A look into the qualification of Jamaica's U17 football team to the World Cup in Mexico by Reggae Boyz columnist and sports reporter Simon Preston
On February 23, 2011, The Young Reggae Boyz booked their tickets to Mexico with a 2-1 victory over Honduras and now they will be involved in the 14th U17 World Cup.
For almost three months now we have been waiting to see whom our Young Reggae Boyz will play. During that time as well I have also been thinking about what would be the perfect group. But the perfect group is not possible in a FIFA tournament.
Finally now that the group drawing has taken place, we find that our Young Boyz are slated in Group B which is as follows.
Almost similar to our men’s 1998 draw, right? Well this time it will be very tough for the Young Boyz. It will definitely not be a walkover for our youngsters.
Lets have to look to see who they will be up against
France - 3rd time appearance. Winners in 2001
M'Baye Niang - It has been a rough yet rewarding last couple of years from this young man. Born and raised in France, throughout his youth got pressured by parents to play for Senegal but he said he wants to play for France.
Niang is a 16 yr old attacking midfielder who plays for Caen in Ligue 1 in France. This season he fought hard in the reserves and earned a spot in the first team. So far he has 2 goals in 4 games. He is seen as a bright prospect for the future. He is known for his speed and his long range shooting but tends to do a bit of ball watching.
Argentina - 3rd place finishes in 1991,1995, 2003, 4th place 2001
Federico Andrada was their leading goal-scorer with 4 goals in the qualifiers. Tied for 3rd place in the race for the Golden boot, this 16 year old has attracted a lot of interest from clubs in La Liga, such as Valencia, Levante and Real Zaragoza. This tournament could open his way to Europe
Japan - 6th appearance, Quarter-finalists in 1993 on home soil
Takumi Minamino was the leading goal scorer in Asian Qualifying with 5 goals. Takumi got offered a trial to play with Genoa in the Italian Serie A. But he turned it down to focus on his football at Osaka
Unfortunately we were not able to go to the Valencia camp in Spain for a training camp and the players are not 100% available due to CXC exams. So preparations wise we are not up to par. But with what we saw from this Jamaican team during the qualifiers we can definitely say that there future does look bright. With the proper guidance and not rushing into any moves, these players can turn out to be class player
Things we need to do in the games at the World Cup
1. On this level games are won and lost primarily on defensive mistakes. So Alvas Powell and his 3 other defenders will have to put the ball watching aside and focus on the task at hand.
2. We need to master the dead ball situations incase we get these opportunities. This is where Omar Holness AKA The Next Stevie G comes into play.
The pressure on these young players is that they have to go out there and do their best as there can be many rewards at the end. Along with a possible spot in the second round other examples are possible moves to clubs abroad, more trials, a first team spot at DPL club and scholarships to colleges.
The Boyz will start their amazing experience when they take on Japan in Monterray on June 18.
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