Wed | Sep 27, 2023

Gordon moving forward without overseas firepower

Published:Saturday | January 28, 2023 | 1:07 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Under-17 striker Ashton Gordon (left) battles with Courton Wright of Vere United during their practice game at the Wembley Centre of Excellence on Thursday. Vere United won 2-0.
Jamaica Under-17 striker Ashton Gordon (left) battles with Courton Wright of Vere United during their practice game at the Wembley Centre of Excellence on Thursday. Vere United won 2-0.

National under-17 coach Merron Gordon says he is going ahead with his plans without three top talents for next month’s Concacaf Under-17 Championship in Guatemala.

Birmingham City striker Cameron Eubank along with Rangers FC player Zak Lovelace and Los Angeles FC Academy player Kyrome Lumsden were expected to be a part of the national team, but they have not yet secured documentation to represent the country with the February 1 deadline swiftly approaching to submit the final 20-man squad.

The Gleaner reached out to coach Gordon on Thursday, and he made it clear that he will be planning without those players in mind, as the team gets ready to face Cuba in their first encounter on February 12.

“It is a sad situation that we are faced with because some of these players were waiting to see if they are going to make the USA team or the England team and then we are second choice,” said Gordon.

Gordon does, however, have the services of some US-based players including attacker Ashton Gordon who plays for Atlanta United Academy and former USA under-15 midfielder Aaron Hurge.

For Gordon, the aim is to prepare the players that he has at his disposal as best as possible.

“I am not really thinking about missing players, we are confident in what we have. We are aiming to top the group, and if we don’t top the group, we have a next plan which I will not share just yet.”

In the meantime, football analyst Simon Preston who has been following the young Reggae Boyz extensively says the absence of some of the top under-17 prospects will be a huge blow for the Jamaicans.

Preston outlined that Lovelace has had English League Cup and Championship experience with Millwall FC in England while Eubank is on the books at Birmingham City.

“Those players like Eubank and Lovelace are a big miss mainly because of their experience and the firepower that they would have brought to the team. Without a doubt they would have been in the final 20 and possibly a shoo-in to start in the final eleven as well,” said Preston.

Jamaica are in Group G with Costa Rica, Cuba and Guadeloupe with the top three nations from each of the four advancing to the round of 16, joining the four group winners from the 2022 Concacaf qualifiers.

The knockout games will be played in a single-match elimination format. The four semifinalists will qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru in November.