No progress made on Whitmore decision
The job of senior men’s national team head coach, Theodore Whitmore, remains in limbo. This is more than a week after the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) technical committee submitted a recommendation to its executive for changes to its...
The job of senior men’s national team head coach, Theodore Whitmore, remains in limbo. This is more than a week after the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) technical committee submitted a recommendation to its executive for changes to its technical programme.
The issue has taken on huge national interest given the nature of football business where coaches are hired and fired based generally on performance in a four-year World Cup cycle, a situation exacerbated by the current placing of Jamaica’s team in Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.
Following the Reggae Boyz’s last game, a 1-1 draw with the United States at the National Stadium, speculation around Whitmore’s position grew after a meeting of the JFF’s technical committee was called to review the team’s technical leaders, which is led by the head coach.
Asked yesterday to comment on the senior national team’s coaching position, this against a recommendation made by the technical committee, Michael Ricketts, president of the JFF, indicated that “I can’t comment on that now”.
Ricketts explained that he would not be delving into the matter at this time because the JFF board has not yet explored the matter, which is in accordance with its governing principles to, firstly, have its chief architects review the technical committee’s report, before advancing towards a final decision.
Ricketts said they will soon meet to deal with the matter.
“The executive committee will meet soon to discuss the recommendation... which is for changes relating to the technical programme,” Ricketts shared.
“I can’t say anything until the exec meets,” he added.
While no official information has been publicised, it has been reported that the seven-member technical committee made a recommendation by a vote of 5-2 to change the team’s technical staff, including head coach Whitmore.
When contacted yesterday, Rudolph Speid, chairman of the JFF’s technical committee, did not share their position.
However, he neither confirmed nor refuted the voting reports, only saying the committee has advanced its proposal.
“We have made the recommendations and we’re waiting on the executive committee to make their decision,” Speid said. “It’s up to the board. It’s out of our hands. It’s their decision.”
In the eight-nation final round campaign, the Reggae Boyz are in sixth place on seven points and in danger of missing out on a spot at FIFA’s Qatar 2022 World Cup Finals.
Three of the eight are guaranteed automatic qualification to the World Cup, while the fourth-place team will get another shot by way of a confederation play-off against the top country from Oceania, which appears highly likely to be New Zealand.
Canada head the octagonal series with 16 points, followed by the United States on 15, with Mexico and Panama, on 14 points each, now occupying the important slots. Costa Rica have nine points, while El Salvador (six) and Honduras (three) complete the table. All the teams have played eight matches and have six more to go in the home and away qualifying series.
Informed sources have pointed to the standings and its impact on the decision surrounding the team’s technical staff.
Some of the football leaders, according to information gleaned, want Whitmore removed in light of what appears to be a failed campaign so far while others want him to remain as there is a belief that the Reggae Boyz are still capable of making the World Cup and while the team still has a chance, Whitmore is best suited to lead that charge.
However, JFF board members have said they have not even been presented yet with a copy of the technical committee’s report and chose not to discuss the matter at this time.
Danny Beckford, the St Ann FA president and a long-serving football representative, said, “I have not gotten anything official about any decision taken by the committee. As a board member, I haven’t been informed about what is happening.
“I don’t know what decision has been made by the technical committee. I just heard it on the news being bandied about,” he explained.
Fellow JFF director, St Thomas FA president, Wayne Thompson, said, “Normally the committee would meet and they would make a recommendation to the board.
“Everything I have heard has been in the media. I haven’t seen anything. I know the committee (technical ) met. No meeting has yet been arranged,” he said.