Reggae Girlz kick off medal hunt at CAC Games
Jamaica's senior women's football team will kick off the nation's hunt for medals against Venezuela, at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla today, beginning at 10 a.m.
The Senior Reggae Girlz arrived on Monday and the team's head coach, Lorne Donaldson, rates their chances against the Venezuelans.
Donaldson said: "Matchup-wise we're good. Venezuela is our first game ... we know we're more athletic than them so we've to come out and make sure that our passing game and our attack and our transition game are intact and we like our chances with them."
Jamaica will play matches a day apart in the first-round grouping, facing Costa Rica and hosts Colombia in respective fixtures on Saturday and Monday.
The top two will advance from the group and Donaldson expressed the hope that the Girlz will qualify for the other phase.
"Teams like Mexico, who are going to be favourites for everything here, hopefully we'll see them and have a very good performance against them. But I won't look that far, we're going to take it one game at a time and make the adjustments."
The team will be missing several key players, notably goalkeeper Sydney Snyder, who picked up an injury just days ahead of the competition.
"We had a big setback the day before we left; Sidney Snyder went down, a top notch goalkeeper, so we had to fly another goalkeeper in and I think that kind of put less confidence in the players because the way she plays she complements all the players very well," Donaldson observed.
At the other end of the pitch, Khadija Shaw will lead the team's offence, in tandem with Sashawna Campbell and Ashley Shim, with Jody Brown in close quarters.
Participating under the theme, 'Generation Next - the Future is now', Jamaica has sent its largest ever contingent of 185 athletes to the Games.
The previous record number of athletes to have represented Jamaica was 135 and Ryan Foster, CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), underlined the significance of strength in numbers.
"The future is now for the JOA and the CAC Games will not only showcase our current top performers in the respective sporting disciplines, but will also have the next generation of athletes who will be taking up the mantle for years to come," stated Foster.