Jamaica Favourites to Retain Caribbean Cup in Martinique
Reggae Boyz to tackle French Guiana in semi-final showdown
Defending champions Jamaica are strong favourites to maintain their Caribbean Cup crown in June’s finals. Martinique is set to host to the Scotiabank Caribbean Cup 2017 competition from 22-25 June, with just four sides remaining to seek glory – and bragging rights across the region.
Jamaica, who have won the past two Caribbean Cup tournaments, have been drawn against French Guiana. Their tie opens the competition on 22 June (6pm ko local time). The other semi-final comprises a battle of the minnows with Curacao tackling Martinique on the same day (8.30pm ko). The remaining two matches take place on 25 June. Those losing sides will compete in a third place play-off (5pm ko) with the final to follow (7:30 pm).
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz currently have former star player Theodore Whitmore in his third stint as interim head coach, and he holds the unique record of having won the Caribbean Cup both as a player (1998 & 2005) as well as a head coach (2012).
Yet after Whitmore was effectively forced out of his head coach role of the Boyz in 2013, following four years at the helm, his successor Winfried Schäfer surprisingly scooped the 2014 Caribbean Cup when under immense pressure and facing the axe.
But the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) eventually got rid of the largely under-performing Schäfer at the end of last year and, because of budget constraints, have turned to the ever reliable Whitmore to take over the reins albeit on an interim basis.
Whitmore’s first task was to get a largely inexperienced squad through two ties to reach the Caribbean Cup finals. Although he got the results required by the JFF, the Boyz squeezed through with arguably unattractive and uninspiring team displays.
Although it could be argued that Whitmore inherited the squad for this pair of matches, deprived of any familiar faces who ply their trade in Europe.
His reward for guiding Jamaica through to the Caribbean Cup finals not only brings financial rewards for the JFF but it also assures the Boyz join the other three teams in the tournament to compete in July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and start climbing back up FIFA’s world rankings.
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