THE 2017 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup commences on Friday, July 7 and will showcase 12 teams who will be split into three groups.
Group A consists of Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana and Canada while group B hosts United States who will face off against Panama, Martinique and Guyana and in Group C the Reggae Boyz will have to battle it out against Mexico, El Salvador and Curacao.
The Jamaicans have not been impressive in recent months and the lacklustre display recently in the Caribbean Cup, albeit we made it to the final, was not convincing enough to show the critics that the team is heading to a new and improved path.
It is however impressive to see Whitmore's inclusion of more local based players into the squad as well as giving younger players a chance, most notable is Shamar Nicholson who has been prolific in the Red Stripe Premier League over the past two seasons. The 20-year-old has recently been featured in his nation's last few matches and though he has failed to find the net, he states that he is confident a goal will come eventually.
As for the team on a whole, there seems to be little or no improvement in the style of play as well as the way in which the Boyz approach matches. The indecisiveness and the inability to retain possession and turn it into a chance continues to be a norm of the Jamaican style of play. There needs to be a renewed statistical plan and enforcement as to the duties each player has on the pitch if the Jamaicans are to come together and put on a good show in this year's Gold Cup.
If we persist with the lacklustre performances and the childish defensive mistakes then there becomes a fear that we may very well be embarrassed in the US. Teams such as Mexico, who recently played in the Confederations Cup third place playoff against Portugal, and Curacao, who recently defeated us the final of the Caribbean Cup, will show up our defensive frailties and plunge the nation's football program into even more unwanted criticism.
We need to develop a structure and an approach that can see us repeating or even bettering the feat two years ago, where we were subsequently beaten 3-1 in the final by Mexico. It is however uncertain that this will be the case, given recent performances but with a new youthful inclusion as well as many players feeling as though they have something to prove, it is hard to determine which Jamaican team will turn up.
Let's wait and see.