PANAMA CITY, Panama, CMC – Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will be hoping to rescue their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign when they take on a plucky Panama in the fourth round of the CONCACAF competition which resumes here tonight.
The Reggae Boys currently lie third in Group B on four points, three behind the second placed Panamanians and six adrift of the table-topping Costa Rica.
Last November, Jamaica opened their campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Panama in Kingston and since then have been inconsistent with their results.
And coach Winfried Schaefer believes Jamaica will have to produce a combination of intelligent football and tough grind, in order to prevail against Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernández.
“We will talk what we have to do. The feeling was okay and the spirit was okay. Everyone wants to go out and fight the 90 minutes,” the Jamaica Observer newspaper quoted the German as saying.
“But they have to play with their heads and not just running. We have to play good football and keep the ball. We have to make good passes to the striker and accuracy in front of goal.”
In a disappointing start to the competition, Jamaica followed up their poor result against Panama with a 1-0 win over Haiti in Port-au-Prince also last November before drawing 1-1 with Costa Rica in Kingston in March.
In the return leg in San Jose, Jamaica were blanked 3-0 by the Costa Ricans.
The Reggae Boyz squad, which comprises the likes of overseas-based players Giles Barnes, Andre Blake, Michael Hector, Clayton Donaldson, Garath McCleary and Rodolph Austin, have been at hard work ever since arriving here.
Assistant coach Miguel Coley said there had been a definite focus on scoring.
“I’m pretty satisfied in terms of the fact we were working on a couple ideas and what we want to do in terms of possession and in terms of spatial alignment on the football field,” he noted.
“In the last part [of the session], we did some finishing because that’s very, very important. But goal-scoring is one thing; we have to create the idea, we have to create the opportunity, so we looked at how we want to score.”
The game is a crucial one for Jamaica, especially with just one more game remaining in the fourth round – against Haiti next Tuesday in Kingston.
SQUAD – Andre Blake, Ryan Thompson, Jacomena Barrett; Other players – Westley Morgan, Michael Hector, Adrian Mariappa, Lee Williamson, Clayton Donaldson, Garath McCleary, Rodolph Austin, Dever Orgill, Joel McAnuff, Jermaine Taylor, Alvas Powell, Je-Vaughn Watson, Giles Barnes, Simon Dawkins, Shaun Francis, Cory Burke, Kemar Lawrence, Michael Binns, Omar Holness, Rosario Harriott.