Strongest squadron? - Burrell, Whitmore say Mexico group is Jamaica's best
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Despite Jamaica's senior men's football squad that has been called up for the February 6 World Cup Qualifier away to Mexico consisting of eight inactive players, five newcomers and two schoolboys, federation president, Captain Horace Burrell, and head coach Theodore Whitmore say it represents Jamaica's strongest available squadron.
"One of the mistakes that we will never make again is to have Jamaica parade an 11 on the field that we know is not the strongest 11 available," Burrell argued during yesterday's press launch held at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
"We should never repeat what happened in the Caribbean Cup. We have gone all out to try and secure the strongest 11 possible players to represent this country. We have gone for the most experienced players ever in the history of Jamaica."
The five players - selected following the JFF recruitment efforts in Europe last year - who are either new to the programme or have never represented the country in an official game, are Marvin Elliot (Bristol City), Joel Jobi McAnuff (Reading), Garath McCleary (Reading), Theo Robinson (Derby County) and Jermaine Beckford (Huddersfield).
The players will leave from their various clubs on February 3 for Mexico, where they are slated to engage in two training sessions prior to the game.
"Many of the clubs have made one request of the JFF because they are thinking about the health and safety of the players, they have asked that the players to travel as comfortably as possible," Burrell disclosed. "We have put arrangements in place for them (players) to be accommodated a little bit more comfortably, in the business cabin. That's an expensive venture, but we have to do it because it is necessary."
With the players set to be released by their clubs a mere 48 hours before the match, Whitmore has expressed concern with the limited preparation time, but is nonetheless expecting a good showing.
"I am very concerned about the limited time with the team in practice, but very confident with the quality of players that we are assembling together," Whitmore shared. "We want to go over there (Mexico) and give a good performance and the result will come.
"If we go down to Mexico thinking that we are going to lose the game then we have already lost the game."
Ryan Johnson, Omar Daley and Donovan Ricketts have been recalled to the squad after being overlooked of late. Whitmore also said 18-year-old schoolboys Alvas Powell and Andre Lewis are in the squad for development purposes.
"There is a time for every player ... at this time we have selected the 23 players that we think are best for the Mexico game," Whitmore said.
GOALKEEPERS - Dwayne Miller, Donovan Ricketts and Duwayne Kerr. DEFENDERS - Nyron Nosworthy, Damion Stewart, Alvas Powell, Adrian Mariappa, Demar Phillips, Jermaine Taylor. MIDFIELDERS - Jermaine Johnson, Omar Daley, Tramaine Stewart, Rodolph Austin, Marvin Elliot, Jason Morrison, Joel Jobi McAnuff, Jermaine Hue, Andre Lewis. FORWARDS: Dane Richards, Jermaine Beckford, Garath McCleary, Theo Robinson, Ryan Johnson.
Full Caption: National senior men's football team head coach, Theodore Whitmore (right), announces the names of players selected to the Jamaica squad for next Wednesday's World Cup Qualifying fixture against Mexico. Looking on is national Under-20 football team head coach Wendel Downswell, who also announced his squad for upcoming qualifying competition, during a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation office in New Kingston yesterday. - Ian Allen/Photographer