Jones full of belief ahead of qualifiers

  • Bermuda Under-20 coach Ray Jones

    Bermuda Under-20 coach Ray Jones

Ray Jones has challenged his Bermuda football side to match expectations and book their place at the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship.

Bermuda have been seeded as the top team within group D alongside Barbados, Cayman Islands and host nation Puerto Rico for the qualification stage, which starts at the Juan Ramón Lubriel Stadium, San Juan, next Wednesday.

Although the coach has warned his side not to underestimate any of their opponents, he believes Bermuda should be setting their sights on confirming their berth at the main tournament in Honduras from June 20, with only the winners of the four groups progressing.

“I rate our chances of doing well pretty highly,” said Jones, whose team kick off against Barbados next Wednesday before facing Cayman Islands on the 21st and finish with Puerto Rico on the 23rd.

“We definitely have every chance of achieving what we should be aiming to do.

“The key for me is to win our first match and then build from there. If we can win our first two matches then it could be a winner-takes-all scenario against Puerto Rico, who are our toughest opponents.

“However, we try and instil a philosophy of respecting every opponent and not looking beyond anyone. We have to execute our game plan every time.

“We should always be aiming to compete at the Concacaf Championships when they come around.”

Jones also spoke of the positive impact of the Bermuda senior team’s recent success on the international stage within the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nations League, on the nation’s younger teams.

“We are the top-seeded team in our group and having seen the senior team’s success in recent times that has given us the courage to go away and compete on the international stage against anyone,” he added.

“That success has definitely trickled down from the senior team to the younger groups. We share ideas about preparation and how we can mimic that across all age groups.”

“They’ve shown that we can believe that anything is possible.

“Kyle always keeps an eye on the younger players and having him involved is a real benefit. It is also a big incentive to the squad because we always remind them that at under-20 level you’re not a youth player any more, you should be aspiring to be involved in the senior team.

“For them I couldn’t be any better than having the national coach involved directly within the set up.”

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Published Feb 11, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 10, 2020 at 8:03 pm)

Jones full of belief ahead of qualifiers

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