Players need chance to show their worth - Whitmore
Despite giving up a late goal with virtually the last kick of the game and having to settle for a 1-1 draw in their international friendly against Antigua and Barbuda at Sabina Park yesterday, Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore admits there's a lot of work to be done. He is calling on the new, upcoming players to step up whenever they are given the opportunity in the future.
Jamaica took the lead after 50 minutes when Dane Kelly's cross deflected off Akeem Thomas for the opening goal. However, Peter Byers ensured a share of the spoils for the visitors, who are ranked 139th in the world.
Jamaica dominated the majority of the game and created the better scoring chances through Malique Foster, Romario Williams and Dane Kelly, but were woeful in front of goal. Malique Foster did look especially dangerous and found the net just past the half hour, but he was ruled offside after the Antiguan goalkeeper parried Romario Williams' effort into his path.
Later, Whitmore brought in Jameil Hardware, Peter-Lee Vassell, Marvin Morgan and Cordel Benbow and they lit up the park for the last 15 minutes.
But in the fifth minute of added time, Antigua won possession and countered, leading to a header at the back post by Byers, who put his effort beyond Andre Blake from five yards.
"We are on the right track. It's for us to get them (local players) in and drill them into what we want and what we need from them. It's not only mental toughness (we need), there are a lot of things we need to improve on and it cannot happen overnight, so it's still work in progress," Whitmore told reporters afterwards.
"We have a number of players and each have to get their chance. Each have to prove themselves because we have the nation's league coming up in September, and we have to think of getting the best 23 players to represent the country," he said.
Although many believe the team needed a player with the experience of Je-vaughn Watson to see them over the line, Whitmore said it is time for others to pick up the slack.
"At some point in time we have to play without Je-vaughn Watson and you have to give other players an opportunity and they have to step up to the plate. So I wouldn't say Je-vaughn Watson was missed, he was out there and did his part and other players have to take it up," he commented