What is 'Tappa' worth?
Two members of the local football fraternity believe that the contract reportedly being offered to national senior men's football team head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore is an insult to his credentials.
It is reported that Whitmore is reluctant to sign a new contract with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) because he is not satisfied with the salary offered, said to be around US$3,000 (J$371,500) per month. This represents a significant decline from the US$45,000 (J$5.6 million) per month that the JFF paid to Whitmore's predecessor, Winfried Schaefer, between 2013 and 2016.
Former national assistant coach Bradley Stewart said such an offer, if true, is "not liveable".
"I am of the view that a head coach - like the prime minister or members of parliament - should be classified in a certain way," Stewart said. "He is paid a certain salary with the fringe benefits and so forth. You attach importance to the role that is there, not necessarily who takes the job. We must come up with a salary which is liveable."
Former Sports Development Foundation general manager and football pundit, Michael Hall, said that the contract offer to Whitmore, if true, is "almost unbelievable".
"In the context of Whitmore's results - carrying the team to the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the premier competition that we can play in, outside of the World Cup - indicates that he is more than capable," Hall said. "I also think that there's no question that the players that work under him respond to him and respect him, both as a coach and certainly as a Jamaican who has played at the highest level. Those things don't count for nothing. They're very important. If the figure quoted is correct, in the context of what other coaches in CONCACAF make, and what the senior coach of a national men's outfit makes, I would humbly suggest that that offer represents somewhat of an insult to Tappa."
JFF President Michael Ricketts recently said the federation will not be spending above its means to attract a new coach and added that he believes that what was offered to Whitmore is enough to attract a coach of the standard that the JFF needs.
Ricketts denied that US$3,000 was indeed offered to Whitmore, but he would not discuss the details of the contract being tabled. He added that what was offered to Schaefer was a mistake by the JFF as it added significantly to the body's debt.
However, