JFF ‘disappointed’ by Gold Cup exit
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts has labelled the Reggae Boyz’s Concacaf Gold Cup campaign a disappointment.
The Reggae Boyz were defeated 1-0 by the United States, ending their bid for a fourth straight berth in the quarterfinals and continuing their wait for a continental crown. Another deep run in the tournament is what the federation was hoping for, not only for silverware, but for adequate preparation for World Cup qualifiers.
The campaign included a nine-day pre-tournament camp during the first week of July for that purpose. Ricketts said that based on the investment by the JFF for this campaign, a quarterfinal exit was below their expectation.
“We started off reasonably well but really ended in disappointment,” Ricketts said after the game on Sunday night. “The JFF would have heavily invested in this tournament, so we really expected better results, but the big picture is down the road [as] World Cup qualifiers start on September 2.
“We really wanted to use more of this tournament as part of the preparation process, but that did not work out.”
Another deep run was also the goal of the coaching staff as head coach Theodore Whitmore indicated that their target was playing six games in the tournament with as much time as possible to gel before the road to Qatar 2022 officially begins. Instead, the Reggae Boyz finished the Gold Cup with two wins and two defeats, unable to replicate their three previous tournament appearances, where they made it to the semi-finals, as well back-to-back finals in 2015 and 2017.
Despite their elimination, Ricketts says their overall play was decent but lacked the ruthlessness in front of the goal to match it. However, he says that the tournament experience is part of the larger goal of ending a two-decade wait for another World Cup finals appearance.
“I think it’s part of the preparation process,” he said. “I certainly think that the coach would like to add a few more players. I’m pretty certain that he would be disappointed with the finishing. I think we were far less clinical than we would have liked. All around, I don’t think we played badly, but we didn’t score enough goals, and that really cost us in a really big way,” Ricketts said. “But like I said, the big picture is September, and certainly, we will reprogramme, refocus, and see what happens when the World Cup qualifiers come around.”
Jamaica start their World Cup qualifying campaign against Mexico on September 2 in Mexico City before beginning their home slate against Panama on September 5.