Custom Search 1

Reggae Boyz edge closer to becoming a top 50 hit

PICTURED: Theodore Whitmore

THEODORE WHITMORE'S Reggae Boyz, who tackle highly-rated Honduras today, have climbed two places to world no.54 in the latest FIFA rankings.

Jamaica's head coach Whitmore masterminded a shock 1-0 defeat earlier this month on hosts USA - only their third victory over their near neighbours - but their FIFA ranking surprisingly did not elevate them into the world's top 50.

With the Boyz facing Honduras at Kingston's National Stadium in their opening group game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, followed by seemingly easier matches against El Salvador and relative minnows but rising stars Curaçao, they are expected to scythe through the rankings after the prestigious tournament.

Jamaica are the leading team in the Caribbean, ahead of Curaçao (world no.79). And the Boyz lie fourth in the CONCACAF region, trailing Mexico (no.18), USA (no.30) and Costa Rica (no.39).

Jamaica's highest FIFA ranking was world no.27 back in August 1998, when Whitmore was a stalwart on the pitch.

If they are to reach such lofty heights again then Whitmore has to get the most out of his troops, boasted by the presence of midfield newcomer Leon Bailey, and continue their remarkable record at the Gold Cup.

Jamaica finished runner-up in their past two biennial Gold Cup tournaments, with Whitmore steering the Boyz past Mexico in the 2017 semi-final before succumbing to the United States.

FIFA's top 10 teams comprises Belgium, France, Brazil, England, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Uruguay, Switzerland and Denmark.

Realistically the Boyz are unlikely to ever be a top 10 hit, but signs are there that they have the rhythm and panache to be a force to be reckoned with and Whitmore will undoubtedly be urging Jamaica to reach the top 30 over the next 18 months.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.