Schafer looks to energise Boyz
Winfried Schaefer is working on pumping up the energy levels of the Reggae Boyz for their CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final football match against the United States at the Georgia Dome tomorrow at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Jamaica time).
After beating Haiti 1-0 on a Giles Barnes seventh-minute goal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday night, the Jamaica senior men's national football team flew to Atlanta the following day.
Schafer wanted them to have a rest yesterday, but they wanted a little run out. Pretty much, it's what they're about. So the coach obliged, and off they jetted to Emory University for a nearly 40-minute run out.
"I talked to my players last night (Sunday), and I said tomorrow (yesterday) is free. They said, 'Coach, no. We want a little bit of training'," he said, noting his concern.
"The players are tired. We make small training for fun ... first stretching, only what the players need for muscle.
"It's very hot here ... . We need our energy. We cannot lose our energy in the training now," Schafer said.
"Today you see Wes Morgan, McCleary, going slowly. The players are professional. They know what they have to do today, and it's the same on the field."
Away from the field, the 65-year-old coach said the focus would be the same.
"Same later, with sleeping, watching video and dinner ... .
"We need much fitness for the match on Wednesday, and all players go to the physiotherapist, the doctor."
A lot of this, he said, is due to the fact that the US never had to expend as much energy as the Boyz in Saturday's quarter-final double-header, when Cuba fielded an under-strength team.
"When the States played Cuba, six players were out looking for passport in the States. I think Cuba didn't play their first team," he remarked.
"The States (USA) only needed 60 per cent for three points; we needed 110 per cent," he observed. "I know my players. When I see one player tired, I give them rest.
"Then for the players who didn't play, like Seaton (Michael), Clennon (AndrÈ), I give them more training because we need all players for the tournament.
"Everybody has to be focused on the next match against the United States," said Schafer.