Young Girlz hunt win in opener against Belize
JAMAICA'S Under-15 females will bow into action today in the inaugural CONCACAF Championship when they tackle Belize in the feature Group C encounter at the TE McField Sports Complex starting at 7:30 pm Jamaican time. In the curtain-raiser Costa Rica will play Anguilla at 5:30 pm
The Young Reggae Girlz, who looked lively in training, will start favourites to kick-start their campaign on a winning note with the top two teams from the group advancing to the quarter-final stage.
Both coaches are confident of winning, but at the end of the day, it will be the young girls that will decide the outcome in the 70-minute game that will allow five substitutions.
Jamaican coach Xavier Gilbert, who looked the more relaxed of the coaches when the Jamaica Observer spoke with them, said there won't be any complacency when they take on their lesser fancied opponent.
"It's just for us to go out there and execute. Our objective first and foremost is to win the game. We want to put them under some pressure, so we are going to try to score early," Gilbert said.
"We still don't know much about the Belize team, but I just want them to go out there and give a good account of themselves. The girls are happy and in good spirits.
"I was a little bit disappointed last night with the food, but after talking to them I got a feedback that no matter what happens they won't be distracted. They have a mission to accomplish and when kids are that young and can express that sort of sentiment, as a coach you definitely feel good," Gilbert added.
Belize head coach Alex Meralles is aware that Jamaica will be hard to beat but remain optimistic of upsetting the applecart.
"We are going to come out with the same energy as we are going to face all games and make sure we use our strength, which has always characterised us with our speed. I know that Jamaica has that too, but we will come out and use that and try to get on top early," said Meralles.
"Training has met our expectations so far. We have been trying with the time available and get everything right. I think we did what we could do with the time allotted or provided by our federation," he added.
Jamaica who clobbered Olympic Gardens 5-0 in their last practice match last week Thursday, seem to be a talented crop of youngsters led by captain and defender Rachel Walters of St Jago High School.
Gilbert will be using the 4-4-2 formation to be spearheaded by Tateyana Pitter of Excelsior High and she should be partnered by either Chavelle Henry of Cockburn Gardens or Monique Perrier of Immaculate High.
The extremely talented Shanhaine Nelson of St Jago, who has a sweet left foot, along with Wolmer's Girls' Sherice Clarke and Tarania Clarke of Excelsior will be in midfield. Captain Walters leads the defence line that consists of Peta Gay Dixon of Albert Town, Gabrielle Gayle of Spanish Town and Emily Caza, who is based in Canada. Oneilla Yearde of Wolmer's gets the nod in goal.