Winfried Schäfer has warned against complacency in the nation’s football at this time, urging all involved to build on the good work done at the Copa America.
Jamaica earned much respect against some of the best teams in world football for their performances at the South American championship and the national men’s senior team head coach says they must not rest on their laurels.
“You see here in the airport in Panama or Chile, everybody come to the team and talk good, “congratulations”. Our image is much better than before, the football in Jamaica. Why? We have a very good team, very good teamwork, spirit. Everybody talk about Jamaica, not only here, even in Germany, I read the newspaper,” observed Schäfer, following a 1-0 loss against beaten World Cup finalists Argentina, in the final Group D match, at Sausalito Stadium on Saturday night.
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain scored the winner at the 11th minute off an assist from Angel di Maria, who plays for Manchester United. Both players number in the star-studded Argentina team led by the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, which is ranked number three in the world.
Jamaica, the first Caribbean team to participate at the Copa America, played as an invited guest.
The Caribbean champions had also lost their previous matches 1-0, first against Uruguay, the defending champions, and Paraguay, runners-up at the last tournament.
“Now we make a big step in the future, we must not go back on our performance. We must not say Gold Cup is easy,” Schafer noted of the regional confederation tournament, which kicks off in the United States on July 7. “Gold Cup is more difficult than this tournament.
“Now (we need) very strong body language when we play in the Gold Cup against Costa Rica, Canada and El Salvador. We know when we fight, when we work together we can win these matches,” Schäfer reasoned.
“From the president to the kit man has to work more for our national team and in the future for Under-23, Under-20, Under-17 because this is the future. No give up now and say “ok now, we have time”.
“I say this now because everybody talk about 1998. Six months ago we won the Caribbean Cup, are you satisfied? Are you satisfied?
“We’ve to keep this what we’re doing in this tournament and more. We’ve to work more, we’ve to work in Jamaica in the football clubs, local players have to work more, we need better pitches in Jamaica, we need better pitch for our technical centre and so when we have good pitch we play better football.
“We can only learn one touch, two touch when the field is good,” Schäfer continued. “If the field is not good player has to take too many touches. In the football the speed is much better than three, four years ago
“Everybody saw when we have good time for preparation, enough time for tactic, enough time for fitness, enough time for team work, team building, then we have success. That was in the Caribbean Cup, that worked now and I hope everybody know what we have to do for a very, very strong team.
“Everybody eat from the strong team. When our team win the Caribbean Cup, we go to the Gold Cup, the Gold Cup bring money and when we win the Caribbean Cup we go to the Copa Centennial 2016, this brings money back,” Schäfer urged. “They have to invest in our team and it’s the same for the qualification (World Cup) in September.”