Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Whitmore still looking for right team balance

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 12:10 AM
United States midfielder Christian Pulisic heads the ball away from Jamaica midfielder Devon Williams (left) during the second half of their Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal match in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.
United States midfielder Christian Pulisic heads the ball away from Jamaica midfielder Devon Williams (left) during the second half of their Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal match in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.
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National senior men’s football team head coach Theodore Whitmore says that after seeing a number of new options for the team in action on their tour of Japan last week, the aim is to now get what he describes as the right “blend” for the squad....

National senior men’s football team head coach Theodore Whitmore says that after seeing a number of new options for the team in action on their tour of Japan last week, the aim is to now get what he describes as the right “blend” for the squad.

Whitmore returned to Jamaica yesterday after the Reggae Boyz’s 1-1 draw in an international friendly match against Serbia, and a 4-0 loss in another friendly with Japan’s Olympic team. These games served as preparation for the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament next month.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Committee Chairman, Rudolph Speid, recently admitted delight with the pool of players Whitmore has at his disposal. He mentioned a figure of 60 players which includes Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey while West Ham United striker Michail Antonio is in the process of acquiring his Jamaican passport.

Whitmore says getting the right team balance means having the right number of experienced players with the newer cohort.

‘NAMES WON’T CUT IT’

“It’s very interesting but to only have names won’t cut it,” Whitmore told The Gleaner. “We want to get their documentation, firstly. Football isn’t only on the field so for these 60 players being talked about, things have to be put in place so that they can concentrate and play on the field.

“First and foremost, we have to concentrate on the eligibility of players for the national team. Going into the Gold Cup, we have to look at match readiness, camaraderie and chemistry of the team.”

Whitmore said that both games were of a high quality in terms of the team’s performance and this is one of the positives he says he saw on the tour.

“The positive is that we played two high-quality games and got an opportunity to look at players in different positions,” he said. “These were two games in difficult situations.”

Whitmore guided the Reggae Boyz to the 2017 Gold Cup final where they lost 2-1 to the United States of America. They lost 3-1 to the same opponents in the semi-final in the last staging two years ago.

sports@gleanerjm.com