Busby expects Reggae Girlz to improve on Thursday's performance

Saturday, October 23, 2021


THOUGH pleased with his team's performance for the most part during their 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a closed-door scrimmage match on Thursday, Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hubert Busby is optimistic of a more efficient display from his unit when the two teams meet in an international friendly encounter tomorrow.

Busby's side found the all-important goal courtesy of Chelsea midfielder Drew Spence who scored an 80th-minute penalty after ace striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw was felled inside the danger area.

The contest, Busby believes, provided the impetus his Reggae Girlz needed heading into the main encounter against the Central Americans at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, as they had only two training sessions prior.

He praised the Girlz for a positive showing for the most part which paved the way for Spence to notch the winner.

“It was a very positive performance from the team. We only had two training sessions prior to this game so we really didn't have a whole lot of chance[s] to implement different things, but what we did implement was executed today [Thursday],” Busby said.

“We started the game brightly on the front foot. Probably the first 20 minutes before the hydration break we could have been up 3-0 but you know, a quality side like Costa Rica we allowed them back into the game a bit and at one point [after the hydration break], they were the better team.

“But we were very organised; obviously our backline played very well, our entire team shape was very good and so I was very impressed with that,” he added.

The tactician pointed out that being allowed six substitutions allowed room for the technical staff to explore different combinations of players, leaving enough firepower on the bench to ensure the 51st-ranked Reggae Girlz gained the ascendancy against their 36th-ranked opponents in the latter stages.

“We were able to bring on Bunny, Paige Bailey, Drew Spence and Cheyna [Matthews] and I thought they came on and helped maintained that energy level and the tempo we were playing at. Bunny did well to pin her player, forcing the penalty for Spence to finish, so overall very good performance from the team,” Busby shared.

Still, no performance is ever perfect, and as such, Busby said the objective remains to strengthen their flaws in all areas to ensure that the Reggae Girlz not only prove formidable tomorrow, but also against their more illustrious opponents in future fixtures.

“I think there are areas we need to improve on with regards to our pressing, counter-pressing and some other technical things in that region. It is also important that when we lose the ball we don't give them a lot of time and space to build their attack,” Busby noted.

“So these are some areas we are going to look to improve on heading into Sunday's match. Circulating the ball is something I think we did well at times and again, overall I think it was good because when you keep a clean sheet against a very good team it's very positive, but there is definitely room for improvement,” he said.

Looking beyond tomorrow's game, which also serves as a fund-raiser for both teams, Busby is also hoping that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) can secure another camp or friendly contest for the Reggae Girlz next month.

This, he said, represents the final window of opportunity to beef up preparations prior to the World Cup Qualifiers in February.

“Although we would have loved to play [the qualifiers] next month, I was in total agreement that they [Concacaf] did the right thing to postpone it.

“For preparation purposes, it actually helps us a bit, provides us another opportunity to hopefully get together again because, obviously, there will be no Fifa windows after that for us to get together before February. So, our focus now is this week and then we turn our focus to hopefully a game or camp next month, in a week's time,” the former national goalkeeper ended.