Fri | Mar 24, 2023

More penalty shootout practice an option

Young Boyz complete under-17 prep vs Trinidad today

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2023 | 1:10 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Merron Gordon
Merron Gordon

Could more penalty shootout practice be on the cards for the young Reggae Boyz?

National under-17 head coach Merron Gordon says that it could be an option as Jamaica face Trinidad in the final game of their two-match international series today at 4 p.m. at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).

Jamaica defeated Trinidad 1-0 in their first game on Saturday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex thanks to Orane Watson’s 77th-minute strike after a period of consistent pressure from Gordon’s team. An added component to the game was a penalty shootout warm-up with the Concacaf Under-17 Championship fast approaching. Jamaica won the shootout 4-3.

Gordon said that having another penalty shootout would be an option for today’s second game as he wants to give the team as much practice in that scenario as possible.

“It depends on how the game is played. At STETHS we might have some lighting issues but we will see,” Gordon said. “We are going into a tournament and at some stage we will be in the knockout phases and this is the best way to get the practice in. Doing it at training is not the real thing. Walking from the half-line to the goal is the real pressure. And I think we got it right (on Saturday).”

Jamaica will start their campaign next Sunday against Cuba as they hope to qualify for their first Under-17 World Cup tournament since 2011. Today’s match against the young Soca Warriors will serve as their final game before they leave for Guatemala for the tournament. Gordon says that he has been pleased about the progress of the team during their month-long training camp.

“These are under-17 players. Every day you continue to build them, every day they get better and every day they improve and I have seen a lot of improvement over the past month-plus with these boys both physically, mentally and tactically and that is the most important thing,” Gordon said.

Gordon said previously that he hadn’t settled on a starting 11 for the tournament and is using the two games to assess the 20-man squad as much as possible before he settles on a starting lineup for their tournament opener against Cuba.