JAMAICA'S senior women's football players were scheduled to return to local camp yesterday as they continue preparation for the CONCACAF stage of World Cup qualifying scheduled to be staged in the United States next month.

September 17, 2014 2:48 AM

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The Reggae Girlz, under the supervision of head coach Merron Gordon, were in camp from Monday through to Friday of last week, holding several training sessions at the Stadium East field and also at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Centre on the UWI Mona Campus.

During the sessions, the players underwent fitness assessments overseen by US-based strength and conditioning trainer Will Hitzelberger.

Gordon said that Hitzelberger was brought in temporarily since the usual trainer Andre Waugh was on international duty with the senior men's team in Canada.

The coach said managing the fitness of the team will be particularly important with the CONCACAF Championship on the horizon.

"There are two things about the physical tests; one is to find out exactly where we are and the second thing is to build from there for them to peak in October. We need to do a lot of work to get them very sharp for CONCACAF football because that's another level and we have to step up to that level," Gordon told the Jamaica Observer.

The Girlz coaching staff has been keen on tying down Friendly International games ahead of the tournament; however, that is yet to be realised.

Last Thursday, the Girlz unit, comprising local-based players, had a practice game against a St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) Under-17 male team and lost 1-2.

Gordon was satisfied with what he saw and said that some fringe players have been impressive.

"It was a good game, especially because we were looking at some new young players. Some of those players have a good chance to make the final squad [for the tournament]," he said.

The Reggae Girlz are finalising arrangements to begin an overseas camp in the US later this month. A total of 24 players are likely to be selected for the camp, but that number is expected to be shaved to 20 for the tournament.

At the eight-team CONCACAF Championship, Jamaica are in Group B along with Mexico, Costa Rica and Martinique. Group A consists of Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Guatemala and hosts US.

The competition begins on October 15, but the Jamaicans will enter the fray the following day when they take on Martinique in Kansas.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-final stage. The top three teams at the tournament automatically qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada next year.

The fourth-placed team will have to play off against a counterpart in South America for an additional World Cup spot.

Source: jamaicaobserver.com

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