Whitmore takes positives from Saudi defeat
Jamaica's men's senior team head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore credited his players for their fighting spirit despite a loss in the friendly international game against Saudi Arabia last Saturday.
The Reggae Boyz went down 5-2 away to Saudi Arabia in Jeddah. Salem Al-Dawari sent the home side ahead in the 23rd minute, but Jamiel Hardware cancelled that strike seven minutes later.
The home side converted three times within 10 minutes to lead 4-1. Mohammed Ali-Sahlawi scored in the 38th minute, then seven minutes later Salman Al-Faraj converted a penalty. Mohammed Al-Breik scored in the 48th minute.
Reggae Boyz substitute Marvin Morgan gave his team some hope when he scored a wonderful goal in the 68th minute. However, Abdulmajeed Al-Ruwalli scored his team's fifth goal in the 90th minute.
But despite the scoreline, Whitmore was encouraged by his squad of mostly local-based players.
"It was a great experience for the players, especially the young ones. We lost, but it is the time for that now," he said, suggesting that at this time, the team's performance is more important than results. "I am very pleased with the performance of the players, especially in the last 35 minutes," Whitmore told The Gleaner following the team's arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday morning.
Whitmore said that the plan is to continue giving the local players experience at the international level. But getting games is up to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
"We will continue looking at local players to find the right mix. The young players need exposure in order to develop. We want to play more games, but that is up to the JFF," he said.
Whitmore gave a starting role to promising midfielder Alex Marshall, but the former St George's College and national youth star struggled with the pace of the game.
Hardware, who netted his second goal for the senior team in four games, was one of the better players for the Boyz.