Coach Gordon believes U-17 Boyz is almost ready
Jamaica Under-17 wrapped up their sixth practice game on Thursday, and despite a 2-0 defeat to Jamaica Premier League (JPL) outfit Vere United, head coach Merron Gordon believes he is close to being fully ready for the upcoming Concacaf Under-17 Championship, which takes place in Guatemala from February 11-26.
Gordon watched intently as the players put in another decent shift against JPL opposition, and the Garvey Maceo coach says he will be using next week to fine-tune things.
"I am about 85 per cent comfortable as to where we are. Defensively, we are about 95 per cent in terms of our shape, but we need to build on that because we can't defend for 90 minutes," said Gordon.
He admitted that more work is needed in the attacking aspect of their game and praised the boys' efforts in their practice games on the Astro Turf at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence, although he is aware of the improvements that are needed for turf.
"In terms of ball possession, we need some work there. The field we played on today (Thursday) didn't do us any justice in trying to do that, but we have to get used to playing on grass because that is what the tournament will be played on," he said.
The young Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group G along with Costa Rica, Cuba and Guadeloupe, and will be based at the Estadio Nacional Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City.
Gordon and assistant coach Vassell Reynolds have been focusing on the area of the speed of play, which will be a factor against the Central American teams as well as the Cubans, who they have in their first encounter.
"We have made sure that we are very compact vertically and horizontally, so no matter how those teams may move the ball quickly, they can't come through the middle of the park to hurt us," he said.
The young Reggae Boyz are expected to wrap up their preparation with a couple of practice games against Trinidad & Tobago.