Team spirit key to Jamaica’s success

Jaimaica's Rodolph Austin (right) and Giles Barnes celebrate after a CONCACAF Gold Cup win over Canada on July 11, 2015, in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)

HOUSTON, Texas – The fourth time turned out to be the charm and three points for Jamaica.

In three consecutive Copa America matches last month, the Reggae Boyz played to 1-0 results, all losses to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

On Saturday night, the Caribbean side was involved in yet another 1-0 game, this time emerging as winners in a Group B victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Jamaica head coach Winfried Schafer said it was team spirit that produced the stoppage-time triumph.

“Our spirit is very, very good,” the 65-year-old German said. “Our team spirit is fantastic and that is what we need in Jamaica. We’re not like Argentina or Germany, so we need a strong, strong team.

“We have no player like [Lionel] Messi who can change a match alone. We can only win when we have a strong team spirit.”

Schafer's thoughts went momentarily back to Chile, before shifting back to Gold Cup matters.

“We lost 1-0 and played very well, but we lost,” he said. “We have to win. Tomorrow we will talk about what was good and what was bad. We will analyze. But now we must go to the next step.”

The Jamaicans improved to 1-1-0 (4 points) heading into their final group-stage game against El Salvador (0-2-0, 2 points) at BMO Field in Toronto on Tuesday. A tie will clinch a spot in the quarterfinals, while a win will give them the group title.

The Reggae Boyz took an important step toward the knockout round with that dramatic finish over Canada as captain Rodolph Austin scored in the second minute of added time.

“I saw we had 21 shots to Canada’s four and 11 were on target…but only one goal,” Schafer noted. “It is not enough, but I am not bothered. We wanted to win and I think our great spirit, our team spirit is the winner.

“We fought 90 minutes and it was very, very hot. That’s the Jamaican spirit and the players fought 93 minutes for the country. That is what I want. Now everybody is happy.”