Discipline critical for Boyz
FORMER Reggae Boyz central defender and captain Shavar Thomas, and Harbour View FC's General Manager, Clyde Jureidini, said tactical discipline will be a most critical element for the Reggae Boyz in today's opening FIFA World Cup qualifying football encounter away against Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Match time is 9 p.m. (Jamaica time).
Both football gurus admitted that while skill will also be necessary to beat the Mexicans, the players must also follow the coaches' instructions in order to secure a positive result.
"The approach is to be professional, because when you look at the pool of players at the coaches' disposal, they can choose anybody and they can go out there and perform," said Thomas.
"It will be a tough game, especially playing away in Mexico City. But I think that all the players are physically and mentally ready to go out there and do their best for the country," he said.
"We have to be good defensively as well as offensively, and we also have to be very disciplined," said Thomas, who made 52 appearances for the Reggae Boyz from 1999-2012.
"If you are not good offensively and not taking your opportunities, then you can't put them on the back foot and secure a positive result from the game," he said.
Jureidini said that today's encounter is going to be tough, but remains confident that once the players stick to the game plan they should come away with a positive result.
"I think that Theodore Whitmore is going to use the approach that he has done in the last couple years, which is a defensive network and look to counter-attack, especially since this team has not played together," said Jureidini.
Playing at high altitude
"They are going to be playing at high altitude away in Mexico, and it is a game that you will try not to lose and to get a point from, which will be a favourable result for anybody in Mexico and to start the campaign on a semi-positive note," he said.
The Reggae Boyz will be without a number of key players for today's encounter, as only three of the 15 England-based players will be available to coach Whitmore. They are Adrian Mariappa, goalkeeper Dillon Barnes and midfielder Anthony Grant.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), as well as the coaching staff, has been dealing with personnel issues stemming from the English club's reluctance in recent days to release players to play in countries that are on the United Kingdom's red list.
However, other England-based players, including West Ham's striker Michail Antonio and Derby County's midfielder Ravel Morrison, are expected to be available for the home game against Panama on Sunday at the National Stadium.