Boyz look for improved performance against St Lucia
GROS ISLET, St Lucia — After Sunday's below-par showing in a 2-0 win over Barbados, the Reggae Boyz will close their friendly international tour of the eastern Caribbean against St Lucia at the Beausejour Cricket Ground at 5:00 pm (Jamaica time) today.
Credit to the Winfried Schaefer-coached team, they did improve in the latter half of the Barbados clash.
Freshly appointed assistant coach Miguel Coley is expecting the upward climb to continue against another team with a lesser footballing reputation in the region.
"I think the guys will be improving. I think they are understanding the system better. We had some dialogue and they seem to be understanding what we [the coaching staff] want from them in terms of ball possession and things like that.
"Playing against St Lucia tomorrow we definitely will be pressing them as much as possible. We'll try to win the football and maintain possession when we get it and score some goals," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
The Boyz are boosted by the addition of the British-based foursome of defenders Adrian Mariappa and Wes Morgan, as well as central midfielder Rodolph Austin and wide attacker Garath McCleary.
Another attacking England-based player Jobi McAnuff was also called but he pulled out due to a head injury.
The players were not available for the Barbados clash because it was not an official FIFA friendly window.
They replaced the trio of Dicoy Williams, Nicholi Finlayson and Hughan Gray, who returned home a day after the Barbados game.
With the inclusion of the players from England, Coley is looking towards working with players he believes have the tactical awareness to execute the coach's plans.
"It's obviously a boost with the professionalism and quality that they bring. We expect to see their discipline in terms of tactics," Coley said.
The Jamaicans arrived in Castries, St Lucia, late Monday night, after a lengthy flight delay had them stalled in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Up to press time yesterday evening, the 18-man squad was engaged in a light training session at the Beausejour venue under the watchful eyes of Schaefer and his technical staff.
The training drills included passing combinations, building from an opponents' clearance and attacking down the flanks.
Jamaica's preparation for the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign continues with their next friendly scheduled against Serbia on May 26.
Squad — Andre Blake, Gariece McPherson, Upston Edwards, Ricardo Morris, Darren Mattocks, Alvas Powell, Deshorn Brown, Michael Seaton, Wes Morgan, Adrian Mariappa, Romario Campbell, Renae Lloyd, Nicholas Beckett, Garath McCleary, John Ross Edwards, Kemar Lawrence, Je-Vaughn Watson, Rodolph Austin.