Mariappa, Knight back young Boyz
National goalkeeper Amal Knight and defender Adrian Mariappa are optimistic about the future of the new-look Reggae Boyz, although their two-week camp has been short on preparation and cohesion.
Jamaica will look to end their Austrian stay on a high today when they face Qatar at 10 a.m. Jamaica time in their final game of the four-team tournament at the Wiener Neustadt Stadium in Vienna. The camp has been an introduction for some players to the demands of the international game, with the majority of players being locally based.
Knight plays locally with reigning champions Harbour View but is no stranger to international football and believes that the recruits have acquitted themselves in spite of limited preparation and long travel.
"I think it is good for the guys to get this experience and just continue to learn from these games going forward," Knight said.
Jamaica lost their first game against Morocco 3-0 on Tuesday despite being commended for their improved tactical awareness in defence. Mariappa thinks the potential makes it imperative for those players to not get complacent now that they have international exposure, and with major games on the horizon such as the Nations League and the Gold Cup next year.
"For those boys, it's about stepping up that can warrant a place to be called up and they can only do that by good performances now and training well. I don't see why some of these young boys can't force their way into the squad," Mariappa said.
Knight agrees: "I think the application of the team, they did pretty decent (against Morocco). There are patches that we need to work on such as covering the ground and the pitch because at the end of the day it's international football and it's fast pace, so one mistake we will pay for that," Knight said.