Sports

Reggae Girlz eager to get it on with Barbados

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

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The over one-month long preparation phase of Jamaica's senior women's team will be tested as they get the ball rolling in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women's Challenge Series against Barbados at the UWI/ JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence today.

Match time is 3:30 pm.

The pool of local-based players, which is being guided by assistant coach Andrew Price over the past five weeks, are expected to prove a handful for their young Barbadian opponents, who were hammered 7-0 by Cuba in the opening Group B contest on Wednesday.

Price, who has been guiding a weekend training regime which aims to identify new talent and sharpen those who are familiar with the national set-up, believes is team is now primed for action and should give a good account of themselves.

“I think our preparation is good and I think we are ready. Based on what I saw (in Wednesday's game) the Cuban team seems pretty organised, but playing Barbados in the first game will allow us to get ourselves acclimatised to international football because we haven't played two years now,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The coach, who is one of the assistants to Head Coach Hue Menzies, said the upcoming match will provide his players with valuable exposure and should serve as a launching pad for the renewed efforts in the female version of game.

Price added that the Challenge Series will also play a critical role in preparations as they fine-tune ahead of the Concacaf's World Cup-qualifying play-offs set to start in May.

The current squad will see the likes of Kevena Reid, Sherice Clarke and Gabrielle Gayle, who were all a part of the Under-20 team that contested the CONCACAF tournament earlier this year on display as they seek to secure a spot on the senior team to Haiti next month.

“I think this exposure is very good for these young ladies as they have not played any international football in a long time. So getting this kind of international exposure will do them well and we just want to go out there and be positive and get some experience and victories along the way, because what we are doing is looking at the players that we believe will be best suited for the tournament,” Price noted.

“So it (the Challenge Series) gives these local girls an opportunity to go up against good international opponents, but we have worked hard and we are prepared and we are just going to go in there and do our best and play some good football,” he added.

At press time, Price had not decided on his final 11 to start the game.

Meanwhile, Barbados's Head coach Thomas Jordan is optimistic that his unit can bounce back from their dismal opener with a positive result against their hosts.

“We were outclassed on Wednesday because we have a unit that has not been together for long and we are just trying to get them together and I thought that that was the main reason why we didn't perform as well as we ought to,” Jordan told the Observer.

“But we are looking forward to the Jamaica game because we always like to play against a Jamaican side. They will give us a good game as well; we are here to learn, so we will try and get whatever we can from the game.

“We are just going to have a talk with the girls to ensure that we will go at the game with a positive attitude and I hope that we will get an improved performance and hopefully we will get a positive result,” he added.

Jamaica will close against Cuba on Sunday at the Waterhouse Mini-Stadium.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, who were due to compete in the group, withdrew leaving the three teams to vie for top honours.

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