HEAD coach of the Senior Reggae Boyz, Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, believes the 17-place leap up the FIFA’s ladder to No 38 will serve to boost the confidence level of his players. The former Jamaica captain who led an impressive unit to the quarter-final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup recently, added that the positive movement is expected to impact the programme in variety of ways, including providing a fillip for the technical team. The Reggae Boyz are still outsiders to qualify for the World Cup, according to many sports betting sites.
“This gives confidence to the players and raises the level of the team’s profile. This is positive for the coaching staff as it is always much more advantageous and easier to work with players with high self esteem, confidence and belief,” said Whitmore.
The jump in the June release of the respected FIFA Coca-Cola Rankings is the best position for Jamaica since the successful 1998 World Cup campaign where the Boyz were ranked 32 entering the France edition. In August of the same year, they scored their best-ever placing of 27.
Jamaica remain the No 1 team in the Caribbean, followed by Haiti (89th), Trinidad and Tobago (90th) and Cuba (101th) rounding out the top four. The Boyz are now third in CONCACAF behind Mexico (9th) and USA (24th).
Whitmore, the hero of that 1998 team with two goals against Japan, said the “beautiful football” that the Boyz exhibited at the Gold Cup enabled them to hand defeats in the group phase to Grenada (4-0), Guatemala (2-0) and Honduras (1-0).
However, the eye-catching outfit which delighted audiences both home and abroad with its positive passing game, had an inexplicable meltdown in the quarter-final match against hosts USA, losing 2-0.
Encouraged by the overall display, Whitmore is confident the foundation has been laid as he and his technical staff look to theCaribbean leg of Brazil 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, set to kick-off in November.
“The technical staff will continue the work on building a team that will not only have a great chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but also a team… capable of competing effectively and successfully against teams at the top of the rankings, and more specifically, CONCACAF on a consistent basis,” he told the Observer.
Meanwhile, general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Horace Reid said the quality of the team’s play has set the stage for bigger things to come.
“The quality of our outfield play in the Gold Cup has underlined the potential of our team to achieve significantly on the international stage. Consequently, we now have an opportunity to build on our most recent displays,” he noted.
“The Federation is of the view that initiatives taken over the past few years are beginning to show positive results. Of particular note is the investment in coaching development; the exposure of our national coaches to international best practices; the creation of a relationship that has led to the staging of professional training camps in Brazil and the very recent strengthening of our technical team,” Reid added.
Read more – Jamaica Observer