Sun, Mar

Jamaica's Jahmani Bell (second left) closes for a challenge on the Trinidad and Tobago pair of Lyshaun Morris (second right) and Jaden Williams during their Under-17 friendly contest in Santa Cruz on Tuesday, February 7th 2023. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Though their goalscoring attributes were again lacking, Head Coach Merron Gordon believes his Under-17 Reggae Boyz have shown enough potential across their two friendly games against Trinidad and Tobago to prove competitive at the upcoming Concacaf Championship in Guatemala.

Gordon's views came shortly after the young Reggae Boyz again bettered their Caribbean neighbours 1-0 win courtesy of Adrian Reid's fourth-minute penalty at St Elizabeth Technical High School Sports Complex here on Tuesday.

They also won Saturday's opening contest by a similar scoreline at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

While they dominated proceedings for most of the contest after Reid converted the 12-yard kick, the Jamaicans were found wanting in the final third, as they squandered a few chances, some of which were from point-blank range.

Orane Watson in the 40th, Dylan John in the 52nd and Dustin Cohen in the 56th were the guilty players.

Their profligacy allowed the young soca warriors to grow into the game, but they too failed to make the most of their half chances.

Still, Gordon expressed pleasure with the intent shown by his team, which he believes is something to build on, particularly from a defensive perspective.

"A win is important; you know at this age sometimes the players are very inconsistent, but I think defensively we are still sound. I think we can be a little sharper in the final third, I don't know if it's jitters, but it's something that we need to build on little by little because sometimes you can really grow in a tournament and really do well," Gordon told journalists in his post-game assessment.

"We are not finding the goal as much as we would like, but we won the game which is also important because one goal is still a win. Yes, we want to score more goals because we created a lot of opportunities but such is football. The most important thing is that they scored a goal and then they really stuck to the task and defend it," he added.

Despite the 2-0 aggregate defeat, Trinidad and Tobago's Head Coach Shaun Cooper also took heart from his team's display.

"I think it was a good exercise for us. This is our fourth game so we are going forward steadily. Today's game was a little different from the last game; I think we had a number of chances and if we had shown a little more purpose it would have been different, but a very good exercise," Cooper said.

Both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago enter the Concacaf Championship in Guatemala vying for qualification to this year's FIFA Under-17 Men's World Cup in Peru.

The Jamaicans are scheduled to get their qualifying campaign started on February 12 against Cuba in Group C. Their next slated challenge is against Guadeloupe two days later, before facing Costa Rica on February 16. T&T are set to clash with United States, Canada, and Barbados in Group F.

SOURCE: Jamaica Observer