Girlz Coach Busby eager to build on momentum from Summer SeriesTuesday, June 15, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
With their preparations now off and running, Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hubert Busby is now hoping to initiate the next phase of their build up to the World Cup Qualifiers, without disruption.
Having previously been inactive for over a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Busby expressed delight that they were able to test their mettle against two of the world's best teams — world champions and number one-ranked United States and 38th-ranked Nigeria — in Houston and pointed to the significance of maintaining that momentum.
Though a 0-4 loss to United States on Sunday gradually dampened their opening 1-0 win over Nigeria, Busby revealed that their objectives for the 2021 Women's National Team (WNT) Summer Series, presented by AT&T 5G, were met, as there were a number of positives to take forward.
“We were very fortunate to be a part of a terrific Summer Series and we are grateful to US Soccer for their hospitality. Coming off a 16-month break, we couldn't ask for two more challenging games to get our preparations going and you can't complain with a win and a loss.
“As a coach you always want to win but under the circumstances we can't help but be pleased with the performances across those two games which are a lot to build on, so definitely we will make notes of the positives and use those as a springboard as we look forward,” Busby told the Jamaica Observer.
On Sunday, Captain Carli Lloyd opened the scoring for the Americans with an early strike after 24 seconds. Lindsey Horan converted a penalty in the seventh minute before Midge Purce made it 3-0 in the 22nd minute. Veteran Alex Morgan added a final goal in stoppage time.
“Again, it just goes to show the more we are together and the more continuity we have, the better we can become. So it is important that this momentum isn't lost, as we have always alluded to, and we have to ensure that we utilise each and every Fifa window in order to prepare for the qualifiers in November,” he added.
With the next Fifa window coming in late August to early September, Busby revealed that discussions have already been had regarding plans to host another camp at that time, while there is great optimism that one or two friendly contests will also be on the cards.
“At this point in time we have already had discussions and I do know that plans are in place come September for us to get together again, so for now we will definitely do something in September. As far as opponents go, we haven't had those discussions as yet, and that will depend on teams that are available and have no prior engagements, but we want to make sure that we find the right opponents that will get us ready for November,” the former national goalkeeper shared.
For their just-concluded stint in the Summer Series, the tactician included five new players — Rebecca Spencer, Drew Spence, Shania Hayles, Mikayla Dayes and Satara Murray — in his 23-member squad for this series, with Under-20 representatives Peyton McNamara and Gabrielle Gayle transitioning to the senior set-up.
According to Busby, the critical component is to find the right roster composition for submission ahead of the World Cup qualifying campaign and so growing the player pool was in his immediate interest which means the prospective camp and games in September would represent another step in that process.
“Bringing in some new faces and matriculating a few players from U-20 is something that we were very conscious of and we also wanted to give valuable minutes to young players as we implement or re-implement that playing module and philosophy that we are trying to have within the programme. Overall, we were able to do that and again it is great to see that the future of the Reggae Girlz is very promising,” Busby noted.
“When we get in camp, we always want to see that push and focus from the ladies to work really hard because at the end of the day, we are evaluating players and just working to see where we are at and finding the right combinations.
“So we are challenging players to make it a fun challenge for us to select that roster when the time comes. But for now, we are very pleased with what we have seen over those two games and again you can't ask for more than what the ladies delivered,” he ended.
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