Speid pleased with big Boyz squad
With the final pair of internationals before the upcoming Gold Cup tournament now concluded, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) technical committee chairman Rudolph Speid says he is pleased with the pool of players that senior head coach Theodore Whitmore has to chose from. He is hoping that this will help to ensure a deep run in the regional tournament.
Jamaica ended their recent two-match tour of Japan, losing to the Japan Olympic team 4-0 at the Toyota Stadium in Toyota, Japan, on Friday. This after they drew 1-1 with 25th world-ranked Serbia last Monday. Speid said that despite the difficulties that head coach Theodore Whitmore has had in assembling his ideal squad, he feels satisfied with the number of players the coach now has from which to choose his team.
Speid said that in March when Jamaica played the United States, they were forced to pick new players because there were contractual problems with some key Reggae Boyz. He said these new players have now become important members of the squad.
60 persons available
"Now we are realising that some of those players are very important to the cause," Speid told STAR Sports "So the coach now has almost 60 persons available to play for the national senior team. This is good. This is really a problem that we wanted the coach to have."
The USA friendly saw several players deemed unavailable as their contract situations with the JFF were being resolved. With terms now agreed to, Speid disclosed that among the 60 players that have signed their contracts and are ready to suit up for Jamaica are Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Leon Bailey and West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who is currently going through the process of acquiring his Jamaican passport.
With four weeks to go before their Gold Cup tournament opener on July 12, Speid says that the expanded pool will put pressure on players to consistently perform to earn places for the tournament as well as the World Cup qualifiers in September
"Now it is up to the coach to solve this problem as good coaches do. This to me is the best thing that could have happened. We are just not one position deep or two positions deep. We are three in some and four in some. Everybody has to be in top form to be able to get a space in the Gold Cup squad, and that is what we want," Speid said.
With the team's depth likely to be tested in the qualifiers with a maximum of three games in each international window later this year, Speid said that making it to Qatar next year will depend on how strong their pool is.
"In the World Cup qualifiers, we are going to need a team that has strong players all round because the games are going to come thick and fast. We don't want to drop quality if one or two players have to sit down because of injuries, fatigue, or anything else," Speid said.