Sport

Girlz confident going up against little-known Puerto Rico

Reggae Girlz prepare to meet Puerto Rico in CFU play-offs

SANJAY MYERS CFU WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP in Trinidad & Tobago Reporting from the

Tuesday, August 19, 2014    

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COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago — Jamaica women's football team will kick-start their Caribbean Cup campaign when they take on Puerto Rico in Group A action today at the Ato Boldon Stadium, starting at 4:00 pm Jamaica time.

The other teams in the group — Haiti and Bermuda — will clash in the second game of the double-header at the venue, beginning at 6 o' clock.

Jamaica's head coach Merron Gordon, who said the squad is injury-free, was pleased with the showing from the Girlz in yesterday's hour-long training session.

"It was a good evening of training and the Girlz looked sharp. I feel confident that, come match time, they will step up and we'll get a positive result," he told the Jamaica Observer.

The Jamaica squad indeed looked enthusiastic throughout the session as they went through passing routines and practised defending against and attacking on set pieces under the guidance of Gordon and his assistant, the veteran coach Wendell Downswell.

Gordon admitted he does not know much about the Puerto Ricans, but he insisted it is a must-win encounter for his team.

"The thing about women's football is that, aside from the top teams in the world, you can't find tapes on anyone. Right now I can say we don't know anything about them. But as my mentor coach Downswell always tells me, "play every game like it's your last", we are going out with all guns blazing because we need those three points."

The Reggae Girlz will meet Bermuda on Thursday, before facing main rivals Haiti two days later.

The Jamaicans slammed St Lucia and hosts Dominican Republic 14-0 and 7-0, respectively, to top Group Five in the Caribbean Football Union qualifiers in June.

Puerto Rico were second to Martinique in Group Two due to an inferior goal difference.

In practice games played in Florida, United States, during the Jamaicans' two-week preparation camp, the Girlz enjoyed positive results, scoring 4-1 and 9-0 wins against Eastern Florida State College and Broward Community College, respectively.

At the 2014 Women's Caribbean Cup, the top team in each of the two groups automatically advances to the championship match, while the second-placed teams will play-off for third place. However, those top four countries progress to the CONCACAF Championships in the United States in October.

Group B comprises hosts Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, and Martinique.

Jamaica's probable starting XI — Nicole McClure, Monique Pryce, Sherona Forrester, Alicia Wilson, Sashana Campbell, Nicole Campbell-Green, Christina Murray, Donna-Kay Henry, Shaneka Gordon, Alexa Allen, Shakira Duncan.

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