Sun, May


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.