Top 10 Hit For Jamaica To Bag Gold Cup Berth
Whitmore has opportunity to continue Reggae Boyz’ fine record
Jamaica edged into this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup finals, but only just following Saturday’s shockingly poor 2-0 defeat at the hands of El Salvador.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore had to play a waiting game for the remainder of the CONCACAF Nations League (CNL) ties to be completed on Sunday, and must have been relieved that his Reggae Boyz qualified for the biennial Gold Cup competition.
The Boyz, who had been undefeated in their previous CNL before the reversal in El Salvador, sneaked into the Gold Cup as one of the top 10 sides in the 34-team CNL qualifiers.
They will join table-topping Haiti, Bermuda, Canada, Cuba, Curacao, El Salvador, Guyana, Martinique and Nicaragua out of the CNL qualifiers.
The Reggae Boyz are back! The runners-up in 2015 and 2017 #GoldCup are making their 11th appearance! Will Jamaica…
The highly lucrative Gold Cup, which has increased from 12 to 16 teams, already had six nations waiting in the wings to discover who they will tackle in June and July.
Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States all pre-qualified for the Gold Cup because they had reached the final stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The CNL qualifiers, which ran from September until Sunday, saw the teams each play four games with the top six sides progressing to League A of the inaugural CNL.
But reaching the finals of the prestigious Gold Cup is considered to be better than the CNL, as the players are on display to be potentially snapped up by leading clubs from across the globe
Had Jamaica failed to reach the Gold Cup, having finished runner-up in the past two competitions, then questions would have certainly been raised about Whitmore’s suitability to continue as head coach.
Already the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) have tightened their purse strings and no longer splash the cash to attract a plethora of overseas players with a distant heritage, such as a grandparent from the island. So the financial reward from Jamaica’s Gold Cup appearance will be highly welcomed and most likely to be invested in nurturing young talent.
Ironically it was the lack of young talent that almost cost Jamaica their Gold Cup berth, Whitmore paying the penalty for cautiously fielding a dated line-up to tackle El Salvador on Saturday.
The JFF won’t want a repeat from Whitmore, but simply have no one that they can turn to put the pressure on the affable coach.
It is expected that the JFF will encourage Whitmore to start to utilise youngsters, that he previously blooded, for the important games.
A rethink on his squad is required to tackle the Gold Cup, as Whitmore will be aiming to continue the Boyz’ fantastic record in the tournament although it doesn’t currently appear that they have a shot at winning it.
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