Coach Whitmore unhappy with state of Boyz's preparation for major tourneysSunday, March 21, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
NEW YORK, USA — It has become a broken record.
Jamaica's Senior men's national football team Head Coach Theodore Whitmore has once again called on the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to urgently address off-field issues, which continue to impede his team's preparation for the Concacaf Gold Cup Tournament set to kick off in three months.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer in Washington, DC, on Friday morning, a distraught Whitmore explained that the success or failure of the current Senior Reggae Boyz programme could hinge upon the federation's immediate response to these distractions.
“I'm not at all pleased with where we are with our preparation for the Gold Cup, which is three months away,” the former Reggae Boyz star player admitted.
“The composition of our squad, which is mainly foreign-based, requires us to get the group together as much as is possible based on the limited Fifa dates [windows] before the Gold Cup, so every single opportunity is critical to our preparation.”
As he presented a case for continuity, Whitmore argued that most of the players, who would have been part of his rebuilding squad for the past few years, have not been selected for Thursday's friendly international game against the US in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
“That was communicated to me through the JFF due to the ongoing contractual dispute or visa issues. I'm very disappointed,” he stressed.
Even so, the 1998 World Cup hero who scored both goals in Jamaica's 2-1 victory over fellow debutante Japan is readily embracing the opportunity to examine new prospects, even as he warns that fans should expect no miracles.
“Nevertheless, this situation has provided me with an opportunity to evaluate some new foreign and local-based players. Most of the players in this composition have not played together, so we should not expect miracles,” Whitmore warned.
The JFF announced a 19-man squad on Wednesday, which features 10 foreign-based players, including six newcomers, plus nine locally based players who have not played competitively in a year.
“I'm also without a trainer and a physiotherapist on tour. This is unacceptable and unprofessional. My work environment is far from ideal and has been for too long,” fumed Whitmore.
However, it is understood that former Wimbledon Football Club left wing-back Andrew David Clement will stand in as the physical trainer for Thursday's game, but, at this stage, the team will still be without a physiotherapist.
And Whitmore remains concerned about the off-field matters that continue to affect the preparation of the team, although they have been documented in reports filed by him repeatedly.
“I only hope all these points can be addressed because they could make the difference [between qualifying or failing].
“All the recommendations I have made in my reports and discussions need to be resolved no later than a week or two after this US game,” he added.
And though Whitmore has been unsettled by the fact that half of this current squad has not played competitively in a year, he has approached it philosophically.
“Well, a situation arose so we have to put our best foot forward and hope for the best. Every game is helpful, therefore, every effort will be made to give our best.
“We are not balanced, so to speak, in every department. But a situation arose where we have to go out there and as a technical staff try to put a team out there and hope everybody can try his best and try to get a place in the upcoming Gold Cup and World Cup qualification squads,” said the former Tranmere Rovers standout.
Another factor contributing to the absence of Whitmore's preferred players for this game is the ongoing impasse between the JFF and players over emoluments.
Whitmore was cautious in his comments.
“To be honest, there is not much I want to say on that, because on numerous occasions I have said this. The last time we came from Saudi Arabia it caused problems, and I had said to the federation that we need to sort out these problems and start the new year with a clean slate and get all the contractual agreements with the players and staff out of the way. So we shouldn't be here today having this discussion, but it is what it is,” Whitmore concluded.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login