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Whitmore runs eye over Jamaica's cream of talent

PICTURED: Theodore Whitmore

THEODORE WHITMORE, the Jamaica head coach, has 20 of the island's top talent at a three-day training camp to prepare for next month's CONCACAF Nations League games.

With the regular season of the 12-team Red Stripe Premier League winding down, and results becoming increasingly important, these training sessions at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence in Kingston will help sharpen the skills of rising stars from 19-21 February.

There are no players from overseas invited for the training camp, although some familiar faces are expected to be selected for the squad that will tackle the important Nations League tie in El Salvador.

Players from 11 Red Stripe teams will be aiming to catch the eye of Whitmore with a view to the must-win South America tripisit on 23 March, with the prize for success a place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup finals. And Mount Pleasant's Ladale Richie, with international experience, is the stand-out name at the training camp.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have finished runner-up in the past two Gold Cup tournaments, and if they qualify then the players not only face a financial boost but also will come under the watchful eye of scouts for North American sides.

Yet it is back in Jamaica that Red Stripe Premier players are voicing the need for a union to protect their rights, as many believe that the current Premier League Clubs Association only looks after the teams and not individuals.

Michael Ricketts, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president said: "Anything that is going to positively impact players’ welfare, the JFF ought to support that.

“We wouldn’t want players to be overbearing and unreasonable, but we would support any initiative that would benefit the players as far as their progress and welfare are concerned.”

The Boyz need to defeat hosts El Salvador next month to confirm their Gold Cup qualification and also to progress to the next stage of the Nations League.

And three days after the El Salvador tie the Boyz are on their travels again when they visit Costa Rica for a friendly.

Zelano Barnes, Jamiel Hardware, Marvin Morgan (all Arnett Gardens FC), Cardel Benbow, Kemar Bennett, Kevaughn Isaacs, Ladale Richie (all Mount Pleasant), Shaun Dewar, Diego Haughton (both Waterhouse FC), Javon East, Andre Lewis (both Portmore United), Nichols Hamilton, Chevone Marsh, Leonardo Rankin (all Cavalier SC), Rosario Harriott (Portmore United), Jorginho James (Harbour View FC), Fabion McCarthy (UWI), Colorado Murray (Tivoli Gardens FC), Rohan Reid (Humble Lion FC) and
Dennis Taylor (Reno FC)

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