GORDON…I am working as hard as I can with the tools I have and I’m optimistic aboutthis team (Photo: Observer file)
NATIONAL Under-17 men’s football team Head Coach Merron Gordon says three overseas-based players are still looking to acquire passports ahead of the Concacaf Championships in Guatemala next month.
The junior Reggae Boyz, drawn in Group G of the tournament with Costa Rica, Cuba, and Guadeloupe, are campaigning to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 Men’s World Cup in Peru later this year.
Gordon had a 34-man squad assembled for a training camp last month but then reduced it to 28 as he got closer to choosing his final 20-man squad which has to be submitted by February 1.
“Until then we will continue the training with these 28,” Gordon told journalists gathered for an online press conference yesterday.
Zak Lovelace of Rangers in Scotland; Kyrome Lumsden who plays for Los Angeles FC Academy; and Birmingham City attacker Cameron Eubank are now awaiting documentation to be able to represent Jamaica but are a part of the training squad.
“We have about two players, based on citizenship, that we’re still waiting for. We have [Zak] Lovelace who plays for Rangers, and Lumsden from [Los Angeles FC Academy in] the US. Those are the only two players that we haven’t seen as yet but because of the high level that they are playing at, we considered that they can help us,” said Gordon.
The Jamaica coach says Lovelace has been added to the provisional list in spite of challenges his father is facing securing a Jamaican passport for him, with the hope that it will be approved in time for the trip.
He is also optimistic about Eubank.
“We’re still waiting to see if he’ll pull through, regarding citizenship, but he’s on the provisional list,” Gordon said.
Gordon says the team has already had a number of warm-up games with local college teams but there are talks underway to secure matches with a number of Jamaica Premier League teams as well. But it does not stop there.
“We’re hoping to get one or two international friendlies with their age group in short order,” Gordon said. “We are putting something together in short order and as soon as that is ready, we’ll release it.”
Gordon says the public is invited to watch these games from the stands.
He says despite financial challenges in getting the team ready for the tournament he is optimistic about their chances of qualification.
“I am working as hard as I can with the tools I have, and I’m optimistic about this team,” he said. “It’s a very talented group and this is the reason why we even have up to 28 players in camp. It’s kinda hard to send people home so early.
” I am not a hundred per cent pleased [with the resources available]…I would want some more international games but I understand the financial strains sometimes so I’m using my resources as best as possible.”
The tournament runs from February 11-26 but Jamaica will meet Cuba on the 12th, then Guadeloupe on the 14th, followed by Costa Rica two days later. All matches will be played in Guatemala City.
The Under-17 Reggae Boyz are looking to become Jamaica’s first team to qualify for three editions of the age group global tournament, having already appeared at the 1999 World Cup in New Zealand then the 2011 edition in Mexico.
GORDON…we’re hoping to get one or two international friendlies with their age group in short order (Photo: Observer file)
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