'Girlz were composed, tactically aware,' says coach Gordon
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago — The Senior Reggae Girlz coach Merron Gordon believes the 2-0 win over Haiti on Saturday set the Jamaicans well ahead of tomorrow's final of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women's Cup.
The hard-fought victory, orchestrated by strikes from
Jodi-Ann McGregor and Donna-Kay Henry in either half, kept them top of Group A and booked their spot in the championship match.
"I think it boiled down to the team that focused the longest," Gordon told the Jamaica Observer.
"It was a tough game because the Haiti team is well coached. They are tactically aware, technically aware, physically strong, and mentally strong. It was a true test for our girls, but we stuck to the task and remained composed and tactically aware."
In the CFU final, the Girlz will face either Martinique or hosts Trinidad & Tobago, who were scheduled to clash in the Group B decider late yesterday.
Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, and Martinique have already progressed to the CONCACAF stage of World Cup qualifying set for the United States in October.
Gordon insisted that the win over Haiti is testimony to the Reggae Girlz team ethic and squad depth, pointing out that top striker Shakira Duncan failed to get on the scoresheet, yet Jamaica won comfortably in the end.
"Shakira Duncan wasn't at her best and to score two goals without her shows how deep we are as a team. The teamwork was our secret today," he said.
The Reggae Girlz had already won their two opening games in the preliminary round, recording respective convincing 4-1 and 9-1 victories over Puerto Rico and Haiti.
Gordon said the games provided the ideal platform for their quest to win the Caribbean Cup.
"I just want to keep the girls focused. We had good games in the first round to prepare us for the final, so the Girlz know what's coming up in the next game. It will be hard like it was against Haiti, or even harder," he warned.
Against the Haitians on Saturday, the Jamaicans attacked from the outset, forcing the Haitians back deep into their defensive third. And McGregor gave the Reggae Girlz the lead in the eighth minute when her free kick from 20 yards bended past the outstretched hands of diving Haitian goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus.
Haiti eventually settled and largely matched the Jamaicans for much of the game, but the Reggae Girlz took control late in the encounter and locked up the three points when Duncan and Henry combined well for the latter to bang home from close range in the 81st minute.