HOWARD WALKER With the U-20 REGGAE BOYZ @ THE CONCACAF WORLD CUP PLAY-OFFS IN MEXICO
PUEBLA, Mexico — Following their 0-4 battering at the hands of Panama, the young Reggae Boyz seem to have rekindled the vibe for success with a lively training session on Sunday at the Noria FC ground as they prepare for the ultimate test tomorrow.
Jamaica tackle host Mexico on Wednesday night at 9:00 pm Jamaica time for a spot in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup final and the coaching staff was busy refocusing the youngsters for that crucial encounter.
Following Saturday's debacle, there was an eerie silence on the bus for the 20-minute drive from the stadium to the hotel, as players hung their heads in disappointment, and it was evident, at that point, that head coach Luciano Gama would have a tough job getting them back in a positive frame of mind.
"The first thing yesterday (Sunday) was we tried and recover from the game because, after 24 hours, the first thing is recovery. But we used it also to run and do some stretching because we have no time to lose," Gama pointed out.
He added: "We have a very difficult game on Wednesday (tomorrow)... it is tough, but not impossible, and that's what we are saying to the group."
The young Boyz started the training session looking a little bit unsure and low on confidence, but as they went through their drills, the good vibes seemed to return as they bounced about looking lively and enthusiastic.
Once again, the starting players were put through lighter drills with the bench players doing the brunt of the work as they attempted to impress for starting spots.
"At the end of the practice, we felt the humour and the spirit of the team a little bit better. They started to joke a little bit more and we hope we can make them forget Saturday and make the Jamaican people proud of the team," said Gama.
According to the Brazilian, no wholesale changes should be expected to the starting team or any major tactical change for the crucial match.
"Today we start thinking about the game, and we must prepare the team tactically to go for the confrontation with Mexico.
"With young players sometimes you think everything is OK and so you prepare for the game; then they don't do a good game. And this is something we have to work on and make a balance with experience. We will have to choose the best 11 players that are suitable to fight against Mexico," he explained.