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Busby committed to keeping Girlz programme on track despite COVID-19

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 09, 2020

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Despite being in uncertain times due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hubert Busby continues to plot the way forward to future success for Jamaica's women's football programme, particularly for the Under-17 Reggae Girlz.

Head Coach Busby and his staff are eyeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and as such, took to online platform Zoom to engage and keep players tactically focused while they are away from the field.

The Under-17 World Cup qualifiers, which were scheduled for late last month, is among the many sporting casualties of the current health crisis.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz and their Under-20 counterparts both failed to qualify for the Olympics and Under-20 World Cup, respectively, prior to the outbreak.

“We looked at this opportunity to kind of have the group stay connected to discuss our playing principles and how that fits into the overall Reggae Girlz programme, as we await word on when those qualifiers will take place,” Busby told the Jamaica Observer from his base in the United States yesterday.

“So, over the next four to six weeks we will be going through the eight key areas that we want to work on in terms of who we are and what our identity is as a programme. I don't wish to share those principles at this time but what I will say is, we want the team to be high-tempo and aggressive and we want to progress the ball through possession,” he shared.

With many athletes and non-athletes alike struggling to cope with the restrictions brought on by the infectious virus, Busby pointed to the significance of focusing on goals for when the pandemic subsides.

And with that in mind, the tactician encouraged players to use the opportunity to get better mentally, despite not playing in games.

“I think it is very important for us to continue to plan. We don't know what is in store but I think it is important, mentally and psychologically, to remain focused. We all know that it obviously is a very unprecedented and trying time, but it is important for us to continue to strive toward a goal,” Busby reasoned.

“With good faith and God willing, we know we will come out of this better and stronger people. So, it is important for us to look at this opportunity to stay prepared, and to continue planning and keep the minds of these young athletes occupied and focused on a task – and I think that is very important to their mental well-being at this time,” the former national goalkeeper added.

Busby, while paying tribute to his predecessors Hue Menzies and Lorne Donaldson, revealed his own aspirations to continue the growth of Jamaica's women's football brand and, by extension, move the programme into the top three in Concacaf.

The number 50th-ranked Reggae Girlz, who made a historic Fifa Women's World Cup appearance in France last year, are currently fifth in the confederation.

World leaders United States, eighth-ranked Canada, Mexico ranked at 27th and 36th-ranked Costa Rica, currently occupy the top four positions.

“Personally for me, it's continuing to build on the wonderful platform and foundation that was laid before me, because it is important that we continue to do our best to keep the women's programme moving in the right direction. So, I will continue to do that while I am asked to.

“I think it is important for the programme to move forward, because if you are not moving forward then you are standing still and the rest of the world will be moving further ahead of us, even though we are going through this tough time,” Busby noted.

“So as a federation, as a programme, we have to do the same. And I think by doing that, it keeps us all really focused on trying to do the best job we can in terms of collaboration, in terms of best practices, and making sure that the ultimate goal is for us to be one of the top three programmes in Concacaf. As long as that's the goal, by all means, let's continue to work hard to see if we can achieve that,” Busby ended.


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