You go Girlz!

Jamaica look to cap successful campaign with win against Cuba

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 02, 2018

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With qualification to a sixth CONCACAF Women's Championship already in the bag for Jamaica, the senior Reggae Girlz will be looking to close out the final-round CONCACAF Caribbean Women's Qualifiers on a high against Cuba inside the National Stadium today at 6:00 pm.

This will follow the curtain-raiser between Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda at 3:00 pm.

The Jamaicans are firmly placed at the top of the five-team play-off on nine points and victory again today will see them comfortably winning this Caribbean phase ahead of the CONCACAF Women's Championships in the United States from October 4-17.

Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, both on six points, are expected to join Jamaica as the top three finishers, as fourth-placed Bermuda, on three points, will have to beat the twin-island republic by three clear goals in order to stand a chance.

Antigua and Barbuda have already wrapped up their campaign without a point.

Three teams from the October championships will advance to the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup in France, with the fourth-placed team engaging a home-and-away intercontinental play-off with Argentina for qualification.

A come-from-behind 4-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Friday would have given the Hue Menzies-conditioned side a great deal of confidence going forward, and they are expected to be in high spirits for this contest which might be slightly less difficult.

Assistant Coach Andrew Price welcomed Friday's challenge, which he believed brought forth glimpses of the Reggae Girlz quality.

“We were glad for the test because the first two games we just went out there and executed. But we got the test against Trinidad and we showed our mettle and character,” Price told the Jamaica Observer.

“Being down, we told them that a game is two halves and all we have to do is come out and play well, and I think the two substitutions that we made with the two teenagers [Jody Brown and Giselle Washington] really made a big difference.

“We could have won by a lot more, but this is the type of stern test that we want heading into the United States and I still think the best is yet to come from this team,” he added.

Looking ahead to today's contest, Price pointed out that another victory will be on the cards as the coaching staff, which also includes Lorne Donaldson, have agreed on making a few changes to the starting line-up.

This after Menzies revealed to journalists that there will be more rotations, as they “brought 20 players here and 20 players are going to win”.

The team was taken through a light two-tier morning session at Stadium East field yesterday by Menzies and his assistants, with the starters from the previous match doing recovery work with Fitness Coach Will Hitzelberger. The substitutes were taken through tactical drills.

Sticking with their customary attacking 4-3-3 formation, the team will again see Sydney Schneider in goal with the back four expected to be Captain Konya Plummer, Lauren Silver, Toriana Patterson and Dominique Bond-Flasza, replacing siblings Allyson and Chantelle Swaby.

Giselle Washington is expected to come in for Christina Chang and will partner Marlo Sweatman and Chinyelu Asher in the midfield, while Ashleigh Shim could replace Deneisha Blackwood in the three-pronged attack likely to again feature Khadija Shaw and Trudi Carter.

“We decided very early that we are going to play 360 minutes and that is a lot of minutes to play within four games, so we were always thinking rotation and you are possibly going to see a rotated team,” Price shared.

He continued: “We want to keep a winning mentality; we want winning to become a habit and so we want to continue winning. So though we have qualified for the championships, we are not going to take our foot off the gas. So we are going to come out as good professionals and we are going to execute and go for win number four.

“That was our objective at the start of the tournament: to win all four games and this is the final one, so we have to go out there and get the job done.”

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