Youth programme must not fall behind - Busby Jr
With the cancellation of the 2020 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup, national women's coach Hubert Busby Jr says that focus now shifts to preparing the young Reggae Girlz to move up to the next level in their development.
The tournament which was scheduled for India last month was initially rescheduled to next February because of the pandemic, however, FIFA announced that the 2020 edition of the competition is cancelled. The bi-annual tournament would now be held in 2022 with India being re-appointed as hosts.
The young Reggae Girlz were scheduled to compete in the Under-17 Concacaf Championship in Mexico in April, the competition that would decide the qualifiers for the region, but was cancelled, coinciding with FIFA's decision to abandon 2020 Under-17 World Cup.
Busby Jr says that the decision was understandable considering the current health climate but is now focused on getting the current group ready to progress to the next age level.
"Now it is incumbent on us figure out how we can bridge the gap for those U17's to get ready for the next cycle which they would be ready for the U20's and so it's imperative that we look to do something with that group more than likely this spring or summer," Busby Jr told STAR Sports.
The last youth tournament that managed to take place was the Under-20 Concacaf Championship which took place in February. Jamaica advanced to the quarterfinals but failed to qualify for the Under-20 Women's World Cup which was also cancelled. Busby says that they would be looking at transiting the Under-15 group to the Under-17 level as they hope to qualify for the 2022 tournament and has stressed the importance of continued commitment to the youth programme so that eventual progression to the professional level does not suffer.
"The success of what happens with your senior team depends on what you are doing in your younger age groups and so it's really crucial that this occurs while we are able to do that," Busby Jr said.