Jamaica 'Reggae Boyz' senior team preparations has been going pretty good according to assistant coach Miguel Coley. They continued their good build up to a busy summer competition schedule after silencing their noisy neighbours Cuba 3-0 in a friendly international at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on a wet and cool Monday night a few weeks ago.
Three days after getting by a much tougher Venezuelan outfit at the same venue, the Reggae Boyz ran their record to five straight wins and unbeaten in six games as they prepared for the Copa America this month and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.
The memories are fading and the euphoria is slowly dying a natural death since the Reggae Boyz were once on everybody's lips. The fans have expressed the faith of Job, the courage of Daniel and the strength of Samson and finally they are reaping the benefits.
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With a sixth hold on the Caribbean Cup, one would ask - is Jamaica's football turning the corner?
Theodore Withmore was installed as coach ahead of the Brazil 2014 preliminaries, the man they call 'Tappa' had the fans thinking how comes. If his illustrious exploits at '98 World Cup, and clubs both locally and internationally can be referred to as beauty then his coaching record would be the beast.
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After failing to take Jamaica to Brazil 2014 JFF president Captain Horace Burrell reshuffled his cabinet and brought In the much-travelled Winfried Schafer, who boasts stints in Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Thailand on his career résumé.
To date things are slowly changing, putting smiles on the fans faces again. Winning the Caribbean Cup brought a lot of joy to the Jamaicans. The win brought Jamaica their biggest ever FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking rise as they shot up from 113th place to 79th and they have earned an invitation to the 2015 Copa America in Chile. In reaching the last four at the Caribbean Cup, they also clinched a ticket to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, to be held in the USA.
Sticking to the 4-4-2 formation that had taken them through to glory last year, they will depend heavily on 'A' games from captain and influential player Rudolph Austin. Austin back to back MVP of the Caribbean Cup is the main man in the defensive midfield position for Jamaica. The only fear of having him there is that he is known for getting careless cards from his dicey confrontations.
In addition to Austin, Golden Boot winner Darren Mattock will have to come up big if there are going to progress to the finals. Both players mentioned along with Jobi McAnuff and Alvas Powell were members of the best Caribbean XI.
With two major competitions and World Cup qualifiers this year the fans can expect a lot of football. Jamaica will kick off their campaign on June 13 at 4 p.m against Uruguay.
One may not have to worry about containing Barcelona man Luis Suarez, because he is banned from international games. However, they will have to worry about the technical gifted and decorated Lionel Messi. Drawn in a group with World Cup winners Argentina, Uruguay and many time World Cup participant Paraguay, it's like David against Goliath.
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