Kingston, Jamaica - Now that the qualifying tournament of the Concacaf Nations League is off and running, Jamaica veteran Je-Vaughn Watson is already salivating at the prospects.
With his Reggae Boyz’s solid 4-0 win over the Cayman Islands inside Kingston’s National Stadium on Sunday evening, the midfielder has already turned his focus on Concacaf’s marquee tournament, the Gold Cup.
Jamaica’s win was crafted by a pair of braces from DC United striker Darren Mattocks (2nd and 58th minutes) and Philadelphia Union frontman Cory Burke (35th and 66th).
The inaugural Nations League, which represents a massive recalibration of the confederation’s competition structure, serves as a qualifier for the Gold Cup.
“You know you always want to play in good tournaments and we are not taking anyone lightly, so doing well and qualifying for the Gold Cup is important because it would be a disappointment to the fans and the players if we fall short, especially knowing that we have been to back-to-back finals,” said the former FC Dallas stand-out.
The 34-year-old, who currently plies his trade for USL outfit Charlotte Independence, says the Boyz will be taking all opponents in this qualifying phase of the Nations League seriously as they look to go one better in the 2019 edition of the Gold Cup.
“We are hungry as we want to win a Gold Cup as well, so the next one in 2019 might just be ours,” Watson told concacaf.com.
Watson, who figured prominently when Jamaica lost (1-3 to Mexico) and (1-2) to the USA in the Gold Cup of 2015 and 2017, respectively, saluted Concacaf for imagining the Nations League.
“I think it’s a wonderful tournament that Concacaf came up with, which gives smaller countries of the Caribbean like Cayman and St Kitts to get the chance to showcase their talent,” he said.
Reflecting on the team’s win over Cayman on Sunday, Watson noted that the positive start is what the doctor ordered, especially that the team is coming off a 0-2 defeat to South America’s Ecuador in a practice match in New Jersey on Friday night.
“The atmosphere in the camp is good, and coach Whitmore always wants us to win, but not only to win but always to play well. Tonight (Sunday) I thought the guys came out and worked hard and put on a good show,” stated Watson, who also had fruitful stints with Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution of the US Major League.
In their upcoming Nations League match, Jamaica will tackle Bonaire in Curacao on October 14, at home to Suriname on November 17, and will close out the qualifying campaign away to El Salvador on March 3, 2019.