Tappa is safe for now

(Jamaica Observer) When Jamaica face Ecuador next month in New York and South Africa at the Bloemfontein Stadium there in November in friendly internationals, head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore will be in charge.

That’s the assurance coming from Jamaica Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell who remains firmly in support of the young coach despite the early exit of the Reggae Boyz from the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in the US.

The usually uncompromising Burrell was quick to jump to the defence of Whitmore, and instead of wielding the axe, has ordered an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the team’s untimely elimination at the group stage.

He said: ‘The Gold Cup bid failed. It will not affect coach Whitmore’s job. I was at the Gold Cup, and although I know a number of things, I will await the report from the Technical Committee, but I thought coach Whitmore himself tried his very best.

‘He is growing into a nice professional coach and he has my full support right now and I want to make that very clear.’

The Jamaicans lost their opening fixtures 1-0 to Canada and Costa Rica, respectively, before edging El Salvador by an identical scoreline in their final encounter, which gave them only slim hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals.

They were, however, eliminated when Panama crushed Nicaragua 4-0 to advance as one of the two best third-placed teams.

Burrell, a senior vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, added: ‘I am extremely disappointed, I think we should have performed much better. I am not going to use a Band-Aid to cover the performances… they were simply poor and I have commissioned the JFF Technical Committee to do an immediate study to tell me and the country exactly why we performed so poorly.’

With talk of a number of players appearing ‘lethargic’ and conducting themselves in an ‘unprofessional manner’ circulating in some quarters, Burrell insisted that he believes the problem lies elsewhere.

Two players were fined for missing a flight when they had already checked it and there were other disciplinary problems. Whitmore has an easy, laid-back manner but he punished them with fines and said he will not tolerate any unprofessional behaviour.

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