Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Theodore Whitmore (left) and John Barnes in deep discussion. - File
INTERIM COACH Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore will remain the man in charge when Jamaica's Reggae Boyz take the field against Canada in the crucial World Cup qualifier on November 19.
Originally, newly appointed national coach John Barnes was officially expected to take over the reins of the programme on November 1.
However, while he will still officially assume the position, responsibility for the World Cup qualifier will be left solely in the hands of interim coach Whitmore.
"After careful consideration, I thought it was the sensible thing to do and Mr Barnes must be commended for his humility and complete understanding of the situation," explained Captain Horace Burrell, head of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), yesterday.
The decision was ratified after an extraordinary meeting of the JFF board of directors yesterday.
"Although he will officially take charge as expected, the duties as head coach for that (Canada) game will fall to Theodore Whitmore," Burrell said.
Barnes, was unveiled as national coach-designate by the JFF about one month ago, following the dismissal of Brazilian technical director René Simoes.
Whitmore, a former national player and member of the 1998 team which went to the World Cup in France, took over the helm following the dismissal of Simoes after a 2-0 loss to Honduras last month.
Level of respect
The stint was the second for Whitmore, who also stood in as interim coach following the dismissal of Velibor Milutinovic last year. Whitmore, having coached four matches now, is yet to lose a game in that capacity.
Should the team progress to the final round of the qualifiers however, Barnes is expected to be the one in charge.
"I really don't foresee any problems because of the high level of respect the two share for each other. What a lot of people do not know is that John has been here, they have been working together and they have an excellent relationship," Burrell said. "Barnes has made it clear that he will need to rely heavily on Whitmore and that can only be a positive thing as we look to move forward."
According to Burrell, based on the tremendous aptitude shown on the job by the former national player, the federation will be taking steps to improve Whitmore's international credentials.
"The federation intends to take immediate steps to further expose him to higher training levels. We will be looking towards England and who will be better to help the JFF coordinate this plan than John Barnes," he said.