Gary ‘Wizard’ Whittaker made an impressive come back for the Cayman Islands National Senior Men’s team on Saturday.
Whittaker, 34, scored in the fifth minute of the international friendly against Clarendon All Stars at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town.
The Wizard has been weaving his magic as a national player from the tender age of 12. Whittaker was born to play football. His mystical movements on and off the ball earned him the name Wizard, a name that will stick with him for life.
He has played for several teams on the island including top club George Town and will be donning the colours for Academy in First Division League competition this coming season.
He was invited to join the squad after a short absence from competitive football due to a ban placed on his former team FC International.
The one year ban was lifted much to the delight of Whittaker who breathed a sigh of relief of getting the chance again to do what he does best, scoring goals.
‘I have always felt it an honor to play for my country and I was counting down the time for the ban to be lifted for me to don the national colours again,’ he says.
‘Presently the squad in training has one of the best coaches in the region, Carl Brown. He is an excellent coach, very experienced and exposed to all levels of coaching and all the team needs to do now is gel.
‘I have learnt a lot from Coach Brown having been trained by him from I was a teenager. My main task now is to get fit and get out there and do my best if I make the team going to Guadeloupe next month.’
Whittaker is inspired by Brown. He adds: ‘Coach Brown motivates us a lot and the camaraderie in the camp right now is a winning one.
‘Football in the Cayman Islands needs to take a giant step up the ladder. President Jeffrey Webb, his executive body and Carl Brown and his technical staff needs our help as players to make this a reality; I promise to do my part from now on.’
On Saturday Whittaker took the field as a national player as he is accustomed to and did give a good show. It was obvious that at 34 he still has a lot to offer the national team.
This prolific striker has the expertise and displayed it in both games played over the weekend against the Clarendon All Stars.
Ian Harris, head coach of the All Stars, after the first game on Saturday said after seeing how well Whittaker played in the he singled him out as one of the players to mark out of Sunday’s game.
‘Whittaker is an outstanding player who reads the game very well,’ Harris said. ‘He is very skilful and gave my defenders a hard time. I was tremendously impressed by the performance of the Cayman Islands team but more so with this player in particular.’
Cayman is presently gearing up for Stage Two of the Caribbean Football Union Digicel Caribbean Champion Cup competition scheduled to be played in Guadeloupe in two weeks’ time. If the team is successful in these games they will be travelling to Jamaica in December for the finals.