PANAMA CITY, Panama – Jamaica renews its quest to advance to next year’s World Cup finals on Friday at Panama.
The Reggae Boyz currently sit last in the six-team Hexagonal, but remains hopeful of snatching a fourth-place finish and the Intercontinental Playoff berth that comes with it against Oceania winner New Zealand.
The United States tops the table with 13 points, followed by Costa Rica (11), Mexico (8), Honduras (7), Panama (6) and Jamaica (2).
Newly appointed head coach Winfried Schafer remains optimistic and has preached a positive message to his players.
“There is always hope...hope never dies,” he said before leaving for Panama. "I am happy because everybody was focused in training,
"We are looking forward to the game in Panama City and everybody is aware of what they need to do."
What Jamaica needs to do is win at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez and gain momentum heading into their next game against Costa Rica at home on September 10. A loss will leave the only Caribbean side remaining in the competition at least seven points behind the fourth-place team with only three games left to play.
There is speculation that the German-born coach will employ a 3-5-2 formation against the Panamanians in the belief that it will be more familiar for his squad.
In addition to European-based players such as Luton Shelton, Jermaine Beckford and Daniel Gordon, Schafer has called upon the services Jamaican Premier League stars, including Adrian Reid (Portmore United) and midfielder Wolry Wolfe (Humble Lion) to fortify the roster.