Tappa’s in but Barnes is out

Former Reggae Boyz captain Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore is the new head coach of Jamaica and John Barnes has returned to England.


Whitmore has grown as a coach. Photo: Ron Shillingford

Whitmore got the job after the historic 3-2 win over Panama on Sunday evening at the National Stadium in Kingston. It was their first win against Panama in 40 years.

Whitmore replaces Barnes whose seven month contract was not renewed by the Jamaica Football Federation.

JFF president Captain Horace Burrell made the announcement after the match and wished Barnes all the best.

‘Our contract with coach Barnes expires at the end of June, which is in another couple of days from now. Naturally, Barnes has to be looking around, and I am very pleased that he has landed a contract at Tranmere Rovers.’ Whitmore is on a one year contract.

Barnes a former Liverpool and England National player took over coaching the Reggae Boyz last November and his first assignment was bringing them to Cayman for two friendlies. He now moves on to English League One outfit Tranmere Rovers with his contract starting in July.

Barnes said ‘I am disappointed that I would not be going to the Gold Cup next month because I could have started the contract with Tranmere after that.

‘But I fully accept and understand the JFF decision that they will appoint Theodore, as of now, to give him a chance to experience football at the highest level.

‘I have to thank the JFF for giving me an opportunity in doing something I love. It is something I wanted to get involved with for a long time and they gave me that opportunity.’

Barnes has had an unbeaten run since taking over the team from interim coach Whitmore in November after Brazilian Technical Director Rene Simoes was fired. He guided the team to winning the Digicel Caribbean Cup in December.

He finished his first national coaching job with a winning record of five wins and four draws but failed to get them to the last stages of the World Cup qualifiers.

Whitmore started his coaching career as head coach at the Seba Club and has done several recognized coaching courses overseas.

He was appointed Interim Coach of the Jamaica National team after the JFF sacked Serbian-born Velibor ‘Bora’ Milutinovic the then technical Director.

Whitmore, represented Jamaica in a host of international matches, including the FIFA World Cup Finals in France in 1998 during his 12-year playing career. He scored both goals against Japan in a famous 2-1 victory at the 1998 World Cup finals.

The former midfielder, who made his international debut in 1993, played professionally in the United Kingdom for Scottish club Livingston (2003-2004) as well as English sides Hull City (1999-2002) and Tranmere Rovers (2004-2006).

Whitmore said: ‘It makes me feel so proud to see that my career has now gone one step further. I know the love that I have for this country and the confidence of this administration and Jamaicans success is a must.

‘I have been working with the team for quite a while and I am positive that we can only get better at this stage.’