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‘It’s the right time to restructure’: Gonzalez replaces McLean as Men’s National Head Coach

Football leaders in Cayman are planning for the future.

That was the message Wednesday (5 December) as the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) President Alfredo Whittaker announced Technical Director Alex Gonzalez as Interim Men’s National Head Coach, replacing Elbert McLean.

“We think it’s the right time to restructure our national team programmes,” said Whittaker. “We have a break until our next game in March. We have an upcoming Under-23 tournament. We have to look at that, and think smart. We at CIFA think now is the right time.”

Cayman’s senior men’s squad have under performed in their CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers, failing to score a goal in three winless matches. Whittaker says a new voice was needed.

“We thought at the time, Elbert would be a great asset,” said Whittaker. “There was disagreement of players. On a couple of occasions, we stepped in. It’s not that we are not happy with Elbert. We want to do things a little bit different, that is better for the players right now.”

Both Whittaker, and a prominent player who spoke off the record to Cayman 27, can corroborate McLean mismanaged the team’s roster prior to their CONCACAF Nations League draw versus St. Lucia.

Prior to their kickoff, 21 players, not including Cayman’s two goalkeepers, were prepared to be in Cayman’s starting lineup. CONCACAF regulations, however, allow teams a maximum 20 players if three goalkeepers are rostered, or 18 players with two goalkeepers. The team was said to be operating as if they were able to start 21 players and two goalkeepers.

The casualties included 2017 CIFA Premier League top scorer and two-game starter Christopher Reeves, along with David Connolly and Jonathan Ebanks. Whittaker said the entire situation was a red flag.

“They didn’t know who was playing, and then suddenly the announcer started to announce the lineup for the Cayman Islands,” said Whittaker. “The players started looking around at each other, and it created uncertainty. That was one of the things that gave us uncertainty.”

Sources say the team was also displeased with the benching of Wesley Robinson, who came on as a substitute in the second half.

Gonzalez, who led Cayman’s Under-15 Girls this past summer at the CONCACAF Under-15 Championships, will take over for Cayman’s final Nations League game versus Montserrat on March 23rd. Whittaker says the decision on a permanent Head Coach will be forthcoming.

“After our congress this weekend, we will have a meeting, and make decisions as to who, and when, a person will take over the senior team,” said Whittaker.

About the author

Jordan Armenise

Jordan Armenise

Jordan Armenise began his sports broadcasting journey with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). It was in this role where he was able to craft the immersive and enthusiastic approach to reporting, broadcasting and production you see here today in Cayman's sports community.

Jordan has also worked behind the scenes for a number of Canadian broadcasting & production companies such as CBC Sports, Cineflix Productions and Cream Productions.

Did he mention he was St. Clare of Assisi's 1994 Athlete of the Year?

Now dubbed 'The Sports Guy', Jordan relishes the role as Cayman 27 Sports Producer, where he can tell the stories of Cayman’s athletes. You can reach Jordan at 333.6521 or jordanarmenise@hurleysmedia.ky.

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