Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will have just one objective in mind when they kick off the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers — securing a berth to the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
But in order to do that, they have to get by at least three of the confederation’s powerhouses, as only the two finalists from the tournament will parade their skills at the global multi-sport event.
The Jamaicans’ opening contest against Mexico Wednesday at HEB Park in Edinburgh, Texas, will be the first stern test of their ability in their quest for another historic achievement.
Having recently wrapped up a camp in Houston where the team gathered some momentum ahead of today’s assignment, Head Coach Hubert Busby is quietly confident about their chances of snapping up all three points.
“As a coach you never truly feel that [you] have done enough training, but I feel that we have been able to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish thus far with the camp, so we should be good. We spent the last week putting in the work and focusing on our principles and things that are very unique to the way we want to play and based on the characteristics of our players that we have.
“So the group has really responded; a lot of these girls have experience in high-pressure situation so now it’s just about fine-tuning and executing what we need to do in the match,” Busby told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Busby’s confidence could very well be justified as the last time these two teams met at the Pan Am Games in Peru, Mexico came away 2-0 winners over a Reggae Girlz team that was missing most of its top players.
But with 13 players from the Fifa Women’s World Cup squad, including lethal striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw now in the fold, the Girlz are expected to prove more formidable this time around.
The tactician pointed out that he, along with assistants Andrew Price and David Gough, did all the necessary work to ensure the Reggae Girlz are in the right frame of mind to go out there and execute accordingly.
A scrimmage game against Houston Dynamo Under-15 team, which wrapped up camp on Sunday, gave a good assessment of the players’ progress.
“Our focus has been looking to improve on both areas of play; we want to be better in possession and more threatening going forward and obviously make sure that we are compact and organised when we don’t have the ball. We want to be the best team that we can be within those transition phases.