Thu | Oct 21, 2021

Whitmore: We were lacklustre in first half

Published:Sunday | September 5, 2021 | 9:20 PMDANIEL WHEELERStaff Reporter
Jamaica's National team coach Theodore Whitmore shouting instructions from the sidelines during Sunday night's Concacaf World Cup qualification match against Panama at the National Stadium. Panama won 3-0.
Jamaica's National team coach Theodore Whitmore shouting instructions from the sidelines during Sunday night's Concacaf World Cup qualification match against Panama at the National Stadium. Panama won 3-0.
Jamaica's Junior Flemmings (left) plays the ball away while under pressure from Panama's Anibal Goday Lemus during Sunday night's Concacaf World Cup qualification match at the National Stadium. Panama won 3-0.
Jamaica's Junior Flemmings (left) plays the ball away while under pressure from Panama's Anibal Goday Lemus during Sunday night's Concacaf World Cup qualification match at the National Stadium. Panama won 3-0.
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Much to Jamaica's frustration, Panama continues to find the National Stadium a happy hunting ground in Concacaf World Cup qualifying matches.

The Reggae Boyz did not use the home field to their advantage as they were beaten 3-0 in their second World Cup qualifying game, leaving Jamaica already in trouble in their quest to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Andrés Andrade and Rolando Blackburn scored in the 14th and 39th minutes, respectively, while Cecilio Waterman added another in the 82nd minute for their third win on Jamaican soil in a World Cup qualifying match to add to their victories in September 2004 and November 2015.

Head coach Theodore Whitmore made several changes to the team that lost to Mexico on Thursday, giving West Ham striker Michail Antonio his long-awaited debut as well as Glasgow Rangers' striker Kemar Roofe.

While national defender Damion Lowe said that Thursday's performance, despite the defeat, got the team hungry to set things right, Whitmore after the game was critical about how they started the first half, lamenting the effort, or lack there of, shown.

"We can sit all night and we can discuss technical (things) and tactics, but for me, it was down to the commitment and the desire, especially in the first half," Whitmore said after the game. "We were lacklustre. It was embarrassing to see what we did in the first half. And I think in the second half it was much, much better."

Roofe managed to put a five-minute effort over the bar, but it would be the only shot that Jamaica would have in the first half. Panama put them under immense pressure in the opening 15 minutes and got their reward when Andrade took advantage of a give-away to slam home past national goalkeeper Andre Blake. The Reggae Boyz struggled to generate any offence throughout the first half, which led to half-time changes with the introduction of Shamar Nicholson and Devon Williams, who featured in the Mexico game. Nicholson managed to have Jamaica's first shot on target saved in the 73rd and Roofe had the best chance when his header was tipped over the bar.

With the Boyz remaining at the bottom of the eight-team table, Whitmore says that they have no time to dwell on the defeat but admitted that the pressure is already on to get control of the ship and quickly.

"Our backs are against the wall now. I think the professional players, they understand. They know what we have to do. We just have to brush ourselves off and look forward to the game against Costa Rica (on Wednesday)."