'We have seen growth'
CATHERINE HALL, St James — With their warm-up win against the United States last week behind them, the Reggae Boyz are focusing on Monday's start of the Concacaf Gold Cup when Jamaica host its first-ever games in the Confederation Championships inside National Stadium.
Jamaica will play Honduras in the second game of the historic double-header Monday evening and Head Coach Theodore Whitmore said the week-long camp in Montego Bay will get them ready for the quest for a third-straight trip to the final.
Team Manager Roy Simpson also told the Jamaica Observer that with the exception of central defender Michael Hector, who sat out training at Montego Bay Sports Complex with what was described as a “slight groin strain”, the full squad, including Leon Bailey, was ready.
“Everybody is well,” Simpson said. “For the previous game Bailey was on recovery programme at his club and they asked to work with them and have him finish the programme, and he has now completed that and he is really fit.”
Simpson added: “We have to understand that these players have been playing in their respective seasons and, as professionals, will play with knocks here and there but nothing to rule out anyone. They are all fit and ready and anticipating the clash against Honduras on Monday.”
Whitmore said the idea to base the training camp in Montego Bay was to lessen the distractions that are more easily seen in Kingston.
“Here it's more relaxed and we can focus more, as there are none of the distractions that come when we are in Kingston,” Whitmore said. “It takes us away, and there is the isolation so we can focus on what we have to do on the football field.”
Yesterday was the third day in the western city and Whitmore said so far “It has been very progressive. We have seen growth and a difference in terms of the attitude and work rate in training, and it has been very successful so far.”
He said the players have shifted into a competitive mindset with the Gold Cup just days away. “Every game we play we have different objectives, and we are looking forward to a good showing in this edition of the Gold Cup. And we know there is pressure on us as we were runners-up in the last two editions and the onus is on us to go one better, but it starts against Honduras and we are looking forward to a good game.”