No grandstanding: U-20 Boyz Assistant coach Wall expects stern challenge from Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique in qualifiers

By October 12, 2023
John Wall John Wall file

While on paper it seems Jamaica has drawn perceived lesser opponents for the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 qualifiers, assistant coach John Wall insists that the young Reggae Boyz will not be grandstanding against anyone, as the main aim beyond qualification is to improve the quality of their play.

In fact, Wall is aware that teams such as Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique, who they will rub shoulders with in Group F, have all been on the upgrade which means the perception of easy games is now a thing of the past.

The 27-team tournament scheduled for February 23 to March 2, will be contested in six groups across five venues in Central America and the Caribbean.

After round-robin play, the group winners will progress to the 2024 Concacaf Men's Under-20 Championship, joining the six top-ranked nations –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.

With this in mind, Wall pointed to the importance of ensuring the young Reggae Boyz are well prepared to give of their best.

"Obviously there is no simple game in Concacaf, I have learnt that firsthand and bearing in mind also that the trend overall in Concacaf is that the game has become more global, especially where the Diaspora comes in. So, Martinique when it comes to relationship with France and obviously Bermuda and Grenada with the United Kingdom predominantly.

“For us it is kind of a bigger scope, and we take it really seriously. We have been having camps from earlier this year and we are watching the players and identifying them as we go on. For me, it is really important to look at the next generation and the style of how Jamaica plays on a general basis,” Wall said.

“Also, qualifiers are a special kind of animal, you have to take certain things into account such as the number of games in a short space of time, you have players coming in as well as time zone differences. So, we are making all those external factors more internal per se and control the variables as much as we can,” he added.

Wall explained that his course of action has already be set in motion to identify character strengths he wants the young Reggae Boyz to exemplify and create an identity through purposeful planning.

“I have sent my preferred plan to the head of the Technical Committee because for us, it is obviously optimizing the time that we have. So, we want to use this upcoming Fifa window, we want to use December and January. What was done in the past is that players spent a lot of weeks in camps and accumulate too much fatigue heading into a tournament,” Wall reasoned.

“So, the good thing about what we are doing now by having these short camps since March is that it actually gives players time to adapt to the messaging and what we want and how I feel that we need to train and what we need to be. So given time, we can do a lot of things together and I am really looking forward to it myself,” he noted.

That said, the tactician who also works alongside Heimir Hallgrimsson with the senior Reggae Boyz team, expressed delight with how they have incorporated young players into that setup.

“The proof of it is in what we have been doing with the first team with guys like Dexter Lembikisa, Karoy Anderson and Whisper [Dujuan Richards]. So, the process is there and the pathway for the younger players should be there, and we need to have a really inclusive environment,” he stated.

“Jamaica for me is bold and likes to take on challenges and if there is anything I can add, I hope that I can, but I want to see that sense of desperation and urgency when Jamaica is playing football,” Wall ended.

Group A -Cuba, Nicaragua, Belize, British Virgin Islands, and Anguilla
(Venue: Estadio Nacional, Managua)

Group B -El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Guyana, and Turks and Caicos Islands (Venue: ABFA Technical Centre, Piggotts)

Group C -Guatemala, Curacao, Aruba, Saint Martin, and Barbados
(Venue: Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores, Guatemala City)

Group D -Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica (Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain)

Group E -Haiti, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Cayman Islands
(SKNFA Technical Center, Basseterre)

Group F -Jamaica, Bermuda, Grenada, and Martinique (Venue: SKNFA Technical Center, Basseterre)

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Related items

  • John Mousinho applauds ‘absolutely incredible’ Portsmouth after promotion John Mousinho applauds ‘absolutely incredible’ Portsmouth after promotion

    John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s “remarkable achievement” after the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

    Pompey looked to be missing their opportunity in front of their own fans when, needing one point to return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, they were 2-1 behind after Devante Cole and John McAtee struck either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

    But the hosts hit back in the final seven minutes with Colby Bishop scoring from the penalty spot and Conor Shaughnessy heading home the winner.

    Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent Sport: “I think once everything settles down it will sink in properly. I’ve never experienced anything like that, the last 15 minutes, it was absolutely incredible.

    “Even at 2-1 down, to get the momentum and the crowd behind us, I am just so proud of the boys. I’m genuinely just so pleased for everyone connected to the football club. They’ve gone through so much.

    “When we got it back to 3-2 I thought we have played so poor, but found a way to win somehow in a game where we really struggled. It really does sum up the boys.

    “A tough night, tough conditions, but they got the job done. It’s hard for me to sum it up, but I get what’s happened over the last 15 years at the club and how difficult it was, on the brink of liquidation, to come back and have a night like this is incredible to be involved in.

    “To be head coach, it is a privilege. Hopefully we can have a few more nights like this.

    “I never could have imagined this happening this quickly. This was obviously the goal at some point, but didn’t think it would happen with two games to go this season. It is a remarkable achievement. That is a serious effort to be crowned champions ahead of some of the big boys in this league as well.”

