Head coach Winfried Schafer (center) and his Jamaica squad trained at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on July 7, 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)
CARSON, California – Jamaica will look to establish a winning trend, when it faces Costa Rica in the Group B opener for each in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the StubHub Center on Wednesday.
The Jamaicans are without a victory in their last three outings – all in the Copa America last month – despite encouraging performances in each game.
Without a goal to show for its efforts, head coach Winfried Schafer believes his side needed to start converting enterprising performances into victories.
“I hope we can play very well in this tournament, the same like in the Copa America," he said. "Our performance was very good but now we have to win the matches. We lost three times 1-0. We played good but we have to win. It is not easy, I know, because it is a very strong group and the first match is against Costa Rica and they are a very good team but I believe in my players.
“I hope we can get a good result because Costa Rica is a very good team. In this moment, nobody is a bad team. Everyone’s good. At the moment, the football is at a very high level and you need players to be 100 per cent in their thinking.”
Schafer is looking for a more ruthless approach in front of the net from his strikers.
“Our first match [at Copa] was very good against Uruguay," the 65-year-old German noted. "The second match [against Paraguay] we didn’t play too well but the second half was better and against Argentina. In the first half we had too much respect but in the second half – especially the last half hour – we were better than Argentina.
“But we don’t have a striker who can make a goal from nothing. You need a striker like [Jurgen] Klinsmann. Klinsmann is running, the ball is near his head, it is a goal. This type of player we need, but we don’t have that player. You watch these players in England and in MLS, but Jamaica doesn’t have this player.”
Jamaica will be anxious to make up for the disappointment of two years ago, when it failed to qualify for the Gold Cup. Since then, the team has gone some way towards redeeming itself, winning the Caribbean Cup last year.
Not satisfied, Schafer has implored his side to play with increased urgency.
“We have to work every day more and more and more,” he finished. “We know our good things and we know our bad things and we have to work on the stabilization of the good things and we have to work against the bad things, like corners, free kicks and scoring goals. In training we have to concentrate more on more accuracy.”