Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Burrell, Whitmore satisfied with Gold Cup draw

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 3:00 AMShayne Fairman
Jamaica Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell (right) and Reggae Boyz head Coach Theodore Whitmore pose after the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup draw at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara yesterday.
Jamaica’s Giles Barnes (9) and Je-Vaughn Watson celebrate after Jamaica defeated the United States 2-1 in a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer semi-final on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Atlanta.
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Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore expressed satisfaction with his team's CONCACAF Gold Cup first round draw, noting that his charges would giving their all to advance from the group stage, which will get under way on July 7 in the United States.

The tournament's 14th renewal will see last year's beaten finalists, Jamaica opening their campaign on July 9 against CuraÁao in Group C at the Qualcomm stadium in San Diego, California, with Mexico and El Salvador completing the group.

"With the draw, yes, definitely (happy). As I said before, it doesn't really matter, we have to play someone, the teams must be doing something to be here," Whitmore reasoned in specific reference to the unheralded CuraÁao.

"We don't want to take anybody lightly because they must have been doing something to be here in the tournament, and this is football, so we have to treat every game serious," stressed Whitmore.

The real test for the Jamaicans will come when they lock horns with reigning champions Mexico on July 13 at the Sports Authority field in Denver, Colorado (USA) in a repeat of the last final in 2015.

"We don't want to use altitude as any excuse; we have played Mexico in the Azteca Stadium and we have done pretty well, so we don't want to have any excuses," Whit-more added.

They will wrap up the group stage, against El Salvador at the Alamodome, in San Antonio, Texas on July 16.

 

CRUCIAL GAMES

 

"At this stage, it is three very crucial games what we want to do is get our foot up and running, especially in the first game," Whitmore reasoned.

Meanwhile, reflecting on the draw, Jamaica Football Federation President, Captain Horace Burrell has tipped his coach to get the job done.

"I think we got a fairly good draw, it's going to be highly competitive competition, but I think it is within us to do something very special with this draw," Burrell said, noting that coach Whitmore will take full responsibility of the team selection.

"It's in Coach Whitmore's hands. I think he has embarked on a new role, on a new initiative. It's been paying dividends and we will continue to support him. Full stop," the football boss concluded.