Sports

Gilbert heartened by positive signs in U-17 Girlz

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter
ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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Many, including the technical staff wanted to see and then analyse the progress of Jamaica's Under-17 Women's team when they went up against Costa Rica in two international friendly games.

Well, the young Reggae Girlz went down 0-3 to the Central Americans last Friday at the University of the West Indies/Jamaica Football Federation Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence, and showed a little improvement, which they lost 1-3, in the second and final game at Winchester Park, St George's College on Sunday.

But the performances from the Jamaicans left many wondering whether or not they made any significant improvement since their triumph in the first round of the CONCACAF Caribbean Football Union Qualifiers in St Vincent and the Grenadines in early August where they had defeated St Kitts and Nevis 10-0 before whipping the host nation 7-0 to top their group.

Despite the losses, Coach Xavier Gilbert said that there were a lot of positive showings from his young ladies.

Contrasting first and second halves in both games. The first half in the first game, I think we were able to create a number of opportunities as we were able to push them [Costa Rica] on the back foot but in the second half we allowed them to play their game

“A similar situation in the first half of the second game in which we allowed them to play their game as well. But in the second half we made some adjustments and it worked for us. We so much better in that half as we pressed them a lot and eventually we managed to score a goal.

“But there were positives from both games as we got to look at our players. A lot of the players got the exposure at this level, which they really need and hopefully that will do us well. It is a part of their learning curve as we really wanted to expose many of them,” Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer.

Gilbert said that one of the many things that he and his team looked at was the perfect playing position for his players in order to get the best effective combination.

“So we had put players in different positions as to look at the best combination for Jamaica and we saw some positives where that is concerned. Remember some of these players were overseas and they don't get to train and play as often as possible. So this was a good test and a good showing to see and sort out issues and problems that exist,” explained Gilbert.

This was a Jamaica made up entirely of domestic league players with little international experience. Gilbert knows this, as his crucial test comes in two weeks time when Jamaica goes up against Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, hosts Haiti, Puerto Rico and Cuba to defend their Under-17 Caribbean championships title.

“We just have to get the girls a little sharper, get them a little more pace and to move the ball a lot quicker. Exercise some composure in front of goal and to improve on their decision making in the final attacking third and concentrate for longer period. We have two weeks to do so and we will try to maximise that as best as possible,” ended Gilbert.

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