Photo: Jamaica's goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers reacts quickly to avert the danger as Maria Torres bears down on goal. Torres who was the tournaments leading scorer with 4 goals got the lone strike to down Jamaica as Cuba won the tournament with two wins while Jamaica were runners-up with a win over bottom place Barbados.
Jamaica went down to a narrow 1-0 loss to neightbours Cuba in the CFU Women’s Challenger Cup on Sunday after defeating Barbados 3-2 on Friday to finish as runners-up in the friendly series designed to assist with preparations for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
In a game where the Reggae Girlz could have won by at least two clear goals, the lack of a killer instinct in front of goal saw the Andrew Price coached team living to rue a number of missed chances against a Cuban team that seized the moment to come out victors.
With more than half the squad being a part of a national set-up for the very first time, Price believes that it is the experience factor that mattered the most in the end.
“I bring it down to a little inexperience. We had a squad of 20 players, 11 of them, the first time they are donning the yellow shirts for Jamaica. I think they put in a creditable performance and if we were a little bit more clinical in front of goal in the first half, we should have really gone into the half time with a sizable lead.
“Unfortunately we gave up one to a defensive error, but I think you can’t take anything away from the girls. They played very well, they gave as good as they got, we got numerous opportunities and we just couldn’t convert.”
Captain and goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers came in for high praises for her efforts for the team.
“I must say kudos to our captain Chris-Ann Chambers, I think she kept excellently, she is playing with an injury but she still stood out there and fought and I think all the individuals came out there and gave a good effort. I narrow down this loss to inexperience. But it’s a good platform for the girls to work with, the local girls get an opportunity to play an international for the first time in two years. We hope we can get some more opportunities.”
Price is hoping that more can come from the local players as a result of this first effort.
“It is a very young squad, we have a lot of schoolgirls in the squad as well, so it’s a good mix of youth and experience and we want to try and see if we can keep a blend. What we want to do is have a core of 40-50 players that are constantly available for whenever we have international engagements,” he revealed.
A camp will follow for the Girlz before the serious business of World Cup qualification begins in earnest next month.
“We go to Orlando at the end of April for about a week and after that we go unto Haiti for the first round of the qualifiers.
“We see that we have talents in Jamaica so what we are gonna do is look and see if we can pick out the best individuals here and see if we can amalgamate them with the oversees based players at the camp and see if we can get the best 11 out there to represent the country at the qualifiers,” Price said.