Young Boyz face big Cruz Azul test today

June 13th, 2011

OLUCA, Mexico —Head coach Wendell Downswell (right) gives instructions to his Under-17 players during a training session at the Exchacienda del Carmen field yesterday. (Photo: Howard Walker)

TOLUCA, Mexico — Jamaica’s Under-17s will tackle top Mexican club, Cruz Azul Under-17s today at 1:00 pm Jamaican time, as they finalise their preparations for the FIFA World Cup which is set to begin on June 18.

The young Reggae Boyz will then depart their pre-World Cup camp tomorrow and join the official FIFA World Cup camp in Monterrey, four days before the kickoff on June 18.

Jamaica’s Under-17s, who are drawn in Group B alongside Argentina, France and Japan, defeated Reforma Athletics 3-0 on Friday in their first practice match, but face a daunting task against a much tougher opponent in Cruz Azul.

The Mexican club, whose senior team plays in the top division, has won the Mexican league eight times and are five times CONCACAF Club champions.

That alone tells the tale of the quality that the Young Reggae Boyz will be facing when they take on the club’s junior today.

Head coach Wendell Downswell said this match will be an excellent test following an encouraging training session.

“This was one of the better sessions we had and they responded in a very positive way… so based on that, we are expecting a much improved performance from them,” said Downswell.

Downswell’s assistant, Omar Edwards ,arrived in Toluca this morning along with player Oshane Jenkins who will be put into action right away to see how he copes with the conditions.

“We will inject him in to see how well he can equip himself. But overall, we are satisfied thus far with the players. Based on my experience in Mexico, these youngsters have equipped themselves well in high altitude,” said Downswell.

“They have exceeded my expectation in terms of the whole adaptation process and this augurs well for them going into normal sea level itself.

“We just have to look at them against this formidable opposition… and this could be an acid test for them going into the opening game against Japan and I am quite upbeat and optimistic and looking for a good performance,” said Downswell.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Odean Clarke was released from hospital on Saturday evening, and will not take part as he is still recuperating from the concussion sustained in the match against Reforma Athletics.

“I am feeling better, but I have a slight headache and a swollen lip,” said Clarke, the Muschett High School student and Holland United player.


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