Young Girlz face Puerto Rico for place in CONCACAF Champs

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter
ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Xavier Gilbert, head coach of Jamaica's Under-17 Women's team, believes the young Reggae Girlz are capable enough to get past Puerto Rico to book their place in next year's CONCACAF Championship to be held in Nicaragua.

The two teams will do battle today at the Stade Sylvio Cator Stadium in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the CFU Championship's play-off, with the winner advancing to the CONCACAF Chapionship as the third-placed team to represent the Caribbean Zone.

The game, which is the first match of a double-header, has a scheduled kick-off time of 4:30 pm (3:30 pm Jamaica time). The second game will see the host nation Haiti going up against Bermuda at 7:30 pm (6:30 pm Jamaica time) in the CFU Championship final. By reaching the final, both Haiti and Bermuda have booked their place in the CONCACAF Championship.

Jamaica, who entered the tournament as the defending champions, controversially lost 2-3 to Bermuda, before defeating Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 to enter the play-offs as the second-placed team in their Group F. Bermuda won the group with four points, one ahead of Jamaica on three, with Trinidad and Tobago on one point.

In Group G, hosts Haiti secured top place with maximum six points, Puerto Rico second on three points, and Cuba in third without a point.

Gilbert is planning on strengthening Jamaica's defensive unit going into the game today.

“We watched them (Puerto Rico) and we scouted them when they played the other day. I know that this match is going to be a very tough encounter. They (Puerto Ricans) are very organised, they are very disciplined as well. Once we know what they are capable of doing, we just have to ensure we identify their strength and that is what we are planning to do.

“We are trying to make some adjustments defensively. We are adding another player to the defensive unit to see if we can alleviate some of the issues and problems that we have when the ball is played over the top, so hopefully that will work in our favour.

“We have some good front-runners and hopefully they can do the job for us. Definitely, I think that once we stay disciplined and very organised, I think that we should get by them for the victory,” Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer.

Since their victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, Gilbert said that the girls are in good health and should be up to the task ahead of them.

“They are good; they are in good spirit. A few little injuries ,but nothing major to worry about in terms of who will be missing from the game and I am happy and pleased. The feeling in the camp is good as well,” he said.

There will be two changes to the starting line-up for this match. Shaquilla Forbes will come in at the expense of Chantae Blackwood and Rochell Gray enters for Kersha Thomas.

Forbes and Gray will play alongside goalkeeper Chelisa Schloss, Nevillegail Able, Gabrielle Scarlett, Sydoney Clarke, Jaden Roberts, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Giselle Washington, Captain Monique Perrier, and Maliah Atkins.

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