Things heat up for Reggae Boyz in Chile

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WES MORGAN, fresh from being the first Jamaican player to be handed the English Premier League trophy as cap?tain of his team’s incredible achievement, will be omitted from the Reggae Boyz’ tough task against Chile.

The Boyz have arranged to tackle hosts Chile at the Estadio Sausalito in Vina Del Mar on M?ay 27 (7pm local time, 11pm English time).

Although the majority of the Boyz are either English-based or competing in the MLS, this friendly against the world no.3 side provides a stern test for coach Winfried Schäfer.

The German has come under criticism for his negative tactics that have produced tepid performances, but he bases his winning mentality on keeping the opposition on bay and trying to score on the counterattack.

With Jamaican athletes naturally swift? and often not afraid to show a fair but physical side to their game, the Boyz have so far done enough to squeeze into the final qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Schäfer said: “Chile is a friendly, a test match, and I want to win all matches as coach. “But ?we cannot play 11 local-based players, we will have 23 and many will have played a very hard season.

“This is not a game where we will play with our ?best players because the Copa America Centenario is our priority. It’s a very short period after the season for many players, like Wes Morgan at Leicester City. He needs rest? so he can’t come direct to Chile to play because if he has no rest then maybe he is injured in the Copa America Centenario.”

Veteran Morgan, who played in the Gold Cup and Copa America, brilliantly marshalled Leicest?er City’s defence as their influential captain en route to their incredible achievement of being crowned English champions.

As skipper he was the first person to be handed the Premier League trophy, following their 3-1 win over Everton. His presence in Jamaica’s defence, which Schäfer relies on not to leak goals like the side he inherited, is a vital cog for the Boyz.

So Schäfer is using the friendly against Chile to see how his squad cope against a quality side.

Chile are the reigning Copa? America Centenario champions, with Arsenal striker Sanchez – third of the nation’s all-time goalscorers – and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal named in their squad for the coveted competition.

Former coach Jorge Sampaoli guided Chile to back-to-back titles, and new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi will be aiming to emulate last year’s achievement.

The Boyz have until 20 May to submit their squad of 23 players for the Copa America Centenario, which will be played from 3-26 June in the United States.

So many selected for the trip to Chile will be there to try to impress Schäfer enough to sneak into the final squad for the Copa America Centenario.

Jamaica kick-off on their debut against Venezula? on June 5, face Mexico four days later then complete their group games against Uruguay.



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