Preparing players mentally will be the main focus of coach Merron Gordon as he fine-tunes Jamaica’s young Reggae Boyz for the Concacaf Under-17 Championships in Guatemala from February 11-26.
According to Gordon, the 20-man squad, named yesterday, is in a satisfactory place one week before departure. He also claimed that they will be getting the players mentally ready for the task, in the push to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.
“We have spoken with the boys already and, little by little, we will be doing more of that between now and next week.
“It is just to work on the mental aspect of the boys. The physical and tactical part of them we are comfortable with, so far. It is just the psychological part of it, and that is what we are pushing now to get them through,” he said.
Jamaica have been drawn in Group C of the Concacaf Championships with Costa Rica, Cuba and Guadeloupe; and Gordon said they have done the homework and have an idea of what to expect.
He noted that the first objective is to top the group.
“At this age group, it is not easy to get data from the teams, but the little we get we are using it to the best of our abilities,” Gordon said.
“The Cuban team, we got a few clips of some practice games they have played, and on Costa Rica, also. We have found a little thing on Guadeloupe.
“I think the best route [for World Cup qualification] for us is to try and top the group. If we do not top the group, then we have other plans, but our objective now is to top the group,” he continued.
Gordon also thinks they have a system that will fit the available players.
“We assessed the players and came up with the best solution in how we think the team should play, and we have worked hard on that.
“In our practice game [against Trinidad]coming up, we should see some of those things coming out.
“We have worked as hard as we can with the limited time we have. We challenge ourselves every day just to see how we can push these boys to the extreme limit,” he said.
“We are very confident in the team selected, that they can put on a good showing that will push us across the line to make it to Peru.
“To make it to a World Cup is not an easy thing, but these boys have the grit and determination and I think they can push through; and we are going there to put all hands on deck and work as hard as we can to qualify this team,” Gordon emphasised.
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