Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Whitmore defends decision to omit King from WCQ squad
Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore says the decision not to recall controversial striker Marlon King for Friday's crucial CONCACAF semi-final round World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) clash against the United States at the National Stadium was not personal, but one he thought was in the best interest of the team.
King, who has been one of the country's leading strikers in recent years, was left out of the team's 24-member squad for the clash, despite him serving a two-match ban for violating team 'curfew' rules ahead of the opening matches of the round against Guatemala and Antigua and Barbuda.
Jamaica defeated Guatemala 2-1 at National Stadium before drawing nil-nil with Antigua & Barbuda a few days later.
"We have 24 players and Marlon King has not been selected this time around," said Whitmore, shortly before the team's second training session at the JFF technical centre, University of the West Indies, yesterday.
"We all know that he is a good player, but I think we have to stop thinking about individuals and start thinking about the team.
"We made a decision to leave him out and it was not personal. It was for the team and for the country."
Meanwhile, looking ahead to Friday's encounter, Whitmore reiterated his views that the time is now right to beat the USA and he is confident his players have what it takes to pull off a win.
"It's been for far too long that we have not defeated the USA and the players want this to change," he said.
"As such, they have been conditioning themselves and I am confident that with the players that we have and the form that most of them are in we can get it done."
Leading the team's attacking charge will be the country's all-time leading goalscorer, Luton Shelton, Ryan Johnson, Omar Cummings, Dane Richards, Tramaine Stewart and Major League Soccer's hot rookie, Darren Mattocks.
The midfield will be led by new Leeds recruit Rodolph Austin, Jason Morrison and Jevaughn Watson, while the defenders are expected to be chosen from new Reading signing Adrian Marriappa, Nyron Nosworthy, Shavar Thomas, Dicoy Williams and Jermaine Taylor.
Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller is expected to don the goalkeeping gloves in the absence of first-choice Donovan Ricketts, who was not called up for the fixture.
Meanwhile, the entire Reggae Boyz squad and the entire technical staff will visit The Glenhope Place of Safety today at 2:30 p.m.