Confident Girlz brace for Haiti clash
SANJAY MYERS Reporting from the CFU WOMAN’S CHAMPIONSHIP In Trinidad & Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago — Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz enter today's Caribbean Cup Group A decider versus rivals Haiti needing only a point to advance to the championship match, but head coach Merron Gordon says he will not set out his team for a draw.
The teams meet at the Ato Boldon Stadium, starting at 5:15 pm Jamaica time. In the opening game of the double-header, Bermuda oppose Puerto Rico at 3 o'clock in a game of little consequence.
The Jamaicans have six points — the same as Haiti — but lead by virtue of a superior goal difference. Both Puerto Rico and Bermuda are without a point.
Jamaica and Haiti have dominated the group thus far and have already confirmed their places at the CONCACAF stage of World Cup qualifying. Jamaica beat Puerto Rico 4-1 in their opening game before demolishing Bermuda in a 9-1 rout. Haiti recorded 5-1 and 4-0 victories over Bermuda and Puerto Rico, respectively.
"We are confident of topping this group and we will be positive," Gordon told the Jamaica Observer.
"The Girlz are motivated and we are building... the first game wasn't so good. The second game was better, so the Haiti game will be even better for us. Once our defensive line comes out concentrating for 90-plus minutes and our attackers are putting away the chances we will win this game."
Richard Adrien, the Haitian manager, said his team enjoyed good pre-tournament preparation and have spent a lot of time together, and though exuding confidence, he said they are wary of the "tough" Jamaican outfit.
Yesterday, the Reggae Girlz had a pool session at the team hotel aimed at relaxation and recuperation ahead of today's key clash against the physical and speedy Haitians.
Jamaica's assistant coach Wendell Downswell, as well as Gordon saw the Haitians in action against Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Gordon is not overly concerned regarding the threat that they could pose.
"The Haitian team is quite organised and you can see they are well coached, but as long as our girls come out and execute, I have no doubt we can beat them. On the other hand, if we come out flat, we can also be on the danger end," he said.
Group B comprises hosts Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis and Martinique.
The top team in each of the two groups automatically advances to the championship match, while the second-placed teams will play off for overall third place. However, those top four countries progress to the CONCACAF stage of World Cup qualifying in the United States in October this year.
The Women's FIFA World Cup will be held next year in Canada.