Coach Whitmore underscores value of local talent as Boyz look to Qatar 2022 – Jamaica Observer

Jamaica’s interim Head Coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, in a clear display of breaking ground in building towards the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, is to focus on exposing a number of players in a variety of situations and combinations.
The Reggae Boyz’s 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Thursday, has given impetus to this path forward.
With a squad of locally based players, the Jamaicans made their point by action that there is merit in the argument that quality abounds at home.
The squad that opposed the Soca Warriors comprised a number of inexperienced players, seven of whom made their senior team debuts. Two of those — Jamiel Hardware and Fabian Reid — were Jamaica’s goalscorers.
The game against their Caribbean rivals was outside the days earmarked for international football, and Whitmore capitalised on the opportunity to showcase players from the home-based stock.
Indications are that the Jamaican coach will be open to every opportunity to hand his young brigade additional exposure.
“We want to expose our players that play in the local premier league [in order] give them experience and we want to be three-strong in every position. We don’t want to wait on only FIFA dates, we want more games like the one we played against Trinidad for our players to express themselves,” the Reggae Boyz coach reasoned.

In the upcoming fixture against Canada on Saturday in Toronto, which is an official FIFA calendar date, Whitmore says the contingent for that encounter will feature players plying their trade in the United States.
He explained, however, that household names like striker Darren Mattocks and others, who took Jamaica to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, will not be called upon.
“The squad for Canada would be a balanced one in terms of local and players that play in the [United States]. Like a Mattocks, we won’t take him because we have other players we want to see. We want to look at others so we have depth going forward.
“The regular names, you might not see them. The Gold Cup and the friendly [games] we play now are important, but what we want to do is get depth and camaraderie and build a squad for 2022,” said the former Reggae Boyz star.
Though underlining areas of weakness with the fledgling team in Trinidad, Whitmore lauded the stubborn nature of the execution against the hosts who preparing for World Cup-qualifying games against Honduras and Panama around the corner.
“We were disciplined and we were compact, but the thing for me is how we get the ball out from the defensive third to the middle and transition to the striker. It was the first time the back four were playing together apart from two practice games at home, but this was in a very competitive situation. I think they handled themselves properly,” he said.
Turning attention to his tenure as coach, remains up in the air until the Jamaica Football Federation leadership is renewed in the middle of next month, Whitmore says he is committed to taking up a permanent role.
“It depends on the federation in terms of where we go from here. I keep saying ‘Tappa’ is here for the long haul, but I don’t know the decision they will be making come the 16th. I’m here working and putting out the best, so let’s see where it happens,” he said.

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