Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Lethal finishing the goal for Girlz

Jamaica’s women tackle Costa Rica in Florida friendly international

Published:Sunday | October 24, 2021 | 12:07 AM

NATIONAL SENIOR women’s football team head coach, Hubert Busby Jr, has issued a challenge for his team to be lethal in front of goal when they face Costa Rica in their international friendly today.

The Reggae Girlz will face Las Ticas at 4 p.m Jamaica time at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wrapping up a week-long training camp that began last Monday as preparations continue for the World Cup qualifiers which start in February.

Jamaica defeated Nigeria in June in their return to action after a year-long halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And buoyed by their 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a closed-door scrimmage on Thursday, Busby said that they are looking to consolidate their defensive shape as well as improve their chance creation and execution.

CLEAN SHEET

“We obviously want to ensure that we keep a clean sheet and that we are organised at the back. We are looking to possess the ball and play through the thirds. I do believe one of the areas that we can look to improve on and continue to grow is in the final third and look to capitalise on our opportunities,” Busby said.

England-based midfielder Drew Spence scored the lone goal in that scrimmage in the 81st minute. While satisfied with the performance of his squad, Busby said that there were key areas to shore up, which included their overall pressing game. This, he said, will be critical, especially when facing top teams in the region.

“Playing a lot of technical teams in our region, it’s important that when we lose the ball we don’t give them a lot of space and time to build their attack,” Busby analysed. “So it’s probably areas that we are going to look to improve on heading into Sunday’s match. Circulating the ball is something that we did well at times and overall I think was good, but definitely I think there is room for improvement there.”

Among the players who could make their international debut is Spence, as well as first-time invitees Paige Bailey Gayle from Leicester City and University of Notre Dame’s Kalyssa Van Zanten.

National striker Khadija Shaw could make her international return today after a 20-month hiatus. She featured in the second half of Thursday’s scrimmage.

Busby says that he is pleased with how she has meshed back into the group, as well as the new arrivals.

“Bunny (Shaw) has integrated back into the group very well, as have the others who have come in. So that is a credit to the group and that is a credit to the players and how they have assimilated coming into the environment. Also, a lot of credit goes to the players who have been here for a while in terms of accepting them and making them feel welcome,” Busby said.

While not labelling the week-long training camp as a complete success, Busby is pleased with the improvements he has seen, knowing that they need more refinement to be completely ready to chase back-to- back World Cup appearances, starting with today’s game against the fourth-ranked team in the region.

“I definitely wouldn’t say that we have achieved all we needed to achieve this week. I think this is merely part of the building blocks. I think there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of where we want to go and in terms of where we want to be. (But) we are making strides and we are looking to continue to build on the positive aspects of what we have been able to do this week,” Busby said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com