Gordon sees a third World Cup berth for U17s
NATIONAL UNDER-17 football coach Merron Gordon is confident the 20 players selected to make the trip to Guatemala for the Concacaf Under-17 Championships can take Jamaica to the Under-17 World Cup for the third time in the country’s history.
Gordon said the squad, named yesterday, is focused on going into the championships to top their group, which includes Costa Rica, Cuba and Guadeloupe, and then try to take one of the top four spots to book their place in Peru.
“We are very confident in the team selected. This is what we have to work with now. We are confident that the 20 boys we have chosen can really go ahead and put on a good showing that will push us across the line to make it to Peru.
“We are in a good frame of mind, positive frame of mind and we are not just training to compete, we are training to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.
“To make it to a World Cup is not an easy thing, but these boys have the grit and determination and I think they can push through.
“We have a very great opportunity to make it to this World Cup and we are just going there to put all hands on deck and work as hard as we can to qualify this team.”
After a month of intense training and assessment, Gordon said the team is close to where the coaching staff desires, and that their two upcoming friendly games against Trinidad and Tobago will provide even more data for their assessment.
“We have played against adults (Premier League teams). That really extended the boys. We saw some really good things. We saw some things we definitely need to work on. But little by little, we are fixing them and we got some good results.
“The team is growing day by day and hopefully we will see them against their age group this weekend. This will be a real test. They really did well against the Premier League teams. So this weekend will be a very good test for us against Trinidad,” said Gordon.
The team will be without their leader in defence, Javin Williams, who is out injured, but Gordon contends that they have adequate replacements.
“Even though we will miss Javin, we had a huge squad just in case we have things like this. We will have competent replacements,” said Gordon.
According to Gordon, the real work needs to take place at the other end of the pitch.
“We are creating chances. It is just to put some away and we are really sharpening up the boys.
“This morning [yesterday], we worked in front of goal and we will continue to do so until next week, and we think that will be corrected.
“Goal scorers are special and we have a few in the team. But we have been working hard to get the ball in the final third because it makes no sense to work on finishing when you’re not getting the ball up there.
“But in the last few games, we have got four to eight chances against top-quality teams.”
Jamaica U17 squad
Tawayne Lynch (GK), Joshua Grant (GK), Ahir Dixon, Alexavier Gooden, Malik Robinson, Adrian Reid, Malachi Molina, Nashon Bolt Barrett, Brandon Bent, Ronaldo Barrett, Jason Whyte, Jahmani Bell, Orane Watson, Dyllan John, Dusting Cohen, Nicholas Simmonds, Adrian Mahoney, Ashton Gordon, Everald Swaby, Jordan Mongatal.