Sport

Reggae Girlz look to rebound against Costa Rica

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia — Jamaica's senior women's football team, the Reggae Girlz, will seek to lift themselves with a positive result against Costa Rica to put themselves back in contention for top honours in the Central American and Caribbean Games, at the Estadio Julio Torres Moderno today, beginning at 4:00 pm.

They suffered a heartbreaking 1-2 loss against Venezuela in their opening game of the four-team group on Thursday, after missing two penalties — one inside the final minute.

The loss has left Jamaica bottom of the group without the point and an inferior goal difference to hosts Colombia, who also lost their opening match, but by a 1-0 margin to Costa Rica.

Winning results put both Venezuela and Costa Rica top of the group and Jamaica will be looking to make a swift rally with a win that could put them right back in the pickings for one of two spots available for the next round.

“It's always a setback when you've lost your first game, but that's why you play three games. So we've to just come back, take it one game at a time and take care of the games that we have,” assessed Lorne Donaldson, assistant coach of the Jamaica team.

The manner of the Reggae Girlz' loss was also critical, in that it left the players and coaching staff deflated because of the missed penalties by lead striker Khadija Shaw, plus a host of other chances and conceding the second goal against Venezuela off a goalkeeping error.

Donaldson remained confident about lifting his team's ego for the game.

Reflecting on Venezuela and Saturday's game, he said: “It's always a difficult job, but we've to understand that we're playing a team that's ranked. We'll get them up, I think they'll be ready to play next game.”

Part of that task involves not only motivating the team and their go-to player Shaw, but overcoming injuries suffered by the striker, that limited her mobility significantly, and her strike partner Jody Brown. Both players wrung their ankle on the astro turf, which had probably as much impact as searing temperatures and humidity, which measured around 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees, respectively.

This forced two water breaks and the major difference this time is there might be more wind in the afternoon, as that has largely been the case.

Donaldson said the heat was a “major factor”.

“The ground temperature had to be 110 degrees with the heat coming off the turf also. It was a factor for both teams, but they seemed able to sustain the limit a little bit better than us.”

The team itself is full of fighting spirit and plays a good, tactical game with resolute defending. If they are able to maintain those attributes and continue making good scoring chances on the break, then the Reggae Girlz should again have the game in their hands.

A win or draw would keep Jamaica's hopes alive, but a loss would more or less end their qualifying hopes.

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