Tappa wants his due; Klinsmann sorry

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter

Sunday, September 09, 2012    

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HE wasn't born into a royal family; neither was he a Roman general, statesman or a distinguished writer. He's not Julius Caesar. But Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore demands he be treated in higher esteem after leading the conquest against the mighty American empire.

"I'm getting backing from the administration, sponsors and we have been building this for three years now and we still have doubters. Tonight... give Caesar what is due to Caesar," said Whitmore at a post-match press conference on Friday night.

Like the legendary Caesar, Whitmore created history, leading the Reggae Boyz to their first victory over the USA, a country with a population of 314 million people and at 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km), the third or fourth largest country by total area in the world.

Jamaica, with a population of just 2.8 million and a mere 4,240 square miles in area, stunned their mighty rivals after falling behind to a Clint Dempsey goal after 36 seconds.

But goals from Rodolph Austin and Luton Shelton in the 23rd and 62nd minutes, respectively, undid the visitors.

"This is a historic night for me. I have never done it as a player but I have done it as a coach in beating a USA team...and to know that I have beaten this USA team with one of my favourite players in (Jurgen) Klinsmann, I'm very elated," said Whitmore.

"It's a good feeling and we have the team to do the job, it's just the support and the belief, and once you have the support, you can climb mountains," he added.

Meanwhile, as Whitmore basks in the glory of being the first coach to lead Jamaica to victory over the USA, German native Klinsmann has the dubious distinction of being the first US coach to lose a senior battle against Jamaica.

"They were hungrier, more determined and that's why they came out the winning team. We knew that the Jamaican team was strong at set pieces. They rose to the occasion and they deserved that win," said the German legend who won the World Cup in 1990.

"In a moment of defeat you learn a lot, probably more than when you win. So we learnt a lot and we will take that to Columbus on Tuesday and continue to build.

"The next game is always the most difficult one and it will be a very difficult game. We are aware of the Jamaican team, we respected them and we will adjust to it," he noted.

With this famous win Jamaica gained sole leadership of the CONCACAF Group A World Cup Qualifier with seven points, three more than both the USA and Guatemala, on four each. Antigua and Barbuda have one point.

The Guatemalans came from a goal down at half-time to hit the target three times in their home victory over the eastern Caribbean outfit.

"They (Jamaicans) were... physical and we had problems with that. The key to the game was that we made things complicated in the first half. Instead of keeping the ball and moving around simple, we gave Jamaica the opportunity with free-kicks, but the team has the opportunity on Tuesday night to fix it," said Klinsmann.

Jamaica travel to Columbus, Ohio today in the return fixtures which will be the fourth of six round-robin group matches.





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