Kill the curse! Boyz determined to break US jinx
Jamaica national senior football team head coach Theodore Whitmore is exuding confidence that his Reggae Boyz will finally break the jinx and defeat the United States of America when the teams meet in a top-of-the-table Group A CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game tomorrow at the National Stadium.
The teams are joint leaders of their four-team group with four points after two games, with Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala following with one point each. The USA and Jamaica will also meet in the return-round game four days later in Columbus, Ohio.
"I'm very confident of a positive result because the players have assured us of that and we have seen it in the training sessions as well," Whitmore, more popularly known as 'Tappa', told the Jamaica Observer following yesterday's training session at the game venue.
It was the second intensive training session for the full 23-man squad, following the first at the Jamaica Football Federation's Technical Centre at UWI, Mona, on Monday. The squad has been reduced by one as Errol Stevens was withdrawn with a knee injury.
"I am very pleased with the intensity of the guys, you could see the whole attitude, everybody enjoying the practise session and everybody getting what we wanted to get out of the session... the training yesterday for me was very successful," Whitmore said.
In 20 meetings between the two countries, including two Olympic Games Qualifiers in 1972, the North Americans, who are scheduled to arrive in the island this morning, hold a superior advantage with 11 victories with nine drawn results.
However, the Boyz have performed much better in World Cup Qualifiers, losing two while drawing six in eight encounters, including having never been beaten at the National Stadium in these contests.
Whitmore believes the players can take some positives from that record.
"Regardless of the opposition we need three points from this game, being a home game, and we will do whatever we can to get it. We want to look at the positives and the fact that they have never beaten us here in a World Cup qualifier is a positive for us and we want to keep that standard going."
The Boyz are scheduled to take to the National Stadium field again today in a light session at match time of 7:00 pm after training for nearly 90 minutes behind closed doors yesterday. According to the coach, they are fully prepared for the task at hand.
"Everybody knows what it is about, we all know the history between the US and Jamaica, but they (players) are up for it, they know what is at stake and they are mentally prepared for it, though we know it will be tough," he offered.
Meanwhile, earlier yesterday the Boyz took their minds off the game when they visited the Glenhope Nursery, located off Maxfield Avenue. All members of the current squad, the entire technical staff and representatives of team sponsor Digicel were present.