Jamaica’s World Cup Hopes Rest on Costa Rica Games

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd
Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Reggae Boyz face back-to-back qualifiers against table-toppers
Winfried Schäfer’s Jamaica‎ tackle Costa Rica at Kingston’s National Stadium on Friday(7pm) desperately seeking another World Cup Qualifying Group B victory.
The Reggae Boyz have belief in themselves to get back on track in their bid to reach the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, and while they face Costa Rica will be keeping tabs on the ‎other group game between Haiti and Panama in Port-au-Prince.
Jamaica head coach Schäfer will be given a second chance to pick up maximum points against the same opponents next Tuesday at Estadio Nacional in San Jose.

He explained: “This time on this journey there are many stones – Costa Rica, Haiti and Panama – but we shouldn’t fear these stones. We can use these stones to build a bridge to go to Russia. 

via Youtube
via Youtube

“There are small stones and then there are heavy stones. The heavy stones I cannot move it alone, I need the JFF and the Jamaican people. When I get the help from the JFF and Jamaica, then it is easier for me to get to Russia. With no help, then we can only stop.”

The Boyz face a tough task as Costa Rica boast a formidable squad including Real Madrid’s shotstopper Keylor Navas, Arsenal striker Joel Campbell and influential skipper Bryan Ruiz who plies his trade with Porting in Portugal.


Costa Rica are runaway group leaders on six points with the Boyz and Panama on three points and Haiti propping up the table without a point.

Costa Rica, the reigning Copa Centroamericana champions, saw off Haiti 1-0 to get their campaign underway and stuttered in Panama before sealing a slender 2-1 success under head coach Oscar Ramirez – who has employed a pressing 3-4-3 formation since taking over the reins from Paul Wanchope.

Jamaica, runners-up to Mexico during last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup held in the US and Canada, was defeated by Panama at their home field of Independence Park in their opening game of the said tourney.

However, the Reggae Boyz were able to bounce back in matchday 2 on Nov. 17th last year as they beat Haiti, 1-0, at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince.

Head coach Winfried Schäfer’s boys struggled to score in the first half as the Haitians were able to force a goalless first 45 minutes. England-born Jamaican striker Clayton Donaldson finally found the back of Les Grenadiers’ net two minutes after the hour mark which proved to be the game-winner.

With 1-1 win-loss record, the team is currently tied at the second spot with Panama.

Meanwhile, reigning Copa Centroamericana champions Costa Rica won their first two games of the group stage to remain undefeated after two matchdays.


La Sele defeated Haiti, 1-0, in their opener at their home field of Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San José before following it up with a tough 2-1 victory over Panama in matchday 2 at the Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City, as reported by Goal.

It was a highly defensive match in the first half and most of the second as well before manager Oscar Ramírez’s men were able to break through Panama’s defense at the 66th minute with a goal from team captain Bryan Ruiz.

Costa Rica striker Marco Ureña doubled the lead just three minutes later, but Los Canaleros forward Luis Tejada was able to score what eventually was a consolation goal at the 71st minute before both teams went goalless the rest of the way.

Although the Boyz will be missing captain Rodolph Austin and frontman Giles Barnes, Leicester City defender Wes Morgan could take over the armband after his emphatic season.
The 32-year-old veteran, who has won 23 caps, likes the idea of being the skipper but admitted: “It’s not my decision, it’s down to the coach and the management of the side who is the captain. 

“My job is just to come and do my best for Jamaica and make sure we win the games.”

Jamaica’s expected starting line-up: Blake; Mariappa, Phillips, Morgan, Lawrence; Powell, Hector; Williamson, McAnuff, Watson, Donaldson

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