'Tappa' preaching win vs Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Head coach Theodore Whitmore is thinking only of victory when his team faces hosts Guatemala in their crucial CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Play-off here at the Mateo Flores Stadium on Friday night.
Jamaica are tied alongside the USA and Guatemala atop the four-team standing with seven points, with Antigua and Barbuda (A&B) eliminated with a solitary point.
After Friday, Jamaica return home to face A&B next Tuesday, while Guatemala visit the USA seeking an unlikely result.
"We expect a tough game," Whitmore told the Jamaica Observer at the end of last evening's training session at the Estadio Manuel Felipe Carrera.
"We have played this Guatemalan team in the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying so we know what to expect and I don't think they can come with anything different than we are not accustomed to.
"This is why we are here early and our preparation is based on how we want to play this game come Friday," added Whitmore.
"We are planning to go out there and win the game, the players, coaching staff, everybody knows what we have to do and the good thing about it is that destiny is in our hands and we have to make the best possible use of it.
"We don't want to come out of this game and have to think that somebody else will have to do a job for us. We just have to go out there face all the adversities, but come out with three points after the 90 plus minutes. We are preparing mentally, physically, psychologically for this game."
At yesterday's session, central defender Adrian Marriappa was forced to leave the pitch about 10 minutes from the end after suffering what appeared to be a bruised rib during a collision in the penalty area.
After medical attention on the scene it was decided to take him to the hospital for further examinations after he complained of having difficulty breathing.
However, Whitmore remained positive. "We just have to wait and see as he's gone to the hospital to get checked out to determine the extent of the damage."
Meanwhile, Rodolph Austin, who suffered a twisted left ankle playing for his Leeds United club on Saturday against Barnsley, was taken through his paces separately by team masseur Pablo Camargo.
The hard-working midfielder jogged, did short sprints and applied some amount of pressure on the leg.
He told the Observer he was hopeful, though he admitted if he's not 100 per cent fit he wouldn't take any chances.
His coach is also hopeful the man who scored against the USA in a historic 2-1 win and who terrorised the Guatemalans on the opening day 2-1 triumph would be fit to stamp his authority on the game.
Meanwhile, all 24 players have now joined up, with Lovell Palmer, DuWayne Kerr and Andrae Campbell arriving Monday night. Match time is 8:00 pm (9:00 pm Jamaica time) on Friday.