KINGSTON, Jamaica -- After a 2-1 setback to Curacao last week in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean final, Jamaica doesn’t have the luxury of time to analyze why it didn’t repeat as champion.
The Reggae Boyz’s focus quickly shifted to their 2017 CONACACF Gold Cup opener on July 9, when – coincidentally – they face Curacao once again.
“We are looking for an improved performance,” said Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore. “There are positive areas going in our favor and things we need to work on. However, with the two recent games in the Caribbean Cup, I feel we are getting a settled and gelled team towards the Gold Cup and we want to turn this into a success and go one step better to what we did in 2015.”
Two years ago, Jamaica had a magical run to Gold Cup decider, earning a semifinal win over the United States (2-1), before falling to Mexico (3-1).
Many of that campaign’s stars, such as defenders Wes Morgan, Adrian Mariappa and Michael Hector, are not on the 2017 edition’s roster. Regardless, Whitmore has faith in the current squad.
“I am fully confident in the 23 players we have called up in the Gold Cup to deliver to the best of their abilities,” the 44-year-old remarked. “When I was in charge at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, we also had a team with all Jamaican-born players and we played with a lot of zest and panache and we went through the group stages without even conceding a goal.
“I believe we can replicate such performances and make Jamaican football shine once again.”
Jamaica is the only Caribbean nation to reach the Gold Cup final.