Jamaica Gleaner / National senior football team goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake is happy to be working with Jamaica’s World Cup heroes Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore and Warren Barrett as head coach and goalkeeper coach, respectively.
Blake, who is shortlisted for the CONCACAF Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year Award, spoke of his relationship with both coaches.
Whitmore, who guided the Reggae Boyz to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, where they lost 1-2 to host the United States of America last July, was offered a two-year deal by the local governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
“I am definitely happy for Tappa Whitmore being the senior team coach. He is one of the names I easily recognised from the 1998 World Cup squad,” Blake, who is on a break from Major League Soccer, said about Whitmore during a visit to the JFF’s offices in New Kingston last weekend.
“I am happy to see all the success that he has and given the chance to also be in charge of the Reggae Boyz. He has been given another opportunity to continue the work in building the team, especially for the next World Cup campaign,” the 27-year-old, who is the top choice for his Philadelphia Union club, said.
Blake also spoke about his working experience with Warren Barrett and promising St Andrew Technical and Cavalier SC goalkeeper.
“Barrett is also a veteran who was the captain and goalkeeper for the team that went to the World Cup finals in France. I definitely look up to him and try to learn as much as possible from him. We have a great relationship, which is important. We understand each other pretty well, so that enables us to work together,” Blake shared.
“I have not seen him (Jaedine White), but heard about him. He reached out to me a few times via social media. He tried to talk to me and let me know that he looks up to me as a goalkeeper. I saw a few clips of Jaedine but have not seen him personally to get a proper assessment,” he said.
“We have been producing good goalkeepers – athletic goalkeepers – so as I said before, we already have the talent but we have to find ways to nurture the talent, for them to grow. They need to get into the right environment. They have to seize the opportunity if given the chance.”
Blake listed international custodians David de Gea of Manchester United and Spain, Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea and Belgium, and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich and Germany as the goalkeepers he admires.
“They are all good goalkeepers and I challenge myself to be like them,” Blake concluded.