Mon | Mar 20, 2023

Young Reggae Girlz in preparation mode ahead of WC qualifier

Published:Friday | March 17, 2023 | 1:19 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter

WITH less than a month before the start of the 2023 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championships set to be hosted in Nicaragua, Jamaica’s young Reggae Girlz are currently in preparation mode in a bid to qualify for the 2024 FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup (WC) in Uzbekistan. Technical director Wendell Downswell, who has been putting the team through their paces, believes the current crop is good enough to book a spot at next year’s showpiece event.

“We had a camp last weekend and we will be having another this weekend, along with the hosting of continuous camps for the young ladies. The good thing about it is that a number of the players are busy engaged in the schoolgirls competition and the Jamaica Women’s Premier League,” he stated.

No stranger to international assignments, Downswell believes the coaching staff have a good crop of players at their disposal, adding that having former Under-17 and Under-20 players in the ranks adds to the experience within the team.

“We have a good cadre of players to choose from. Therefore it’s just for us to prepare them as best we can to get them to a satisfactory level. We have players who’ve transitioned from the Under-17 and Under-20, so we have a good blend,” Downswell added.

The veteran coach revealed that the current plans from a coaching standpoint are to help the girls understand the ‘principles of the game’.

The young Reggae Girlz are in Group E along with Honduras, Bermuda, Anguilla and French Guiana who they will face in the opening assignment on April 14. Downswell added that his team is well aware of the threat that could come from the Honduran team.

“We are looking at the fitness, tactics and getting them technically sound. We are also looking at helping them to understand the principles of the game and go through the rigours of attacking and defending. So far, we know a little about the Hondurans because they are the most formidable opposition (among the teams Jamaica will face) but there isn’t much (information) we can find about the other teams. So, after our first game, that would give us an insight as to how we would approach the remaining games,” Downswell said.