Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
Jamaica's Under-20 Reggae Boyz are in high spirits as they prepare to tackle an All-Star Under-23 Florida team tomorrow and Canada's Under-20 squad on Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Both matches are scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m.
The players had a final training session yesterday evening at St George's College and, according to national Under-20 coach Donovan Duckie, they are upbeat about the upcoming tournament.
"The preparations went well. We realised from the last game we played against Mexico that we still needed to improve on our transitional game, specifically from offence to defence and we did that today," Duckie said.
The warm-up games are designed to give the players useful competition before the eight-nation final round qualifying for the 2009 Under-20 World Cup.
Jamaica's Boyz have been drawn in Group A along with the United States, El Salvador and the winners of a play-off between Honduras and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The final round of the World Cup qualifiers will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from March 6-15 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium. Hosts Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico are in Group B. The top two teams from each group will qualify of the World Cup.
An 18-man squad has been named for the friendly encounters and they will be joined by six overseas-based players. Duckie stated that he would be assessing the performance of the overseas-based players to see if they will form a part of the 20 that will travel to Trinidad.
The members of the 18-man squad are André Darby, Alanzo Adlam, André Clennon, Dever Orgill, André Steele, Romario Campbell, John- Ross Doyley, Kadian Wynter, Evan Taylor, Keithy Simpson, Damaine Thompson, LeVaughn Williams, Andre Campbell, Keneil Hyde, Gariece McPherson, Dennis Taylor, Davion Thorpe and Shamar Shelton.
The Young Boyz will leave today and return home on Saturday.