JFF seeking practice games for U-17s
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is in discussions with two Central American nations for friendly games ahead of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship that is set to begin later this month in Honduras.
"We are in negotiations with Central American teams to play two practice games. The discussions are at an advanced stage and the result should be known later this week," Raymond Grant, the JFF's general secretary, told The Gleaner yesterday morning.
Jamaica's Under-17 team is currently in camp for the CONCACAF Championship, which serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup that will be held in Chile from October 17 to November 8.
The CONCACAF Champion-ship will kick off on February 27.
Coach of the Jamaica Under-17 team Andrew Edwards expects the team to qualify.
"We have been in camp since January 9. The boys still attend school and then get picked up for training. However, the boys from the rural area are placed at Wolmer's Boys' and Calabar High during the camp," Edwards explained.
"We are comfortable but wish we had a better system with the school arrangement. The effort from the boys has been very good. Hence, we are very confident of giving a good account at the championship starting this month. The aim is to win the group and get an automatic spot."
Edwards added: "The JFF is working assiduously for international practice games and that would be very good for the team."
He also disclosed that Khadijah Richards, a sports psychologist, is working on the team's mental preparedness.
Twenty-three players are currently in camp and three overseas-based players are expected later this week. They are Dondre Bailey from Canada, Nicholas Brown from Maryland, United States; and Adam Oluken from Orlando City.
The final 20-man squad must be submitted by February 20.
"We have 26 players, with 16 already assured, so we need another four to finalise the team," the coach revealed.
The Jamaicans are placed in Group A alongside hosts Honduras, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America and Cuba.
The teams in Group B include Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St Lucia and Costa Rica.
The group winners will automatically advance to the FIFA World Cup, while the other four top-placed teams will play off for the other two spots.