Girls did well in Jamaica

The Cayman Islands Football Association national Under-17 Girls teams created a stir last weekend during their training camp in Mandeville, Jamaica.

They dismissed a Manchester select 4-0, Los Perfectos Academy 2-0 and lost to the Jamaica National Under-17 Girls 3-2 at the Drax Hall play field in St Ann.

The other two games were played at Brooks Park in Mandeville.

Scorers against Manchester Select were Xothild Watler, Tacita Berry, Amanda Nelson and Shanice Montieth while in the Los Perfectos Academy game Tacita Berry and Nikki Ebanks scored.

This trip was planned by CIFA to prepare the girls for the upcoming 2009 Caribbean Football Union Youth Cup and U-17 Qualifiers in Trinidad between July 30 and August 9.

The girls under the expert guidance of coach Bobby McLaren and technical director Thiago Cunha did well despite their back to back games taking Jamaica by surprise scoring the first goal in the 9th minute through Nikki Ebanks.

The trailing Jamaicans pressured by the crowded venue of home supporters did not trail for long as in the 21st minute levelled through Shenika Williams.

Ten minutes later it was the Cayman Islands again in the lead with a goal from the determined Shanice Monteith and much to the disgust of the surprised Jamaicans.

Nine minutes later Jamaica levelled the score again with a penalty by Trudy Carter.

With fatigue and injury plaguing Cayman the tussle continued and with a few substitutions and a strong defensive unit Cayman Islands to keep the Jamaicans at bay.

However, in the 56th minute Shanise Bowen scored the deciding goal.

After the game Jamaica’s head coach Xavier Gilbert expressed his shock at the Cayman Islands team’s performance.

‘Seriously these girls surprised me I was very impressed,’ Gilvert said.

‘They played well and came well prepared dominating the game and making some dangerous advances towards goal. They are a good unit and with just a little more ball knowledge and ball possession they could have been more dangerous and the result of the game could have been different.

‘These girls will definitely be a force to reckon with in the future if they stick together and stay focused. I am really impressed and still in a state of shock regarding their excellent performance. It was a good test for us.’

Meanwhile, coach McLaren was pleased with his team. ‘The Cayman Islands girls did well, the Jamaican team came out quite confident that they would have a easy game against us but were taken by surprise when they realized how prepared we were for this game,’ he said.

‘They applied what they were trained to do for the past two months and did well in the counter attack system as that was when both goals were scored.

‘Unfortunately fatigue and injury handicapped our performance in the last part of the second half as two of our key players were taken out during tackles. We are happy to have competed credibly against the Caribbean champions.

‘Moving forward to Trinidad we the coaching staff will be working closely with these girls during the next two months to improve on the technical areas that they are lacking in.

‘The confidence developed in these girls resulting from their awesome performance during this training camp has changed the mindset of the girls themselves and the officials of the Cayman Islands and the Jamaica team as well and I feel elated knowing that they have tried so hard. If they continue on this trend with God’s help they can only get better.’

The Cayman Islands Under 17 Girls created a stir in November 2007 during the World Cup Girls U-17 Qualifiers in Antigua where they were edged out by Jamaica 2-1 in a tough game after dismissing Antigua 3-0 and British Virgin Island 4-0 in previous games.