We've work to do - Whitmore
U-20s fine-tune for T&T match-up
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
FOLLOWING their practice match against Cuba at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday, head coach of Jamaica's men's Under-20 football team Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said the team is not fully prepared and will look to fine-tune in the days leading into Friday's kick-off in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Associa-tion Football (CONCACAF) Under-20 championship.
The young Reggae Boyz are scheduled to tackle Trinidad and Tobago in a Group A encounter at the National Stadium on Friday, starting at 8 p.m., and the Jamaica coach says they have work to do.
"In terms of preparation, we are behind. We have work to do," said Whitmore.
"The other teams coming in for the championship have better-quality players who play in professional leagues around the world," added the former national senior team coach and captain.
In preparation for the championship, which serves as a qualifier for four CONCACAF nations to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Jamaica engaged Cuba in two warm-up games.
The Jamaicans won the first game 2-1 at the Waterhouse Stadium last Saturday night, and the final game ended 1-1 two days ago.
Whitmore was not pleased with the overall performance.
"We were a bit flat and lacklustre," Whitmore said about the Monday game.
"We played in parts and were lifted with the introduction of the substitutes during the second half. I didn't like the overall performance. The intensity was not great, and we did not manage the ball well as a team," he added.
"I'm not 100 per cent pleased, but we have a couple days to fine-tune for the championship. We have players who can get goals."
As part of their preparation, the Jamaicans also played as a guest team in the Under-20 Central America Championship last month, losing all three matches. However, Whitmore said they have improved on those performances.
"We conceded 12 goals in three games during the Copa Simón Bolívar tournament in Venezuela last month, and during camp, we worked on that area and the team has improved defensively," he said.
Twelve countries are down to compete in the January 9-24 tournament. Group A includes hosts Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Panama, the United States, and Guatemala. Group B contains Haiti, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Matches are scheduled for the National Stadium and the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Both venues will host Group A matches; however, the Montego Bay Sports Complex will host all the action in Group B.
The tournament will crown the CONCACAF Under-20 champions and qualify four nations to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2015.
Jamaica squad: Michael Seaton (DC United), Daniel Roberts (Rivoli United), Junior Flemmings (Tivoli Gardens), Shamar Nicholson (Boys' Town), Cardel Benbow (Waterhouse), Khallil Stewart (UNC Charlotte), Donjay Smith (Midland Police Youth Club), Ishmale Currie (Portmore United), John Luca Levee (GPS NPL Elite), Martin Davis (Harbour View), Isamnia Cohen (Villa United), Roberto Johnson (Portmore United), Malcolm Stewart (UNC Char-lotte), Allando Brown (Jamaica College), Shaquille Dyer (Arnett Gardens), Javaun Waugh (Port-more United), Rennico Clarke (Harbour View), Joel Cunningham (Wolmer's Boys), Nicholas Nelson (Collins Hill High) and Dane-Andrew Chambers (Harbour View).