Schäfer safe, says Burrell
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, has rubbished reports that the head coach of the Reggae Boyz, Winfried Schäfer, is under pressure to keep his job following the national team's 3-1 loss to Canada on Tuesday night.
Captain Burrell, speaking from Central America where he is currently engaged in meetings, said yesterday that the coach, who has only four wins from 15 matches since he assumed control of the national team in July 2013, is safe.
"The coach is safe," said Captain Burrell. "Let me allay all fears, his job is safe."
The JFF president explained that the coach used the Canada match to give what he called "fringe players" an opportunity to shine as a squad is being assembled to contest multiple tournaments in the near and distant future.
"That is why he wanted the four years so that he could look at a number of players and build a squad," Captain Burrell said. "The Federation is very comfortable with Mr Schäfer."
The 64-year-old German coach took over the Reggae Boyz with four games remaining in the failed campaign to qualify for the World Cup that was held in Brazil this past summer. His initial four-month contract was subsequently extended to 2018 as he has been tasked with the responsibility of preparing the team for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Assistant coach Vin Blaine also explained that the coach is currently focusing on putting a squad together for the Caribbean Football Union's Caribbean Cup to be held in Jamaica from November 9-18. He said coach Schäfer has been engaged in an ongoing selection process.
New squad coming
During that process, he will submit a squad in about October for the Caribbean Cup, after which he will be looking at other players leading up to the Copa America in Chile from June to July 2015 and to which Jamaica has been invited to compete. Subsequently, Blaine said he will be putting together a squad that will mount Jamaica's World Cup campaign to Russia in about two years' time.
Prior to taking over the reins of the national team, Schäfer enjoyed success as a player and coach. He won the Bundesliga in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in 1979 playing midfield for Borussia Moenchengladbach. As a coach, he won the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon in 2000. He also led Cameroon to the runners-up spot in the 2003 Confederations Cup.