Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Schafer's struggles

Published:Saturday | April 2, 2016 | 4:00 AMLivingston Scott
Schäfer

Reggae Boyz head coach Winfried Schafer and his technical staff have been given a failing grade by local coaches, after the team's unconvincing showing in recent times, underlined by poor results in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica.

Defensive weakness, incorrect tactics, apparent discontent in the camp and the presence of what some have called substandard overseas-born players, are among the major issues mentioned.

It has been suggested that the return of defender Alvas Powell to the fold - unpunished, after walking out on the team in the Gold Cup - is a cause of the contention within the squad.

The team started well against 'Los Ticos' in the first game last week Friday, playing the best football they have played in some time and taking a 1-0 lead into the break. Costa Rica secured the equaliser for a 1-1 draw before outclassing the Jamaicans 3-0 in the reverse fixture.

Former national assistant coach Bradley Stewart questioned some of Schafer's choices, in particular his decision to keep defender Adrian Mariappa on the field in last Friday's draw.

"Mariappa got injured and the best thing he (Schafer) should have done is take Mariappa out and put in Jermaine Taylor, as a fit Taylor is as good as a fit Mariappa," he said.

"If you are a quality team you are expected to win your games at home, things are against you when you travel. It is always more difficult to beat a team at their yard that you cannot beat at your yard," he stated in a grim outlook on the team's chances to advance.

 

LACKING QUALITY

Former Rivoli and Waterhouse coach Calvert Fitzgerald was critical of the overseas-born players in the squad, arguing that they lacked real quality and add nothing to the team.

"The Jamaica national team is mainly made up of players from England who play in the lower leagues. A lot of them not even start in the championship. So it simply means they could not be all that good. None of them can land a contract out of England," he said.

Powell has been singled out for his performances but Rudolph Speid, the former Kingston and St Andrew Football Association president and current technical director at Red Stripe Premier league campaigner Cavalier,was a little more forgiving.

"The public is against Alvas not for his playing. Everyone is looking that he walked out of the team and got back without a minute suspension, but I don't think he is a bad player. He has been found wanting, but he is young," he reasoned, before giving his assessment of the team's chances in their remaining two group games.

"Panama has everything in their favour. They have the points, they have the goal difference, they are at home and physically, we cannot bully them, so it's for the coach to choose the right tactics," Speid said. "We will definitely need help from other teams, most notable from Costa Rica, and we have to be perfect in our two games."

Powell has also come under pressure for his lapses defensively, but Speid put his mistakes down to inexperience.

Schafer was contacted yesterday, but declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Jamaica sits third in their group on four points - three less than Panama, where they will travel to on September 2; and six behind leaders Costa Rica. Haiti, who will play in Kingston on September 6, are in last place on one point.