Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Jamaica warm-up for Caribbean Cup with February friendlies 

Theodore Whitmore has been given back-to-back friendlies in the United States next month in order to tweak Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz ahead of June’s Caribbean Cup defence. The interim head coach faces a tough task for his troops to show their worth when they face USA in Tennessee on 3 February, and his squad members will be vying for automatic selection when the Boyz tackle Honduras in Texas on 16 February.

Whitmore, who has been installed on a temporary basis as head coach, will have his trusty assistant Jerome Waite beside him as they try to impress the Jamaica Football Federation. The 44-year-old was in charge of the Boyz from 2009 until he was forced to part ways in 2013 and immediately replaced by German Winfried Schäfer, and both scored success by winning the Caribbean Cup.

After Schäfer’s dismal display for the 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign came crashing down courtesy of negative tactics, Captain Horace Burrell had little choice but to get rid of the veteran head coach and it was Whitmore who stepped into the firing line once more last September. 

Whitmore has managed the Boyz twice since returning to the helm, yet neither of the two victories were convincing although in fairness the former Jamaica midfielder had his hands tied because it was Schäfer who selected the squad for the pair of Caribbean Cup qualifying games and omitted any players from Europe.
Hosts Guyana were dispatched 4-2 after extra time last October and the Boyz followed up with another stuttering success to turn over Suriname in Kingston’s National Stadium 1-0 last November.
 
Next month’s friendlies will be a golden opportunity for Whitmore, the only player to win the Caribbean Cup as both a player and a coach, to stake a claim into making the job his on a permanent basis.
 
The Boyz have until 22 June before they enter the semi-final stage of the Caribbean Cup, which will be staged in the United States. And in July they will be back in action at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, having spectacularly reached last year’s final before running out of steam against Mexico.
 
Whitmore enthused: “Its always great when you call players to camp for them to have something to work towards. These will be high level competitive games going into the tournaments in the summer and we welcome them wholeheartedly.”
 
Jamaica scores against the USA - GOld Cup 2015 - via Youtube/CONCACAF

Jamaica scores against the USA – Gold Cup 2015 – via Youtube/CONCACAF

Bruce Arena is back in charge of the USA after they dispensed with the services of German head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, with the friendly to be played inside the Finlay Stadium at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 
Honduras, who have only tasted defeat twice in their past seven matches, will be Jamaica’s opponents at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas and it will be intriguing whether Whitmore sticks with the majority of island-based squad used for their Caribbean Cup triumphs or brings back the familiar faces from Europe such as skipper Wes Morgan, who is currently experiencing a torrid time with defending English Premiership side Leicester City.
Captain Burrell, president of the Jamaica Football Federation, said: “We’re determined to offer all possible opportunities to the technical staff to prepare our team to not only successfully defend our Caribbean Cup title in June, and to maintain our good performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but to strengthen the Reggae Boyz brand on the international stage.”

The players to be invited to both matches will be called to camp in the shortest order in preparation for the games.

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Jamaica warm-up for Caribbean Cup with February friendlies Theodore Whitmore has been given back-to-back friendlies in the United States next month in order to tweak Jamaica's Reggae Boyz ahead of June's Caribbean Cup defence. The interim head coach faces a tough task for his troops to show their worth when they face USA in...

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