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Positive results - Reggae Girlz look to impress at home against Chile

Published:Thursday | February 28, 2019 | 12:17 AMLivingston Scott /Gleaner Writer

Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies might be using the two-match friendly series against Chile to test and tweak his team ahead of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, but that does not mean he is expecting anything but positive results for his girls in their upcoming assignments.

Jamaica (53rd) will face the 38th-ranked Chileans at the National Stadium tonight at 7:00 p.m. before meeting again on Sunday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Today’s game will be preceded by a match between the U-23 Olympic team and a KSAFA Invitational team, which starts at 5:00 p.m.

Menzies, who has included six new players in the team, explains that testing different formations and combinations forms a key part of their preparations for their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign and expects the Jamaicans’ quality and style to counter the South Americans’ possession-based approach.

“We have a group of 24 players. We are going to play everybody. That’s how we operate when we bring a squad in, they get to play. We are going to look at various formations because we don’t want to be locked into just one formation, and besides formation, we are looking at combinations of players,” Menzies shared.

“We have depth, and we have a lot of players who can play various positions, so we didn’t bring position players. We brought footballers as we believe that is more important as we get closer to the World Cup, as will get more tactical, so we need footballers. But we plan to start and see the combinations in one game, then for the next game we will flip combinations.”

Even though he is still assessing players for the final World Cup squad, Menzies feels positive about the the group he currently has at his disposal and anticipates the Girlz will put on a good show in their first games on home soil since their historic qualification to the showpiece event.

“I feel very good about this group (of players). We feel comfortable. We are in Jamaica and we want to show the product that we have. Chile is the typical South American style, where they play out of the back, they have a very good group, but it should suit us the way they play because of our athleticism on the counter, so we will run at them a little bit,” Menzies said.

Early promise

However, the coach believes that the new invitees like former Arsenal player Laura Jackson, Kayla McKoy, Channel Hudson-Marks, Cachet Lue, Tiffany Cameron, and Havana Soluan,have shown early promise and he expects good things from them on debut against the Chileans.

“Jackson will give us strength in the number six role. We felt we needed a bit more depth, Lauren Silver has done well there, but she (Jackson) has a little more range, so we brought her to help with that situation. Kayla Mckoy came to the last camp. She ended up training with me in the last week in Florida, and she is very good. The mindset on that girl is unbelievable. We now have a little more depth at the back with Cachet Lue as she has really improved, and her transition is very good,” said Menzies.

Chile will look to María José Rojas and Yanara Aedo to lead their attack while Claudia Soto and goalkeeper Christaine Endler of Paris Saint Germain (PSG) will marshal the defence.

Jamaica will face another South American team at the World Cup, with Brazil joining them as well as Australia and Italy in Group C.