Whitmore sounds warning after lukewarm performance

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Monday, November 19, 2018

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CATHERINE HALL, St James — Theodore Whitmore, the head coach of the Reggae Boyz, did not hold back after Saturday's tepid 2-1 win over Suriname in Concacaf Nations League at Montego Bay Sports Complex as he said some players could lose their place in the team if they did not show more commitment.

Jamaica got off to a fast start and got goals from Cory Burke in the seventh minute and the consistent Darren Mattocks in the 15th minute from the penalty spot after he was brought down.

Instead of kicking on and finishing off the game despite creating the chances, the players appeared to take the collective feet off the throttle and allowed Suriname back into the game before holding on for a 2-1 win.

While saying he was happy for the three points that took Jamaica to third place in the standings with a perfect nine points from three wins, Whitmore said he was not happy with what he saw on Saturday.

“We have a lot of work to do. Some things are just unacceptable and this performance was not up to par,” the head coach said in the post-game press conference.

He said it appeared “complacency” might have set in after “we started well but tapered off”. He also admitted: “I am very concerned, we have to play for 90 plus minutes and concentrate for longer periods and it is a concern for me personally.”

A mix-up in the defence led to the Suriname goal, scored by the Portmore United player Donnegy Fer, the only professional on the visiting team and Whitmore said there is room for a lot of improvement moving forward.

He had sounded warnings in the lead up to the game when they only had two training sessions against a Suriname team that had a camp in Florida. Also they only had a 20-man squad and to a large extent the performance of the team on Saturday proved his trepidations to be right.

An injury to Jamiel Hardware in training on Thursday limited Whitmore's options and he was forced to make two changes on Saturday as striker Cory Burke, midfielder Peter-Lee Vassell and right wing back Fabion McCarthy all hobbled during the game and had to be subbed off.

Andre Blake, the team captain, agreed with his head coach and said maybe the team underestimated Suriname who are ranked 20th in Concacaf, well below the sixth place of the Jamaicans.

“We were not as fully focussed and maybe we underestimated the team and this is unacceptable at this level,” Blake said, before adding that he expected Whitmore to make changes for the final game, away to El Salvador in March next year. “We know what is at stake and I am pretty sure that there are additions he will have to make.”

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