KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Head coach Winfried Schafer says for Jamaica's Reggae Boyz to pull of their first win over the USA on American soil when they meet in a World Cup qualifier here on Friday night, the right spirit will have to be a main ingredient.
"The players have a very good spirit, I see them smiling and talking. The new players, too, are in good spirit and I think it's a good team (vibe) at the moment. If you want to win a match, it's important to have a very good team spirit," said the German at a light morning training session at the Johnson County Community
All but one player in the 23-man squad — Portland Timbers defender Alvas Powell — were present at the session ran in the main by physical trainer
"Our training this morning (yesterday) was all about recovery as the players had to do a lot of travelling to get here, some of them making many connections," said Schafer, a former tactician with the colourful Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
In a session planned for the same venue late last evening, Schafer promised that a more comprehensive approach will be undertaken which will give him a better look at "new" players joining the team.
Coming back from injury is the exciting left-sided player, Aalesunds FK's Demar Phillips. Also, midfielder Romario Campbell of Waterhouse, FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, and Colorado Rapids striker Deshorn Brown will be under the watchful eyes of the coach who would be eager to see what form they are in.
"Later today we will do more with the ball, tactical training, we will take shots at goal, crossing the ball and all that's important to win the match," Schafer told Jamaica reporters at the brief session yesterday.
And at last evening's practice, the Reggae Boyz were in their element when they pulled off an intense training session.
On a cool Kansas evening where the temperatures dropped to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a fired up bunch of players were in no mood for games as they staked their claim for spots on Schafer's final 11 for Friday's match at Sporting Park, the home of MLS outfit Kansas City Wizards.
In one-touch and two-touch scrimmaging activities, the players looked sharp and hungry.
If that intensity is repeated in upcoming training sessions, Schafer may have a tough task selecting his starting 11.
But as they say in sport, that's a good problem for a coach to have.
While all players looked in tip-top form, Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, Darren Mattocks, Theo Robinson, Jobi McAnuff, Westley Morgan, Ryan Johnson, Deshorn Brown and Jermaine Johnson were particularly in blazing form.
On the same day the Boyz face the USA, Honduras host Costa Rica in San Pedro Sula, while Mexico and Panama clash at
high altitude Azteca in Mexico City.
Along with the USA on 16 points, Costa Rica on 15 points have also booked their Brazil 2014 World Cup spot. Honduras follow in the race with 11 points and are on the verge of clinching the third automatic qualifying spot.
Panama and Mexico, eight points each, and Jamaica at the bottom with four are fighting for the fourth-place play-off spot.
Jamaica will close out their Brazil 2014 campaign next Tuesday in a home game against Honduras.
The top three teams will qualify directly for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Finals, while the fourth-placed team will play a home-and-away series against New Zealand, the winner of Oceania.