Tappa’s target - Whitmore says upcoming friendlies and Gold Cup must be catalyst for World Cup berth
Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said good performances in their upcoming international friendlies in Japan in June and in the Concacaf Gold Cup in July will amount to nothing if they fail to secure qualification for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next year.
Jamaica will play Japan on June 3, Serbia on June 7, and Japan's Olympic team on June 12.
Speaking during an online Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) press conference on Thursday, Whitmore expressed delight at what he sees as a deep squad at his disposal.
"This is an important year for the Reggae Boyz insofar as international competitions are concerned," he said. "The Concacaf Gold Cup is slated for July and the World Cup qualifiers is set to kick off in September.
"The squad we've named for the three games is to fine-tune our preparation for the Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifiers.
"The squad is deep and the players are anxious. Everyone wants to be a part of it. But it makes no sense we give a good account in these practice games and the Gold Cup and do not make it to Qatar 2022. So all that we are doing now, our main focus, is getting to Qatar 2022.
"We have spent the last three years looking, molding and preparing, and now is the time to deliver."
The squad will include Dillon Barnes, a Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper based at English Football League One Burton Albion, and forward Blair Turgott from Swedish side Ostersunds FK.
"There will not be a lot of changes," Whitmore said. "We have basically build a squad for the last three years and the pieces we are getting are the pieces we want to fit in that missing puzzle. So there will not be a lot of changes.
"We anticipate a very competitive roster and we view this as a positive. Each player, both overseas and local-based, must use every opportunity to perform and press their case for selection.
"With this approval of the Jamaica Premier League, the doors are now open, opportunities beckons at the international level (for local players)."