Thu | Sep 21, 2023

Young Girlz vs Canada on today

Published:Friday | May 26, 2023 | 1:21 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Shaneil Buckley (right) goes past a Honduran player during the final Group E game of their Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Championship qualifier in Nicaragua last month.
Jamaica’s Shaneil Buckley (right) goes past a Honduran player during the final Group E game of their Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Championship qualifier in Nicaragua last month.

Two days later than expected, Jamaica will finally get their Under-20 Concacaf Women’s Championship campaign under way when they take on Canada today at the Estadio Felix Sanchez in the Dominican Republic at 2 p.m, Jamaica time.

The young Reggae Girlz had an unexpected extra day to think about how to approach the regional powerhouses as Wednesday’s scheduled opener was postponed because of inclement weather and a waterlogged field. The match was delayed for three hours before officials deemed that the game could not be played. The conditions also had ramifications for the other game in the group, with the United States and Panama game also being postponed to later this afternoon.

What has not changed is the approach that the team is taking in order to get off to the best possible start against the Canadians in a tough group according to Jamaica Football Federation technical director Wendell Downswell.

“We have to make sure we are solid defensively and offensively and do what we have to do to score goals. Our responsibility is to manage these players throughout the tournament because that is of critical importance. Our intention is for everybody to be ready to turn up and give their best,” Downswell said in an interview with The Gleaner on Wednesday.

Although they will depend on the attacking strengths of Natoya Atkinson, Shaneil Buckley and Davia Richards, Downswell has emphasised the need for a complete performance.

“They will stand out because of their individual brilliance, but it is a team effort. That is something that we truly emphasise. Just like we did in the qualifiers last month, many people doubted us because of the superior goal difference, but we knew what our mission was, and we went out there and did the job,” Downswell said.

Jamaica will go into the game with happy memories from their last meeting with Canada in the Under-20 championship when they won 3-1 in 2020, which allowed them to win their group. Downswell is confident that the team is ready to fight for their place in next year’s Under-20 World Cup

“You will see that fighting spirit from the Jamaica players. They will fight gallantly, and that is something that we are happy about,” Downswell said.

The revised schedule will see Jamaica face the United States on Sunday before wrapping up group play against Panama on Tuesday. The top two teams in the group will advance to the semi-finals