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‘We need answers!’

Administrators seek clarification from JFF on Whitmore situation

Published:Monday | December 6, 2021 | 12:09 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
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Football administrators Carvel Stewart and Herman Cruickshank say the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is taking too long to act on the recommendation of its Technical Committee to fire national senior men’s team head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’...

Football administrators Carvel Stewart and Herman Cruickshank say the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is taking too long to act on the recommendation of its Technical Committee to fire national senior men’s team head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore.

The Reggae Boyz’s last two matches in the final round of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers in early November saw them drawing 1-1 with El Salvador and the USA.

The JFF board was scheduled to meet to decide on Whitmore’s status after those results, but no word has been forthcoming from the federation.

Stewart is not only calling for an announcement, but for Whitmore to be declared head coach until the end of the qualifiers.

“I do not think it should only be announced,” he said. “I think they should announce that he is continuing until the end of the campaign because anything else and we are back where we started with this axe over his head, and that this axe is about to drop.

“If you want the man to work freely without any concerns, just come out and say he is the coach for the entirety of this campaign and done.

“If he is in place, we are going to defeat central American countries. And if it is the same Mexican team that defeated us in the 89th minute (in September), we are going to beat them, too.

“I am confident that, with Tappa, we will win those three games. Without him, I do not think we will get those solid results.”

Cruickshank says the JFF should be handling the matter better and that the uncertainty and insults they have subjected the coach to is distasteful.

“Whether Whitmore goes or stays, the level of uncertainty and disrespect he has faced is not good,” he said. “It affects him, his family, and his performance. So they are not dealing with it professionally.

“It seems as if the organisation is divided on whether Whitmore stays or he goes. But the JFF has to handle it better, to send a better signal down the road, because it does not spell good for people who want to be associated with the organisation. They may be sceptical to be involved with them.”

Cruickshank, who like Stewart believes Whitmore is the best man to see out the campaign, says that the delay in announcing the fate of the coach is an indication he will remain in the post for the remainder of the qualifiers.

“I do not think they have much option, so they are delaying the process,” he said. “I know people out there want to take the chance with the team but they (JFF) should make a decision to level the uncertainty.

“I do not think they want to move him now, so I think he will carry on. But if you are going to let him stay, say it, and if you are going to fire him, fire him.”

JFF general secretary Dalton Wint was evasive about any updates when contacted by The Gleaner.

“Mr Whitmore is still the coach of the team. So, until an announcement is made, he is the coach,” he said.

The Reggae Boyz are sixth in the eight team standings, with seven points from eight games.

They are seven points behind third- and fourth-place Mexico and Panama, respectively, and nine points adrift of leaders Canada, with six games to play.