Tappa wanted more time
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The National Under-20 team made a bold attempt at ending the CONCACAF Championship on a winning note on Wednesday night, but like most things before, it was not enough as they were held in a scoreless draw by lowly Aruba at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
The disappointment was not lost on head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, who lamented not having enough time with the players to bring them to a sufficiently decent level to compete.
"It was hard to motivate the players for this game given the previous results we had; but to be honest, I would grade our performance in this championship four out of ten based on our attitude and performances," said Whitmore.
"As is stated in previous interviews, I just think that we needed more time with the players and they needed more time with the coaching staff to at least put themselves in a position where we could have performed better," he said.
The Jamaicans had eight chances alone in the first half and tallied six more in the second but failed to deliver the knockout blow to the Arubans, who were content to sit deep in defence, while opting on the rare occasion to spring forward in attack.
Cardel Benbow again was a live spark for the hosts, coming into the action in the 60th minute and immediately made his presence felt.
He came close to winning a penalty in the 73rd minute, when his legs got tangled up with Aruba defender Niels Ridderstap.
Khallil Stewart and the always dangerous Junior Flemmings, too, were decent on the night.
Flemmings' shot in the 83rd minute skimmed the crossbar as the hosts keep searching for the go ahead goal.
Jamaica again came close with Benbow throwing himself at a pass from Flemmings in time added on for stoppages but missed the ball at point blank range.
The young Boyz ended the championship on two points, one more than cellar team Aruba.
To make matters worse they had to play all of 21 minutes with ten players, after goalkeeper Dane Chambers was shown a red card for handling the ball outside the area in the 69th minute.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore had no choice but to sacrifice striker, Donjay Smith, to bring in regular goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson for Chambers.
"This is just another disappointing result, another disappointing tournament for us; at the very least we should have got a victory against Aruba," lamented Whitmore.
Meanwhile, El Salvador took care of business with a 2-0 victory over Cuba yesterday to book a spot in Saturday's playoffs. Juan Barahona scored both goals.
The defender struck the opener in the 57th minute of play and sealed the deal in the 87th minute.