals," Brown said.
"It won't be easy for us, but I see at least a semi-final spot for us," he continued.
The coach noted that the players' mindset, confidence and team spirit have grown tremendously since their performance in the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) World League qualifying series, which the island hosted at the at Mona hockey field, last month.
They finished second behind top-ranked Trinidad and Tobago.
"We are now looking forward to CAC and working to achieve big performances, but we won't get over-exuberant," Brown outlined.
He added that the team is working to shake off niggling injuries picked up at the FIH tournament.
Jamaica's men will leave for Mexico next Wednesday and hold their first training session the following Saturday. Their campaign will open against tournament hosts Mexico on Sunday, November 16, after which they will play Barbados on the 20th.
Meanwhile, the women's team is looking ahead with cautious optimism, after being drawn in a tough Group A against higher-ranked Barbados, Mexico and Cuba.
Three players have been added to the unit, Suewana Gordon, Shanna-Kaye Tulloch and Tashana Edwards.
The women's team is set to leave the island on Wednesday and will bow into action against Cuba on Saturday.
They will be hoping to put in a more competitive showing and improve significantly on their bottom-place finish at the FIH World League qualifiers last month, which they ended with one point.