Since the day of achieving the challenge to compete in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying series, most fans were looking forward to the quality of play which we saw in Jamaica could be raised in order to meet and beat USA, Mexico, after taking their three points from Panama in the opener.
Well, surprise! surprise! When we were all looking for the team to engage in practice sessions and matches, even though the opponents may be local teams, the exercise will have been worth the while and the girls will be improving their physical and technical ability. Unfortunately, the confusing state of administrative competence seems to be the most difficult hurdle.
First, it was the question of selecting a coach to prepare the team for the period of 20 days before the first match against Panama. Hints of who will coach the team was not officially announced until a few days ago, and when it came to a final arrangement with reference to the financial commitment, a solution came only three days ago after some uncertain comments which were expressed by one of the overseas players and followed by a plea from the team manager.
It was strange that the general secretary, the president and maybe one or two others, were chastising the “team manager” for making a direct request from the Ministry of Sport directly, realising that time is passing quickly and not a single word of progress is reaching the ears of the players.
Did we not recall a similar incident regarding late requests for finance just a month ago? Why then should the same occur? That is why I agree with the team manager, whose responsibility it was to ensure that everything is put in place, so that the peace of mind for the players, can rekindle their efforts to practice and to play as hard as possible.
Honestly, if our practice sessions and matches were adequately done and the selected coach could have planned some form of strategy, surely the problems which were unsolved must have been leaving some form of psychological discomfort, which may easily retard their mental focus.
Here are some of the things which were seriously missing from our preparation. Firstly, we must send a scout to go in search of the preparations of our opponents, the systems which they will play and the key players, together with the fitness level?
If so, who would have done same and where would they have seen the "Yanks" and Mexicans play or practice? Secondly, I have heard nothing about bringing the full squad together for as many practice sessions as they can. How about set plays, both in defence and attack?
All these issues are part and parcel of team preparation and getting to the venue for one of the members of the coaching staff is of high priority to our team planning.
Already, we are aware of the patriotic form of crowd support when playing the USA at home? This calls for a particular approach in the early part of the game against them because they have a history of throwing down the gauntlet early against a shaky opponent and the intention is to unsettle their opponents.
Against T&T, that will probably be the plan for the more advanced countries, seeing the numbers of unsolved distractions which our girls have undergone.
I shudder to think of the final results but my expectation is for the team to work as hard and as consistent as they can.
Firstly, do not start your play from the keeper’s service with short passes to defensive players. Both the USA and Mexico will start the ball winning process as high as outside of our penalty area.
Our midfielders must win the ball in centerfield and not allow the back four defenders to be challenging “defenders” but supporting defenders, which means that the opponents will always have limited space to perform their strategy.
In the Jamaica match, our defenders appeared vulnerable in defence against the "Reggae Girls" whose intense attack tended to weaken against the speed of two of our forwards.
Our main form of penetration must come from the long balls which must be served on the flanks and sometimes diagonally towards corner flags. We have the speed with Kayla Taylor and one of two others and our midfielders can shoot the ball well from outside the opponents’ penalty area.
Intensity must be the name of our game and there could be the chance of reducing the effectiveness of our opponents.
Our task is a difficult one, but never impossible. Give it your best shot.