PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Jamaica Manager Theodore Whitmore spoke with the press in Philadelphia on Saturday night ahead of Jamaica’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal affair with Panama at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
“We are very pleased with advancing to the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup,” said the former Jamaica international star player-turned-head coach. “We have a tough assignment tomorrow with Panama. We are looking forward to it.”
Jamaica’s path to the first knockout round of the tournament began with a 3-2 win over Honduras at the National Stadium in Kingston, the first ever Gold Cup match to be played on Jamaican soil.
Although two draws followed against El Salvador (0-0) and Curacao (1-1), that historic night in Kingston is still something that motivates the players as they approach this quarterfinal.
“For us to play the Gold Cup back home,” said Jamaica MF Andre Lewis, seated next to Whitmore, “it was unbelievable.”
“I’m very happy that I was a part of history,” Lewis continued. “Growing up as a kid, I always watched the Gold Cup.”
Lewis looks up to his manager with great respect. He was just shy of four years old when Whitmore famously bagged a brace at the 1998 World Cup in France to beat Japan 2-1, Jamaica’s first and only World Cup win. Whitmore’s entire career served as an inspiration for Lewis.
“I also watched my coach play back in the day,” Lewis said with a bright smile. “Those guys did so much for us. For us now to be able to play this tournament in Jamaica, it is huge for the young generation, for them to really get to be a part of the Gold Cup.”
“I talked with all the younger players at my club, Portmore United,” said Lewis. “Everyone is really happy about football right now. We are so pleased with this.”