Coach-less Boyz - Senior team set to face Honduras, JFF yet to confirm tactician
More than a month after their last international outing, Jamaica's Reggae Boyz are set to face Honduras in a friendly match in Houston, Texas, at the BBVA Stadium in February.
However, the team is still without a head coach as the last man in charge, Theodore Whitmore, who replaced German Winfried Sch‰fer for their two Caribbean Cup play-off games in October and November, says he has not received any significant information from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) regarding him continuing in the job.
Honduran football officials yesterday announced that they would take on the Caribbean champions on February 16 and, although the JFF were coy in admitting the fixture, a Gleaner source inside the secretariat confirmed the game, but pointed out that the federation was waiting to settle on the kick-off time before making a release to the public.
"The Jamaica Football Federation wishes to advise that the Federation is currently in negotiations with a number of countries regarding international friendly matches for our senior men's team for before and after the Caribbean Cup semi-finals and the CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held in June and July 2017, respectively," read a JFF press release yesterday. "This is part of the federation's commitment to keeping our senior team prepared and active to defend its Caribbean Cup title, perform well at the Gold Cup, and further strengthen the Reggae Boyz brand.
"President of the JFF, Captain Horace Burrell, will make the appropriate announcements once the JFF has finalised these arrangements and other matters having to do with the national programme."
Meanwhile, the Boyz have been without a coach since their last match against Suriname on November 13. Following the team's qualification to the Caribbean Cup semi-final, Whitmore said he was hopeful of remaining in the job, but up to yesterday, had not been given any clear indication of whether or not he would remain as the national senior coach.
NO WORD AS YET
"Nothing official has been said. Nothing is going on right now," Whitmore told The Gleaner when pressed. "Recently, I had a meeting to discuss the Gold Cup, in terms of practice games and such because I am trying to put a programme in place in the event I am appointed.
"I also had to put some things in place in terms of training sessions because we want to call in local players for at least two weeks out of every month, keep them sharp and give them international practice games to keep them going, so when we have these games, we know where we are and who we have," Whitmore added.
"But you have to ask them (JFF) what is happening because I still have not heard anything, and every minute we waste is a problem because with our footballers, you have to keep them going (active)," Whitmore said. "But I am a positive person, so I am thinking positively."
JFF general-secretary Raymond Grant, who was reluctant to confirm the FIFA-listed fixture, reiterated that JFF president Captain Horace Burrell would speak to upcoming games.
"The president will call a press conference and speak to all those issues. I can't give a definitive date now, but the president is tending to other matters and as soon as he is available, he will advise on issues pertaining to the (Honduras) game and other matters," Grant continued.