I make the choices - 'Tappa' Whitmore
Reggae Boyz head coach, Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, said he has never been put under pressure from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) hierarchy to select or play any player against his will.
Whitmore, who is returning for his third stint with the national side, revealed that he has never faced that problem with his superiors, but noted that they have abandoned the former process for selections, which involved the input of a group of individuals who helped to scout and add players to the pool.
The coach is now working along with director of football Vin Blaine to chart a new process ahead of the team's upcoming assignments.
"I have never had that (interference) problem. There is always consultations, but at the end, I am the one who makes the decisions, regardless of what people say or think, I am the one who has the final call," Whitmore told The Gleaner.
Since his reappointment, Whitmore has touched all the right notes when talking on the subject of exposing locally bred talent and has consistently voiced his desire to help develop and expose locals. His effort, he underlines, will be aided by regular, quality international games, which he expects to accelerate the development of players plying their trade in the local leagues.
"We are not really looking at US and Honduras ... I want a long-term plan where we can develop players to represent the country. We have players who can contribute to the programme, so it's something myself and Jerome will be looking at going forward," he said in reference to assistant coach Jerome Waite.
"We want to give them (local players) international practice games, and not only one and two games, because you won't see their true potential in one or two games. We want to give them 13-15 games over a time to show what they are made of," he said.
"We have to find the right balance in these two games and be as competitive as possible. But we want the federation to get quality practice games at home, because when a player is making his debut at home, they are comfortable, more than carrying them in the deep sea and throwing them out and leaving them to swim," Whitmore said.
Before the first squad is announced for the two friendlies against USA and Honduras in February, Whitmore says all contractual arrangements need to be ironed out beforehand.
"We have some things to iron out in terms of players and the federation, we don't want the same mistakes reoccurring with players' contracts. The federation has contracts for the players, so it's just for us to really sign off now. We don't want to start and still be dealing with those issues. We want no excuses, what we need is committed players and a good relationship between the federation, coaching staff and players," said Whitmore.