Reggae Girlz coach to finalise World Cup squad in 48 hours
Jamaica’s senior women’s head coach, Hue Menzies watches his players at a training session at the National Stadium on Monday, May 13, 2019. (PHOTOS: Lennox Aldred).
Jamaica’s senior women’s head coach, the USA-based Hue Menzies, plans to finalise his 23-member FIFA Women's World Cup squad in another two days.
This means that the coaching staff will know the players who will take their seats on the plane to France in June before the farewell friendly international match against Panama on Sunday at the National Stadium.
The Panama game will be the final one at home before the Reggae Girlz depart for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France from June 7 to July 7.
“We heard some good news just today (Monday) that two of the three players had gotten their international clearance, so based on that, we will be finalising our World Cup squad hopefully within the next 48 hours,” said Menzies making reference to FIFA eligibility rules, which could deny some players born outside of Jamaica to Jamaican parents the chance to represent the country.
Menzies has until May 24 to submit to FIFA his 23-member squad.
Menzies further stated that once the selection of the World Cup squad is finalised the coaching staff will focus on core functional training.
He said, “as you know in football, there are four components to the game, technical, tactical, physical and psychological. We want to ensure that the latter is fully enforced because we are the lowest seeded team at the World Cup, we want to prove that we are not, so we have to be psychologically ready.”
And following the first training session on Monday night for the game against Panama, the team the Girlz defeated 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out to qualify for France, Menzies said he was pleased with the players.
"It is good to see some of the more experienced players stepping up with their fitness today (Monday). Khadija Shaw showed some good work and that is pleasing to see, heading into the final phase of their preparation," said Menzies.
Some members of the squad were noticeably absent on Monday, however, Menzies reassured that they will be joining up in Miami.
"We did not get the entire group in Jamaica due to the FIFA window and Jody Brown is currently sitting exams, she and other squad members will be joining up with us in Florida."
After the match against Panama, the squad will depart a day later for a short camp in South Florida, before flying to the United Kingdom for a friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh on May 28.
Menzies is expecting a good matchup against Panama on Sunday.
He said, “Panama is a very good team, they are organized, they don’t give up, they have a very good goalkeeping core and they are very patient.
"It’s a good test for us, it’s a farewell game for us, so we want to leave with a little bit of an impression, we are going to play attacking style football, we are going to see how fit they are in transition, we have some special players we want to showcase and hopefully they show up and play.”
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz created history on October 17, 2018 in the United States by becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The Reggae Girlz achieved the feat 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 their World Cup campaign on June 9 against 2007 Women's World Cup runners-up Brazil at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.
Jamaica will return to action on June 14 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims where they will square off against Italy.
The Reggae Girlz will then round out their group stage action four days later on June 18 against Australia once again at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.