Reggae Girlz plan to step it up against Bermuda
SANJAY MYERS Reporting from the CFU WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP In Trinidad & Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago — Jamaica senior women's football coach Merron Gordon is looking for an improved showing from his players when they take on Bermuda today in the Group A 2014 Caribbean Cup game at the Ato Boldon Stadium, starting at 4:00 pm Jamaica time.
In the second game of the double-header, Haiti oppose Puerto Rico at 6:15 pm Jamaica time.
The Reggae Girlz won their opening game against Puerto Rico on Tuesday by a 4-1 margin, but Gordon was left disappointed after a series of missed chances, in addition to what he described as an overall uninspired display.
After the Jamaicans had a spirited practice session yesterday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Gordon expressed confidence that fans can expect a more accomplished display against Bermuda, losers to Haiti 1-5 in their first outing.
"The Girlz have reacted in a positive manner. They know I wasn't happy about the performance on Tuesday," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
"Yes, the three points are important, but at the same time, if we are thinking to qualify for the World Cup, that was a mediocre performance. I didn't like the game, I didn't like how we executed, so I told them my mind. They did some introspection and you could see the difference in training and you will see it in the match."
Gordon and his assistant coach, the experienced Wendell Downswell, both watched the Haitians dismantle Bermuda in Tuesday's late kick-off.
The Reggae Girlz head coach said Bermuda pose little threat once his team plays in the manner he is used to.
"As long as we execute we should win. The Bermuda team fights very hard to the last point, but they are not as talented as some teams. When you play teams that work hard together it can be a problem, so we have to play smart and dig deep," he reasoned.
While the Jamaicans were oftentimes wayward with their passing, they still managed to create — and squander — several gilt-edge scoring chances against the Puerto Ricans. More worryingly for some, they gave up a goal when an innocuous-looking, long range free kick from a central position floated beyond the team's defence and bounced into the goal.
The Jamaicans' concession of the goal against Puerto Rico was their first since re-entering senior international women's football. Before Tuesday, Jamaica had recorded 14-0 and 7-0 victories in competitive games against St Lucia and Dominican Republic in June, respectively.
Gordon was particularly peeved.
"The demeanour of the team caused that goal. We went out there flat. It was a lacklustre performance for me. Other people thought the team played well, but I know my team. A performance like that against any top team and we'll be in serious problems."
The Reggae Girlz will end their preliminary round campaign against main pre-tournament group rivals Haiti on Saturday.
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 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.