Jamaica U-23 footballers begin quest for 2020 Japan Olympics today


Jamaica U-23 footballers begin quest for 2020 Japan Olympics today

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Jamaica's quest for qualification to the 2020 Japan Olympic Games starts today, as the men's Under-23 footballers take on Dominica in the Caribbean qualifiers starting at 6:30 pm at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

Host Jamaica are drawn alongside Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis in a three-team Group A after Guyana withdrew last Saturday. Only the group winners will advance to the next stage.

The initial round of qualifying in the Caribbean phase will take place from July 17-21 across four venues.

Group B consists of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Cuba and the US Virgin Islands. Group C has Haiti, Suriname, Grenada and Cayman Islands, while Group D contains Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, St Lucia and Puerto Rico.

Upon the completion of first round robin play, the four group winners will advance to a play-off, with Group A winners facing Group D winners and Group B taking on Group C, with the two winners advancing to the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Jamaica will start favourites to top the group, but Head Coach Donovan Duckie, though confident, is not taking anything for granted.

“It's not like yesteryears when Trinidad, Jamaica and Haiti were the dominant teams. The game has evolved. Most of these Caribbean countries, their players have gotten the opportunities to play in the US mainly through the college system and are exposed to good coaches,” Duckie pointed out.

“We are not taking anything for granted. We have to be resilient, fight hard, and we have to put our best foot forward in order to get a positive result,” he added.

“The most important thing is that we have been training for some time — over a few months now — and we have a good understanding with the talent that we have at our disposal. Most of these players have played in the senior team sometime or the other, so in terms of experience there is some amount of experience,” Duckie noted.

“We have acquired five players that played overseas, with international experience at club level. We hope to integrate those players with the ones we have here with the foundation from the RSPL (Red Stripe Premier League),” Duckie added.

Those players are Javain Brown (University of South Florida), Kevon Lambert (Phoenix Uprising FC), Jamoi Topey, Chavanay Willis (Bethlehem Steel FC) and Nicque Daley (Charleston Battery FC).

The rest of the Jamaican team are: St Michael Edwards, Clifton Woodbine, Alex Marshall, Kaheem Parris (Cavalier FC), Jeadine White (Humble Lion FC), Ricardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC), Deshane Beckford (Montego Bay United FC), Tevin Shaw (Tivoli Gardens FC), Ajeanie Talbott (Harbour View FC), Casey Reid (Reno 1866 FC), Shemar Jemison (Unattached), Tyreek Magee (Unattached), Venton Evans, Lamar Walker (Portmore United FC), Jourdain Fletcher, Daniel Green, Alwayne Harvey (Mount Pleasant FA), Kyle Butler (Austrian Lustenau).

“We are in good spirits, we have good camaraderie and we are really looking forward to start tomorrow with a positive result,” said Duckie.

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