Jamaica’s assistant coach steps up to tackle World Cup-bound Ghana, Morocco and Qatar in Austrian tournament
Merron Gordon, assisted by Vassell Reynolds, will take charge of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz for this month’s Austria Mini Football Tournament.
Gordon, who managed the Reggae Girlz for three games in 2019 with an unbeaten record, has been announced as the interim head coach when the Boyz visit Vienna for some tricky high-profile matches.
He has primarily a local contingency of players to tackle the might of Ghana, Morocco and hosts Qatar. All three opponents are competing to warm up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November and December.
Gordon will step up from his role as assistant coach to London-based Paul Hall, who is unavailable due to coaching commitments with the U23 team QPR.
Hall remains locked in negotiations to be appointed head coach on a permanent basis by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), with rumours that any deal will be announced by the end of the month.
As this tournament runs outside of the FIFA international window. Gordon only has the option to call upon local players. The might of Ghana, Morocco and Qatar would have been a stiff task even with the usual array of Boyz who ply their trade across Europe and North America.
The Boyz will compete on 20, 23 and 26 August at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, renamed in honour of Austrian footballer Ernst Happel following his death in 1992. It is the largest stadium in Austria with a capacity of 50,865.
Ghana, who boast a FIFA-ranking of world no.60, recently announced that half-a-dozen players of Ghanaian heritage who ply their trade in Europe have made themselves available to join the Black Stars for the World Cup finals. Ghana missed out on reaching the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Morocco (ranked no.22) became the first-ever African nation to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup finals back in 1986. They are the second-highest team in the region behind Senegal, with the Atlas Lions appearing to be formidable opposition for Jamaica.
Qatar (ranked no.49) remain in a training camp in Austria ahead of friendlies against European clubs. They will then participate in the Austria Mini Football Tournament and as they have spent so much time together then their team understanding could be spot on.
The Jamaica delegation arrives in Austria on 17 August and departs on 27 August, with the objective to hone their inexperienced players. Indian-based striker Jourdaine Fletcher and US-based defender Maliek Howell are the only members of the 23-player squad who do not compete in the Jamaica Premier League.
A statement from the JFF read: “The JFF remains focused on the development of home-grown players. Our ambition and desire is to improve on and off the field.”
Goalkeepers | Eric Edwards (Arnett Gardens), Kemar Foster (Waterhouse FC), Amal Knight (Harbour View), Dennis Taylor (Humble Lion)
Defenders | Ky-Mani Campbell (Waterhouse FC), Nickoy Christian (Dunbeholden), Alwayne Harvey (Mount Pleasant), Maliek Howell (University of Memphis, USA), Richard King (Cavalier), Earl Simpson (Arnett Gardens), Ricardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC)
Midfielders | Jahshaun Anilin (Harbour View), Ramone Howell (Waterhouse FC), Fabion McCarthy (Dunbeholden), Odane Pennycooke (Tivoli Gardens), Demario Phillips (Dunbeholden), Trayvone Reid (Harbour View), Tarick Ximines (Mount Pleasant)
Strikers | Dwayne Atkinson (Cavalier FC), Jourdaine Fletcher (Gokulam Kerala, India), Colorado Murray (Harbour View), Denardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC), Ronaldo Webster (Cavalier FC)
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