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Schäfer pleased with Reggae Boyz play in back-to-back friendlies

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Reggae Boyz head coach Winfried Schäfer

WESTERN BUREAU:

National men's football team head coach, Winfried Schäfer, gave the thumbs up for the Reggae Boyz' overall performance in the two international friendly matches against Venezuela.

The Reggae Boyz beat Cuba 3-0 on Monday night at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, having clipped Venezuela 2-1 on Friday.

"Against Venezuela, we were very, very good," Schäfer said.

"And tonight against Cuba, we were also good, but we didn't concentrate for the full 90 minutes, but the goals came and we won, so that is good," he said.

Schäfer thinks the team is on the right track ahead of the Copa America tournament, but he believes there is still room for improvement. He, however, noted that they need at least one more friendly to gauge the team's readiness.

"I hope for that tournament (Copa America) all the players will be fit and ready, but we need one more game before our first match against Uruguay," Schäfer told reporters.

The Jamaicans are riding a five-game winning streak and the coach believes the players are understanding how he wants them to play - quick passes from midfield to give the strikers a chance at goal.

 

Cubans stunned

 

In a game in which all three goals came in the first half - two as a result of corner kicks - the Reggae Boyz seem to have picked up where they left off against the Venezuelans last Friday with a sumptuous display of attacking football that simply stunned the Cubans into submission.

Romeo Parkes fired the Boyz into an early lead when he scored from just outside the area in the third minute of the contest. A corner swung into the area by captain Rudolph Austin was not cleared effectively by the Cuban defence, and it fell for Parkes, who made no mistake.

The second goal was well taken by defender Daniel Gordon. His powerful header off another Austin corner kick in the fourth minute eluded Cuba goalkeeper Guerro Alejandro to make the score 2-0.

A Darren Mattocks header put the Jamaicans up 3-0 in the 30th minute, as the striker completed a sweet move from Barnes down the Cuban right flank.

Barnes has impressed the coaching staff and fans since joining the squad, and he once again had an outstanding game last night against Cuba.

The visitors' coach, Walter Benitez, said they were surprised how quickly the Reggae Boyz scored two goals.

"The two goals - definitely, the first one - surprised my players, and we found it difficult to recover against a good Jamaica side," Benitez said.