U-20s tackle Haiti in 'defining' match
Howard Walker, Observer staff reporter
Prospect, St Vincent - Despite some minor hiccups, the Jamaican Under-20 footballers will kick off their final Caribbean round qualifier against their biggest group rivals, Haiti, confident of victory today at Victoria Park, Kingstown, at 6:00 pm (5:00 pm local time).
In the other game, hosts St Vincent & the Grenadines tackle Dominican Republic at 8:00 pm in the four-team group from which the winners qualify for the final CONCACAF stage to be hosted by Trinidad & Tobago in March.
The team was scheduled to train at six o'clock last evening but had to wait approximately 45 minutes before the team bus came. They arrived at the training facility late and had to train after the Haitian team, who were scheduled to train after Jamaica.
Furthermore, the Victoria Park ground failed all, if not most, of the requirements to host an international game. The field was too short and when the Jamaican team arrived, serious construction work was being done to lengthen the field, thus the goal posts were uprooted.
But head coach Donovan Duckie made the most of the facility and took the young Boyz through their paces.
But back to the business at hand. Of the four teams, Haiti is considered the toughest and this is really the defining match. Coach Duckie knows that a win would put his team in good stead.
Said Duckie: "The winner tomorrow (today) will definitely set the tone and put pressure on the other teams. It's a four-team zone and all the teams are good. What is important is that we can decide our own destiny."
He added: "These teams are very good and the most important game is always the one in the present time and then the next one becomes the most important. The first game is important as it sets the tone for the rest of the competition.
"The guys are composed, focused and their body language is positive. I think we are in a good frame of mind although the task will be difficult," he told the Observer.
Once again, overseas-based Dever Orgill of Vancouver Whitecaps and Sporting Central's Alanzo Adlam should lead the attack.
Orgill netted all four goals when Jamaica brushed aside Aruba 4-0 in November and scored once against Antigua & Barbuda in a 4-1 win.
Adlam has looked sharp in training and could steal the limelight from his striking partner today. His movement and speed could prove a handful for Haiti. He is also the dead ball specialist, taking most of the freekicks during training.
Talented left-footed playmaker, Romario Campbell on the right, and Andre Campbell on the left, will lend support to the strikers. The Reno pair of Evan Taylor and Davion Thorpe should dominate the central midfield, having represented the senior Reggae Boyz in World Cup qualifiers recently.
Captain Andre Darby of Portmore United is expected to marshall the back line, alongside the Sporting Central Academy trio of Keithy Simpson, Levaughn Williams and Christopher Banner.
Jamaica - Andre Blake (Sporting Central Academy), Andre Darby (Portmore United), Keithy Simpson, Levaughn Williams, Christopher Banner (Sporting Central Academy), Romario Campbell (Harbour View), Andre Campbell (Portmore United), Evan Taylor, Davion Thorpe (Reno FC), Alanzo Adlam (Sporting Central Academy) and Dever Orgill (Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada).