Building the Reggae Boyz, one block at a time


Sunday, June 01, 2014

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Baseball legend Babe Ruth once said, "Every strike is one step closer to a home run".

I always liked that quote because it points out the quintessence of success in sport, maybe of success in general. You can't expect to grow, to improve and finally be successful without challenging yourself, taking a risk and losing from time to time.

We lost two games against Serbia and Switzerland.

But I'm not sad, not at all. We chose to play these games against two very strong teams because we're now in a development and improvement phase. It would be a waste of time to play against mediocre or even low-level teams just to present you with an easy win.

We want to become a better team, game by game. We are already preparing for the Caribbean Cup and we take that seriously. So this time it wasn't about winning, but about achieving a bunch of individual and specific team successes, important steps, and I'm proud to say that we were able to do that.

So I want to thank the team.

These friendly games weren't official FIFA games, so after a hard and stressful season the players decided to play for their country instead of enjoying holidays.

That's wonderful. It tells us about their patriotism, their ambition and professionalism.

Once again our players prove that we have the base we need to build on for future success.

You can be proud of your team. And of course I thank you, the fans, for your support.

Against Serbia, a team with players in top clubs in Europe, we were a bit nervous in the beginning, but came back in the second half confident and strong. Over time we played even better than Serbia.

Rodolph Austin impressed as a good captain, a leader and role model for professionalism; young Michael Seaton from DC United proved himself as a cold-blooded striker. André Blake, our goalkeeper, made a fantastic game and Philadelphia Union should ask themselves why he isn't number one. All in all, we had a pretty new team — Four local players who fought bravely and two new guys from England who made clear that they want it all.

Against a very good Swiss team, we played even better and I'm very proud, because that made clear what we're able to achieve if we have the time to work together. The team was able to anticipate the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents and reacted in a smart and efficient way. We saw a strategic and tactically very good game and we had more chances to make a goal than the Swiss. We have to focus on holding the ball in front to build up the attack for the final, deadly pass to score, but we're on a very good path.

Again, I was impressed by Blake, our leaders Austin, Wes Morgan and Adrian Mariappa, but in general from the whole team. Every single one did a great job and can be proud. You did well, boys, and you are on a very good and promising way.

Editor's note: Winfried Schaefer is a German national and the head coach of Jamaica's Reggae Boyz.




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