Best 23 players for World Cup, says Menzies

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Monday, December 17, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The coaching staff of the Word Cup-bound Reggae Girlz will be looking to strengthen the team as they prepare for what will be the biggest stage when they go to the Fifa Women's World Cup in France next year.

Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to qualify for the Fifa Women's World Cup after placing third in Concacaf, a confederation that includes the world's number one ranked team, the United States.

Hue Menzies, head coach of the team, told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday that they would be seeking to add more quality and depth to the team.

“We want to go to the biggest stage in the world with the best squad and we want to represent with the best players available and we will be inviting other players without a doubt,” he shared following a reception honouring members of the team with keys to the city of Montego Bay.

Menzies said they had already identified some players who they think might be able to help improve the team.

“We have spoken to some players and we will bring them in to evaluate them; we feel like if they are capable of joining this team and represent Jamaica they will be added. Obviously we need more dynamism in the midfield and some more depth up top,” he declared.

The tactician, who along with assistant Lorne Donaldson, was introduced to the women's programme in 2015, also revealed that plans are afoot to engage a few practice games against quality opponents.

Jamaica, ranked at 53, have been drawn alongside number-six ranked Australia, number-10 ranked Brazil and number-16 ranked Italy in Group C for the June 7 to July 7 tournament.

Jamaica's campaign will begin on June 9 when they face Brazil at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France. They will then travel to Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on June 14 for battle against Italy, before concluding the group phase on June 18 against top-ranked Australia in Grenoble.

“We have a mission to accomplish and so we will have a training camp in January; obviously we have to look at a lot of players because we want to bring the best 23 players to France to compete.

“We have a few practice games in our plans; obviously we want to look at similar opponents, so we will be playing against Brazil, so hopefully we can get a South American team and maybe new Zealand and possibly a European team. We have already contacted them and we are just waiting on the federation to approve things,” Menzies shared.

Meanwhile, Concacaf's top brass, world number one and defending champions United States were drawn in Group F alongside Thailand, Chile and Sweden, while number-five ranked Canada will contest Group E with Cameroon, New Zealand and Netherlands.

Following the group stages, the top two teams will automatically progress to the Round of 16 where they will be joined by the four best third-placed teams. From there, teams will then progress to the quarter-final to battle for semi-final berths.

The final of the Women's World Cup is scheduled for July 7 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

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