Young Reggae Boyz drawn in tough Group A for Concacaf U-20 Champs

By Sports Desk April 11, 2024
Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz. Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz.

Jamaica’s young Reggae Boyz will have powerhouse teams United States and Costa Rica, along with Caribbean neighbours Cuba to contend with in the group stages of this summer’s Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championships in Mexico.

Those teams will contest Group A of the tournament scheduled for July 19 to August 4. Honduras, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Canada will contest Group B, while host Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Haiti will lock horns in Group C.

The groups were revealed during a live draw on Thursday.

Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz, who topped Group F on their way to the Championships, will now be guided by Jerome Waite, who is looking forward to the challenge of possibly qualifying the country to its first Under-20 Men's World Cup since the Argentina feat in 2001.

To achieve the feat, Waite, who took the reins from John Wall after the Caribbean qualifiers, will have to first secure a top two spot from the Group, as only the top two finishers from each group, along with the two best-third-place teams, will advance to the quarterfinals.

From there, the four semi-finalists will secure qualification as Concacaf’s representatives at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup next year.

Waite, who is no stranger to high pressure situations, was at the helm when the young Reggae Boyz went into the 2018 tournament without much preparation or expectation, but surprised the entire nation when they finished level on 13 points from five games with Concacaf kingpins, Mexico, at the top of the group.

However, Mexico qualified for the second round by virtue of a better goal difference than the Jamaicans, as only the group winner advanced.

Since then, Jamaica's closest run to FIFA Under-20 World Cup qualification was when they made the quarterfinals of the 2022 tournament in Honduras.

"Qualification will not be easy, but it is something that can be accomplished," Waite said.

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