Hue Menzies concerned about fitness level of Reggae Girlz
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz celebrate after defeating Chile 1-0 in the first of their two-match friendly international at the National Stadium on Thursday, February 28, 2019. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).
Reggae Girlz coach Hue Menzies is bemoaning the fitness of his players after they wilted in the second half of the first of their two-match friendly international match against Chile at the National Stadium on Thursday evening.
The second match will take place at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday.
Menzies said the fitness issue is an area that the Reggae Girlz will have to improve on going into the June 7-July 7 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
The Reggae Girlz won the match 1-0 courtesy of a ninth-minute strike by Marlo Sweatman and went on to dominate play in the first half.
However, things turned drastically at the start of the second half, with Chile bombarding the Girlz with attacks, constantly keeping a presence in the Jamaican half of the field.
Menzies believes that it was a combination of factors that resulted in a below-par second-half performance from the Girlz.
He said, "in the first half we were more active. We have a lot of players playing in Europe so the weather becomes a factor later in the game because it is a little bit warmer here. But obviously, players went away to Europe and took rest time for the winter break. We just need to get back to our level and hopefully, we can work on that.
"We just don't have them enough to be with us and then we just will have to be on them when they are away, for them to work on their fitness."
Menzies said that despite the fitness issue, he was pleased with the performance of the Girlz. He said, "overall we got the result which is the big thing for us and it will give us a little bit of boost.
"I thought discipline wise, we played hard in the back, Nicole had a great game for us with a lot of action towards the second half. I just thought our fitness needs to be better and that's something that we were always credited for during qualifying because of our fitness."
The match came just over four months after the Reggae Girlz created history in the United States by becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz achieved the feat on October 17, 2018, by defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties in their third-place playoff match at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.
The historic qualification to the 2019 FIFA World Cup follows the success of the men’s squad, which participated in the World Cup for the first time in France 1998.
The Reggae Girlz will begin the group stage of the FIFA Women's World Cup on June 9 against 2007 Women's World Cup runners-up Brazil at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble