Jamaica steps up preparation for CFU Women’s Challenge Series

Kingston, Jamaica - Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz have stepped up their preparation for the upcoming CFU Women’s Challenge Series, a precursor to the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.

Jamaica will host Group B against closest neighbors Cuba and Barbados from April 18-22 as they fine-tune ahead of the confederation’s World Cup-qualifying  play-offs set to start in May.

The Jamaica leg of the CFU series kicks off on Wednesday, April 18, with Cuba and Barbados facing each other, to be followed by Jamaica against Barbados on Friday, April 20. Both games will be played at the JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.

In the final match of the three-team group, the hosts tackle Cuba on Sunday, April 22, at the Waterhouse Mini-Stadium,

All matches start at 3:30 pm Jamaica time.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, which was scheduled to contest the group, pulled out of the competition.

Andrew Price, the assistant senior women’s coach in charge of preparing the local-based talent, says he is pleased with the progress of the women during ongoing weekend camps.

“The sessions have been quite encouraging as the players are really getting into the groove and this is the fifth week that we have been having weekend camps and the players have been slowly adjusting,” he said.

Price, who also coaches Boys’ Town Football Club, which was recently relegated from the topflight Red Stripe Premier League, admitted that the 28-member training squad is focused on removing rust after a period of competitive inactivity.

“The players have not played any official senior women’s tournament for a long time, so we are at ground zero and in the process of whipping them into shape.

“We have been doing some tactical work as we prepare for the tournament that starts in another week and a half… we have done some conditioning and a lot of tactical work and we expect that to continue going into next week,” said the head coach of Jamaica women’s beach football team.

Price, who is a deputy to senior women’s head coach to the USA-based Hue Menzies, noted that while a local-based squad will contest the Caribbean Challenge Series, overseas-based players will be injected into the squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

“This (Caribbean Challenge Series) is the launch pad for the preparation for the World Cup qualifiers in May, so it’s important to merge the local talent and those we have identified from overseas so we can put the best Jamaican team on the pitch at all times.

“This is really about the development of these local players and it is good that they have come up with this CFU Challenge tournament as it gives these young ladies the opportunity to put themselves at the international pace so that they can improve their knowledge and technical base,” Price said.

Group A: St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Dominica and St. Lucia

Group C: Haiti, Martinique, USVI, and Dominican Republic

Group D: Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Curacao and Martinique**

Group E: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname and Grenada**

(**Groups D & E will play April 23-30)