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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 January 2019

Copa America preview: Former Leeds United player Rodolph Austin is out to revive Jamaica spirit

Earning a place in this year’s Copa America as one of two invited teams, the Jamaicans, under German coach Winfried Schaefer, the former Al Ain coach, will have another chance to mix it with the big boys in Group B.
Jamaica midfielder Rodolph Austin before the US Men's National Team 2-0 win over Jamaica in a Fifa World Cup Qualifier at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. AFP PHOTO/DAVE KAUP
Jamaica midfielder Rodolph Austin before the US Men's National Team 2-0 win over Jamaica in a Fifa World Cup Qualifier at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. AFP PHOTO/DAVE KAUP

Jamaica enjoyed their finest footballing hour when they qualified for the 1998 World Cup finals in France to become the first English-speaking Caribbean country to play in the tournament.

They lost 3-1 to Croatia, 5-0 to Argentina and then defeated Japan 2-1, but failed to reach the knockout stages, although they earned plaudits for their adventurous play under Brazilian coach Rene Simoes.

They have struggled on the international stage since.

They won the Caribbean Cup in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014 and reached the Gold Cup quarter-finals in 2003, 2005 and 2011 but failed to qualify for the past four World Cups.

Photo gallery: 12 Copa America players to watch

Earning a place in this year’s Copa America as one of two invited teams, the Jamaicans, under German coach Winfried Schaefer, the former Al Ain coach, will have another chance to mix it with the big boys.

Getting through in this tough group would be a major achievement, but recent results against major football countries do not bode well.

Jamaica were crushed 8-0 in a friendly in France last year but did win the Caribbean Cup in November with a 4-3 penalty shootout triumph over Trinidad & Tobago in the final following a 0-0 draw.

Home wins over Venezuela and Cuba in friendlies have lifted Jamaican spirits but if they are to have any success in Chile Schaefer must revive the spirit of his Cameroon team of 2002 when they won the Africa Cup of Nations.

Previous appearances 0

Fifa world ranking 65

Coach: Winfried Schaefer

The 65-year-old blonde-haired German played most of his career as a midfielder for Borussia Moenchengladbach and went on to manage the Bundesliga club.

Also coached Karlsruhe and VfB Stuttgart before taking charge of Cameroon from 2001-04 and leading them to the African Nations Cup title in 2002.

Cameroon qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea but failed to progress from their first-round group after finishing third behind Germany and Ireland.

Schaefer managed Thailand from 2011-13 and took over as Jamaica head coach in 2013.

He admitted last year that Jamaica need to embrace significant changes in order to return to the success they enjoyed in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup.

“I want to change many things for football to make it better for everybody,” he said.

“These people are living in the past. We have good talent and we can build a good team, but we have to change our mentality.”

Key player: Rodolph Austin

The uncompromising midfielder, who has won 80 international caps, is Jamaica’s captain and heartbeat.

He was released by Leeds United at the end of last season after three seasons with the English championship club in which he was popular with the fans but experienced disciplinary problems.

He won the Caribbean Cup with Jamaica in 2008, 2010 and 2014 and was named most valuable player in the last two tournaments.

Austin scored with a free kick to help Jamaica beat the United States 2-1 in 2012, their first victory over the U.S. in 19 matches.

He captained the Reggae Boyz to victory in the 2014 Caribbean Cup, scoring the winning penalty in a 4-3 shootout victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the final.

Squad

Goalkeepers Ryan Thompson (Pittsburgh Riverhounds), Duwayne Kerr (Sarpsborg 08), Dwayne Miller (Syrianska).

Defenders Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Michael Hector (Reading), Daniel Gordon (Karlsruhe), Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Hughan Gray (Waterhouse FC), Kemar Lawrence (NY Red Bulls).

Midfielders Je-Vaughn Watson (FC Dallas), Rodolph Austin (Leeds United), Joel Grant (Yeovil), Lance Laing (FC Edmonton), Garath McCleary (Reading), Joel McAnuff (Leyton Orient).

Forwards Allan Ottey (Mobay United), Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver), Simon Dawkins (Derby County), Deshorn Brown (Valarenga), Romeo Parkes (Isidro Metapan), Dino Williams (Mobay United).

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Updated: June 9, 2015 04:00 AM

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