'It's ok'

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'It's ok'

Tappa comfortable with Gold Cup draw

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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REGGAE Boyz Head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore says he is comfortable with Jamaica's first-round group after Monday's first-ever draw for the first round of the Concacaf Gold Cup set for next July.

At the draw which was staged in Miami, Jamaica — winners of Concacaf Nations League Group B — were drawn in Group C along with seeded team Costa Rica and Suriname, with the fourth team to be added from the qualifying round.

Jamaica is among 12 teams that qualified directly for the main draw in the tournament which will start proper on July 10, 2021, while three more qualifiers and invited team Qatar will be take the final number participating to 16, the most ever to take part in the continental competition.

Three teams will qualify from a two-round knockout that will start on July 2.

The winner of game eight in the qualifying round will join Group C and will come from Guatemala, Guyana, Guadeloupe or The Bahamas.

Defending champions Mexico lead Group A and includes El Salvador and Curacao as well as the winner of game nine of the qualifying round.

Former champions USA head Group B that will also see Canada and Martinique as well as the winners of match seven of the qualifying, while Honduras are the seeded team in Group D that will see Panama, Grenada and invited team Qatar, who were preselected for that group.

“I am very comfortable with the draw,” Whitmore said via a video link-up after the draw on Monday night. “We just have to get ourselves prepared and look forward to a much better tournament from the previous one.”

Jamaica fell at the semi-finals stage in the 2019 event after back-to-back appearances in the finals in 2015 and 2017, but Whitmore said that record will not be a factor come next year's staging when asked if they were group favourites.

While saying they were expecting a challenging tournament Whitmore added, “Yes, definitely. But then again, it's what we do. It's how we prepare ourselves and what we do when we go out on the pitch and acquit ourselves out there, so we don't want to look at what we did in 2015, 2017 or 2019. This is 2021 [and] it's a totally different ball game. Everybody is preparing and everybody is making a mark, and I think Concacaf has set the platform for teams to play games and everybody will be preparing themselves; so, we just have to go out there and be a step ahead at all times.”

The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the knockout stages and for the first time in Gold Cup history, teams from opposite sides of the bracket will meet from the quarter-finals onwards.


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