However, he says they know what to expect and that they will be prepared for the task.
“Panama is a very good team, they play very good football, have very strong players. So we have to go the limit in our performance, our fitness,” he said.
“Before I came to the airport, I watched a match (Panama) against Canada. They won very good with their system. So we cannot have any time free. we have to press and it is very important for us to take the lead,” added Schafer.
Meanwhile, the wily tactician says Red Stripe Premier League clubs do not prepare local players well enough for the demands of international football, and that local players need to increase their work ethics, while noting that improvements are also needed to the local football infrastructure.
Like other national coaches before him, Schafer is constantly under pressure to play locally bred talent playing in our top local league.
But in speaking with Star Sports, the German noted that the best local players (those now plying their trade abroad) are already in the squad and that it would be better for present locally based representatives to earn an overseas move so they will be better prepared to handle the rigours of international football.
“I don’t tell (people) that we have the best local players. But these local players go out (abroad), like (Rodolph) Austin, (Je-vaughn) Watson, Alvas (Powell), (Darren) Mattocks, Kemar Lawrence.
“These players go out and what is important, they have to work and become a new (better)
player. So to work, that is it,” he stated..
“You saw the match against South Korea, a local player after one hour had cramps, why?… Because when you play against South Korea, against Panama, the United States the tempo is very high to the tempo in the (local) league, and that is the problem,” he said.
“The player is not the problem. But you have to work with the local players more, and give better training and better fields,” he added.