Mon | Apr 23, 2018

Follow the Trace | Schäfer must go now!

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Despite the feeble and desperate counter-attacks from embattled national football coach Winfried Schäfer, my calls for his dismissal will not go silent, indeed they will get louder. According to the veteran German this columnist is leading a "witch hunt" against him. Typical sounds of a drowning man desperately clutching at a straw.

In remaining steadfast in my calls for Sch‰fer's dismissal or resignation, I simply wish to state the facts. The poor results are there for all to see. The picture worsens in a context where the World Cup qualifying campaign for the Reggae Boyz remains uniquely pivotal to the survival of the entire football programme; in terms of popular support; in terms of sponsorship and the marketing and appeal of the game locally.




There ought to be no semblance of doubt in realising that surviving in the World Cup qualifying campaign has to be the top priority of any senior national coach, and that not advancing to the final round of qualifying would be a massive and irreparable disaster for the entire national football programme.

In that regard Schäfer has been an abysmal failure. The team is all but mathematically eliminated at the second round, which would see them falling way short of maximising the benefits from the Russia 2018 campaign, by missing out of the lucrative and high profile final round of qualifiers.

As things stand, the 'Boyz' need to win away to Panama, which they have never done and then they must beat Haiti at home and then hope and pray that the already qualified Costa Rica gives them a helping hand by beating Panama.I would not bet a dollar on all those events coming together in Jamaica's favour.

Schäfer was the architect of this looming disaster where in the last three World cup qualifiers played at home, the team has one point from a possible nine, having lost twice and drawing once. He has not registered a win as coach inside the National Stadium for three years.

His survival as head coach to this point, and the remnants of support he enjoys are based mostly on that fluke run to the final of last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup interspersed with some reasonable performances against big name opponents such as the recent victory over South American champions Chile in that country.




One of the lines I've heard in support of Schäfer is that Jamaica no longer gets five and six nil from the big teams of the world. Just a reminder that Jamaica did actually get clobbered eight nil in France in 2014. I would choose getting the odd six nil and still being in contention and indeed going forward to qualify for the World Cup finals as we did in 1998, over boasting about rubbing shoulders with big teams in useless friendly's and valueless tournaments, while getting beaten by Nicaragua and Panama in vital World Cup games.

Schäfer's attitude towards the exposure and development of our young players and his overt bias, disrespect and disdain for the nation's young local-based footballers continue to tear away at the very fabric of the future of the game in Jamaica. His preferred option remains running off to England in search of "half good' and "half committed" players, to whom he then has to 'bow" and 'beg' to come and play for Jamaica. He has flatly refused the notion of finding a balance and look where it has gotten us. Without even getting into the details of Schäfer's technical and tactical incompetence, it is quite safe to say that pound-for-pound and dollar-for-dollar, Schäfer has turned out to be a terrible investment and arguably the worst national senior football coach to have graced the shores of Jamaica, he needs to go, and he needs to go NOW!