Not Tappa’s fault - JFF boss Ricketts defends Whitmore after Gold Cup semi-final defeat
President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts has jumped to the defence of Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore amid criticism of his selections as well as the team’s tactical execution at the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament in the United States.
The Jamaicans lost 3-1 to the United States at the semi-final stage of the competition on Wednesday at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
New Chelsea signee Christian Pulisic led the Americans to victory with a brace in the 52nd and 87th minutes after Weston McKennie’s 9th-minute opener. Shamar Nicholson’s 69th-minute goal had given the Jamaicans brief hope in their pursuit for a third straight spot in the Gold Cup final.
Whitmore, who led the team to the 2017 final, which they also lost to USA, has been on the receiving end of heavy criticism for his constant rotation of the team and the lack of a clear tactical approach or game plan throughout their campaign.
Ricketts told The Gleaner that while he is disappointed with the result, he believes that it is not fair to lay all of the blame at the feet of the coach.
“I am not so technically inclined, but that is how we are, because if we had won, then he (Whitmore) would be the greatest coach,” said Ricketts. “I think the defence never played well and so you don’t blame the coach for that. Plus, we created some good chances which we should have scored.”
Ricketts noted that he was happy with Whitmore’s management of the team at the competition and said that it’s important that he now move the team beyond the disappointment of missing out on the Gold Cup final.
“I am not perturbed by comments about the coach because I think the coach has done well and so that is how it is. We just have to accept criticism and try and correct those that we think are real and genuine and then we move on,” Ricketts said.
The JFF boss pointed out that despite the defeat, there were a lot of positives from the Reggae Boyz’s performance and hopes that these will serve as a platform on which Whitmore and his staff can build for the future.
“I think it was a tough game, and all things being considered, I think we did well. We made some really crucial mistakes that cost some goals,” Ricketts said. “However, I am very excited about the prospect with so many young players, and so it certainly augurs well for the future of the national team.”
Jamaica 1-3 USA
Shots: 16 - 16
Shots on target: 4 - 9
Possession: 48% - 52%
Passes: 444 - 480
Pass Accuracy: 81% - 84%
Fouls: 18 - 14