    Play-off chasing Barnsley, having lost three of their last four games, are four points above seventh-placed Lincoln.

    Boss Neill Collins told the club’s official website: “There are a lot of positives. But the biggest frustration is that all those positives didn’t add up to what I thought would be a deserved victory.

    “We perform like that, we’ll be fine. We’ll win games. It’s just the fine margins. For me, it’s the fine margins that have gone against us the past four or five games.

    “Tonight again, it’s some of our doing. But that’s what we need to concentrate on. That’s what the Football League is all about.”

  • Darren Moore admits lapse of concentration cost Port Vale Darren Moore admits lapse of concentration cost Port Vale

    Port Vale boss Darren Moore blamed his relegation-threatened side’s dramatic 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe on a lack of concentration at the back.

    Vale’s League One existence now hangs in the balance after a late Nigel Lonwijk strike means they are three points from safety with just two games left.

    Wycombe took the lead in the fourth minute when David Wheeler was first to react after Connor Ripley had saved a close-range header from Sam Vokes.

    Wanderers could have been two ahead just moments later as Wheeler again found himself free with just Ripley to beat, only to see his effort drift wide.

    Vale’s only real effort of the first period fell to Ethan Chislett, whose long-range volley was spectacularly pushed over by Franco Ravizzoli in the Wycombe goal.

    The home side began the second period brightly and were level just two minutes after the restart when Chislett slotted past Ravizzoli after finding himself in acres of space.

    But with Vale pushing for that all-important winner in their battle to beat the drop, it was Lonwijk who popped up at the other end to win it for Wycombe and heap more misery on Moore’s men.

    Moore said: “It was disappointing because you don’t want to lose a game in that manner.

    “I really felt like we were in the ascendancy and if we kept our concentration we could get a chance to win the game, but we fell to a really late goal that absolutely knocked the stuffing out of the boys.

    “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb after conceding that early goal and got back into the game early in the second half through Chislett to really give ourselves momentum and hope.

    “I still felt that a chance was going to drop our way but what I didn’t envisage was our lapse of concentration at the back that has led to their goal.

    “We’ve got two games remaining and we know what to do, we’ve got to dust ourselves down and get ready for another tough game on Saturday.”

    Wycombe claimed a second consecutive away win.

    Boss Matt Bloomfield said: “I’m disappointed we weren’t further ahead if I’m honest. We could have been three-up after 10 minutes and could and should have been out of sight.

    “We knew it was going to be a tough game as Port Vale are fighting for their lives and have got some really good players, so to find an early goal and a late winner, I’m delighted.

    “We needed to start the game on the front foot and the game plan was coming off and it wasn’t until the second half that they managed to break us down, but to find the character to go and get the winner was really pleasing.

    “I stood on the touchline thinking this was a war of attrition and it was tough to get out at times, but we had fresh legs on the bench so I’m really pleased with the performance of the whole squad.”

  • Southampton have changed dynamic of promotion race – Russell Martin Southampton have changed dynamic of promotion race – Russell Martin

    Russell Martin said the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion race “dynamic” has changed after Southampton’s 3-0 domination of Preston.

    Saints had looked destined for a play-off place after three defeats in four games during February, but three home wins in seven days has them just four points off the top two.

    A Che Adams brace and Stuart Armstrong’s fourth goal of the season sealed the points on Tuesday and Saints boss Martin said: “I think it was a brilliant performance with some really beautiful stuff.

    “It has been a big week for us. It has changed the dynamic. We were written off some point ago but the players have stuck at it and been resilient.

    “We have the opportunity to take the points off teams around us but if we have to take care of the next one against Cardiff and if we don’t then the others become a bit pointless.”

    Adams opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he tapped in Adam Armstrong’s centre for his 100th career goal.

    He doubled his tally by finishing a fine team move with a cool finish before Stuart Armstrong capitalised on a defensive howler to smash in.

    The only taint on the evening was an Achilles injury to goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu in the warm-up that looks to have ended his season.

    Martin, who promoted Alex McCarthy, said: “He has felt something in his Achilles and will have a scan tomorrow. We don’t expect to see him any time soon and we’ll give him all the support he needs.

    “Al has trained so well. He has travelled everywhere and trained like a beast. We’ve seen what Joe (Lumley) can do and has done really well and we wanted to see Al. It was a feeling I had in my gut at the time.”

    But Martin added on the performance of Adams, who he subbed off before he could score a hat-trick: “He has just threatened to beat me up out there! We had a hug and a laugh and he understands why I had to take him off.

    “He looks like he is going to score all the time at the moment.”

    Preston had the third lowest expected goals of the Championship season with 0.07 and manager Ryan Lowe said: “The be all and end all was the first half has cost us. The game plan that we set out to do in the first half was nowhere near.

    “The game was probably over at half-time at 3-0. You can’t give a team like Southampton chances like that because they’re a fantastic team.

    “The game plan was to try and nullify their strengths and capitalise on their weaknesses and we didn’t really do either.

    “They could end up going up automatically, if not they’re going to be a real force in the play-offs.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.