DESPITE not having a practice game prior to their do-or-die World Cup qualifying away match-up against Panama on September 6, Reggae Boyz head coach Winfried Schafer has instead made himself busy by scouting and talking to several key overseas-based players.
The 63-year-old German, who was appointed in July, remains upbeat that the Reggae Boyz can pull off the miracle and still qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.
"Right now we have a 30 per cent chance, but when we win against Panama that will be 60 per cent and maybe Costa Rica or Honduras lose the next match, I don't know, it's not easy," said Schafer.
The former Bundesliga stalwart, who scored 46 goals in 403 German top-flight appearances as a player and who led Cameroon to the African Cup of Nations title in 2002, said he wouldn't have taken the Jamaican job if he thought it was hopeless.
"I believe I can change from the last matches to success in the few days before the match against Panama, I will have to instil belief in the players," said Schafer.
The Reggae Boyz are currently at the bottom of the six-team group on two points behind Panama (six), Honduras (seven), Mexico (eight), Costa Rica (11), and the United States of America (13) with only four games remaining.
Schafer said he was shocked when he looked at the table and saw Jamaica with only two points, and after careful video analysis, he was convinced that the Reggae Boyz should have been in a better position.
"I have to talk to the players, I need information from my players. I need opinion of the players why Jamaica have only two points. What we have to do for better. Why we lost against United States. Why we lost against Panama. I want opinions of the players," he explained.
"The important thing is that the players come here with motivation and only these players will show up in my team," said Schafer.
With all six teams in the Hexagonal round busy recently with friendly games, Jamaica were unable to secure one on the last FIFA calendar date set aside for friendly internationals. But Schafer was not idle.
"I was in America at the CONCACAF Gold Cup which featured four of our opponents in the World Cup qualifying," noted Schafer.
"I watched Honduras, Costa Rica, United States, Mexico and Panama after I was in England and watched six Championship matches, and importantly, I talked to my Reggae Boyz," he noted.
While in the United Kingdom where he met and spoke with several players, five of whom are captains of Championships teams in England.
Although he couldn't remember all the names, he did mention one Westley Morgan who is the skipper of Leicester City and who is regarded as the best centre back in the Championship. Morgan, 29, may be a replacement for the injured Nyron Nosworthy.
"I saw some new players while in England, but I cannot tell you now which players are on the list. When Captain (Horace) Burrell comes back we will have a press conference and talk about it," he told the Jamaica Observer.