U-17 Boyz want to 'keep the ball more' in second friendly
Jamaica Under-17 footballer Nicholas Simmonds (right) tries to shield the ball from Trinidad and Tobago's Lyshaun Morris during a friendly match at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Saturday, February 4, 2023. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

BOTH Jamaica's Under-17 Reggae Boyz and their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts enter Tuesday afternoon's second and final friendly match focused on performance rather than the result as they prepare for the Concacaf Championship this month.

The Jamaicans earned a narrow 1-0 victory over the young Soca Warriors in the opening match on Saturday at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

Substitute Orane Watson got the 77th-minute winner after Nicholas Simmonds missed a first-half penalty kick for the Boyz.

Merron Gordon, Jamaica's head coach, said a major aim is to make better use of the football in the second match which is slated for the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) Sports Complex in Santa Cruz.

"I want us to be better with ball retention, keeping the ball a bit more. Sometimes I think we gave away the ball too easily; we didn't make Trinidad work to get back the ball," he said while noting the opening contest provided "a good platform to build on".

Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Shawn Cooper was satisfied with his players' show despite the loss, but said the team could have been more compact, even while being more ambitious in attack.

"I think it was a decent performance. What I have been doing is [for the team] to be a little more structured, trying to avoid goals from leaking in.

"I think we needed to put a little bit more numbers forward and to get the lines a little bit tighter," he explained.

Trinidad's marquee player Rio Cardines, who represents Crystal Palace in England, is expected to feature on Tuesday after he missed the opener due to issues related to his travel documents.

Cooper said he would have made a difference in game one but noted the technical staff's focus is on the bigger picture.

"Definitely he would have influenced us going forward but what I really want is for all the guys to get in some game time, to feel what an international game is like," he said.

Both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago enter the Concacaf Championship in Guatemala vying for qualification to this year's FIFA Under-17 Men's World Cup in Peru.

The Jamaicans are scheduled to get their qualifying campaign started on February 12 against Cuba in Group C. Their next slated challenge is against Guadeloupe two days later, before facing Costa Rica on February 16. T&T are set to clash with United States, Canada, and Barbados in Group F.

Sanjay Myers

Sanjay Myers

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy