Reggae Boyz ready, says Schäfer

Reggae Boyz ready, says Schäfer
Reagge Boyz with head coach Winfried Schäfer at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale

Reggae Boyz training in SoFlo ahead of Copa America

The Reggae Boyz have their head in the game for the first Copa America Centario match against Venezuela, says head coach of Jamaica’s national Soccer Team, Winfried Schäfer. Speaking to the National Weekly during a team training camp held at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale this week ahead of their game this Sunday in Chicago, Schäfer says the team’s primary focus will be to sharpen “our tactics in the field.”

“Our tactics are clear, what we have to do,” says Schäfer. “We watched DVDs of Chile and Argentina and found exactly what we have to do. We play very quickly from the defense on the right side and off side to make more goals. [Push] our limit in the fitness and power.”

Schäfer did confess that the Copa America comes at “a difficult end of the season,” with many of the player just finishing their seasons in the Premiere League and Major League Soccer, leaving limited time for training together as a team. But motivation among the team remains high.

“The players know I want success for the country,” says Schäfer, “and they know that when they play well in the Copa America for the country, everybody in the world will see Jamaica.”

The team is also riding high on the success of their players on the international circuit, says Schäfer, such as National Team Captain Wes Morgan leading Leicester City FC to Premiere League victory this year.

“Jamaica has a very good image at the moment,” notes Schäfer. “Three years ago one player in England told me Coach, my coach told me in the club ‘why you want to go to Jamaica?’ now the coaches are scouting, saying ‘what? You don’t have a player from Jamaica? You see they make it into the final.’ Yes, Jamaica has a very good image not only in the Caribbean, but in the world.”

Schäfer however made it clear that the team will not be resting on their laurels. “Everybody knows we can make a big name but that’s not what we want,” he said. “We want players that give 100 percent.”

As for the future of Jamaica’s rising youth soccer talent, Schäfer believes local soccer needs “more good fields” and also to “make our local coaches better.”

“We must help our coaches with their education,” says Schäfer. “Bring in coaches from the outside, Italy, Germany, France, to come for training.”

The Reggae Boyz match against Venezuela is set for Sunday, June 5, at 5 p.m.

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