Jamaica Head coach Theodore Whitmore is focused on one goal heading into Tuesday night’s match against Curacao at Banc of California Stadium - advancing to the knockout stage.

“If you look at the group, three teams have a chance to qualify for the next round,” Whitmore emphasized in Monday’s pre-match press conference. “It’s neither here nor there whether we win the group or are runner-up, the most important thing, right now, is to get out of the group.”

A win against Curacao will assure Jamaica advances to the knockout stage, but its place in the group could still depend on the result of the preceding match between Honduras and El Salvador.

“We can’t look on the Honduras-El Salvador game going forward, this is a must-win or at least for Jamaica get a point out of the game so we expect Curacao to come with everything at us,” said Whitmore.

“Well, no doubt about it, Curacao have quality in their team,” added the former Jamaican national team player. “We have a game to play tomorrow, we have a tough team to play against. We just have to go out there and put our best foot forward.”

Whitmore described his team’s attitude as positive and upbeat ahead of the pivotal clash. He also praised his players for the work done up until this point.

Leon Bailey and Michael Hector were brought up as injury concerns and are under watch for the upcoming match.

When asked about the upward progress of Concacaf teams, Whitmore pointed to the evolution of the region and why his team must not be overconfident with Curacao.

“Everybody has to be in tip-top shape,” said Whitmore. “We can’t take anything for granted, we can’t take anybody for granted because everybody’s evolved.”

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is expected to represent his nation at the upcoming CONCACAF Gold, as a protracted dispute with the national football governing body seems to have come to an end.

The 22-year-old Bailey had previously turned down numerous invitations to represent the Caribbean nation, the most recent coming in October of last year.  On that occasion Bailey had agreed to play against Bonaire but later refused after his brother Kyle was not invited to the squad.

According to both parties, however, the impasse seems to be at an end with the player potentially making his debut against the USA in an upcoming friendly international.

“Chris Samuda worked hard with some things and the minister has also given her support. We love our country and we want to play for our country,” Bailey’s agent and guardian Craig Butler said.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts also confirmed that things have been smoothed over.

“Leon Bailey will be called because the coach and I have had discussions recently, and he will be invited both for the friendly in the U.S. and also for the Gold Cup tournament,” Ricketts said.

“I think that coach (Donovan) Duckie has interest for the brother (Kyle) for the Olympic squad because he did indicate to me that he has an interest in inviting him for the Olympic squad,” he added.

“We are looking forward to having them here, and we just hope that we will be able to put the past behind us and just restart the whole thing of just having him (Bailey) in the national set-up.”

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