Time for Boyz to learn teamwork lessonFriday, September 10, 2021
One lesson from the first three games of Jamaica's Reggae Boyz 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign is one we all already knew; but we sometimes forget: It is that teamwork will always get the job done far better than otherwise.
Just over a week ago, in the rarified atmosphere of high-altitude Mexico City, the Reggae Boyz fought tooth and nail, everyone pulling together, all for each other, to almost earn a precious point against hosts Mexico. In the end, as the thin air prevailed and weariness set in, the Jamaicans conceded in the dying minutes to lose 1-2 to the powerful Mexicans. None could deny or fail to admire the effort.
Fast-forward to last Sunday and Jamaicans — confined to watching on television because of the ravages of COVID-19 — were left aghast as the national team, with very different personnel from those seen in Mexico, were humiliated 0-3 by visiting Panama.
It wasn't just the margin of defeat. The performance put on by the team of mainly English-based players who had only recently arrived in Kingston for that game against Panama because of travel complications related to COVID-19 — some of whom playing at the National Stadium for the very first time — was horrendously poor.
Jamaicans held their heads in disbelief and despair as the visitors ripped apart their disheveled, shambolic, disorganised hosts. Surely, no Jamaica senior national football team has played as badly as this on their home turf in decades.
Fast-forward one more time to Wednesday night in San Jose against highly respected Costa Rica on their home turf.
Jamaica's Head Coach Mr Theodore Whitmore had returned to the squad which almost earned a point in Mexico City.
Again, Jamaicans saw the pulling together, each one for the other, as the Reggae Boyz fought to a 1-1 draw and could very easily have taken all three points.
'Starting point!' is how this newspaper called it — a play on words indicative that Jamaica had earned its first point in the push to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
We note that both Mr Whitmore and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Mr Michael Ricketts have rebutted disturbing reports suggesting that the coach had been handed a team sheet, leading to the horror show in the National Stadium last Sunday night.
Whatever happens from here, we are pleased that Mr Whitmore — a Jamaican hero of the 1998 qualifying campaign as well as the World Cup tournament in France — appears to have taken on board the recent lesson.
Said he following his team's draw in San Jose on Wednesday night: “…We… have seen a number of players, so it's for us to select a squad that can get the job done going forward. We've seen players leading up to this game, so it's for us to get the right balance going forward…”
Jamaica, like the other seven national teams in the Concacaf Octagonal Round of Fifa World Cup qualifiers will resume battle in October. All should know that Jamaicans will be expecting to see more of what took place in San Jose on Wednesday night. Under no circumstances should there be a repeat of what was on show in the National Stadium last Sunday night.
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