By Franklin Wilson
Head Coach of Guyana’s Under-20 Women’s team, Ivan Joseph said he is pleased with the collective performance of his charges in the just concluded Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship where Guyana played undefeated in Group ‘A’, putting together four wins from as many matches.
The high riding ‘Lady Jags’ swept to respective 2-0 victories over Bermuda, Antigua & Barbuda and Saint Lucia before wrapping up this leg of the journey and qualifying for the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Final Championship round of sixteen with a 3-1 win over Suriname on Sunday afternoon last at the Leonora Track and Field Center, West Coast Demerara.
That match brought the curtains down on a very demanding nine days for the ‘Lady Jags’ and the other nations which participated, playing a total of four matches each. Saint Lucia was the other nation which qualified for the round of sixteen.
Joseph and his Technical staff pulled out all the stops to rally their charges to a historic performance, scoring a total of nine (9) goals whilst conceding just one. Guyana was the only team not to receive a single caution in 360 plus minutes of play.
Joseph said that the team was right where they wanted to be: “We gave some players some significant minutes so that we could asses them and you know what, we played pretty good teams and we really got a good handle of our ability so I’m pleased.”
He noted that after Guyana made an early change against Suriname, Horica Adams coming on for center midfielder Kiana Khedoo around the 22nd minute, there was some panic amongst the players as the entire game plan had to change noting that the quality of decision making was not there.
“When you don’t have a number ten your entire game has to change and then we started to panic a little bit and so that changed that game a lot. We put in two local based players who had great hustle, excellent effort.”
Joseph indicated that for the next round of the competition, they’ll be searching for two center backs and a natural goal scorer.
“We’ve probably missed four or five legitimate opportunities that would have taken the life out of that team and we kept them in the game and gave them hope which allowed the momentum to switch. So we’ve got to think about where can we find, recruit those levels of players and then I think the last thing we’ve got to think about is just making sure that our players that are based here, they have some rhythm and some repetitions that they don’t get left behind because all these guys are going to go home and play thirty games between now and the next time. We’ve got to find an opportunity for them to do the same.”
Looking ahead to preparations for the next round, Joseph revealed that there would be fitness as well as strength and conditioning plans to get the players ready. He is also hoping that there would be a few warm up matches to get the right rhythm as a unit ahead of what would certainly be stiffer opponents.
Meanwhile, the two nations which have qualified from Group ‘B’ are St. Kitts & Nevis (4 wins 0 loses) and Grenada (3 wins 1 loss).
The top two finishers of Group A and B advances to the knockout stage of the final competition. They will then be joined by the top three finishers of the following groups to advance to the knockout stage of the competition:
Group C: United States, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Cuba
Group D: Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico
Group E: Canada, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador
Group F: Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Cayman Islands
Final Points Table Group A
Country MP W D L GF GA GD Points
Guyana 4 4 0 0 9 1 +8 12
Saint Lucia 4 3 0 1 9 7 +2 9
Bermuda 4 2 0 2 12 6 +6 6
Suriname 4 1 0 3 10 13 -3 3
Antigua 4 0 0 4 2 15 -13 0
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