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Crunch time for young Reggae Boyz on Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:14 pm



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Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:

Host Jamaica will be gunning to secure a quarter-final round place in the 2011 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship this afternoon, when they square-off against Guatemala in their crucial Group C fixture at the Montego Bay Stadium, St James, starting at 3 p.m.

In the game, which will follow the 12:30 p.m. Group D curtain-raiser between qualifiers Honduras and Canada, Jamaica need only to avoid defeat to join early qualifier Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) from Zone C. Guatemala must win to advance ahead of Jamaica.

Declaring that the coaching staff has done all they can to get the young reggae boys ready for the Guatemala challenge, National Coach Wendell Downswell said the youngsters, who drew 2-2 with Trinidad in their opening game, now have their destiny in their own hands.

"The players know what they need to do and it is now for them to go out and do it," said Downswell.

"We are confident that they will get the job done but as I said, their fate is in their own hands."

For Guatemala, Coach Gary Stempel believes his team was unfortunate in Thursday's 1-0 loss against T&T, but are hell-bent on making amends against Jamaica.

"We have no choice but to go out there and win the game against Jamaica," said Stempel.

"I know we have a good team and I am sure the players want to move on in this tournament."

Based on what he has seen in the latest series of tactical sessions aimed at getting the young boys calm and composed, Coach Downswell does not expect to see a repeat of the first-game jitters that was displayed against T&T.

"These youngsters are well prepared and they know the nation is depending on them," said Downswell.

"I can see and feel the determination in them and I know they are going out there to give of their best."

While Guatamala will be depending on the likes of the wily Franklin Garcia, Luis Ruiz, Alvaro Tuna and skipper Gerardo Gordillo to give them victory, Jamaica's hopes will revolve around skipper Omar Holness, Romario Williams, Andre Lewis and Patrick Palmer.

In the opening game between Honduras and the rampaging Canada, the teams will have their sights set on topping the group which would mean meeting the runner-up from the Jamaica team in the quarter-finals. Based on their respective results against Barbados, Canada should start firm favourites.

In their opening game against Barbados, Honduras had a 2-1 win. However, in their game against the Barbadians, Canada spanked them 8-0.

"We know Honduras is a good team and we are expecting a good game from them," said Sean Fleming, Canada's coach. "However, we intend to get a positive result against them."

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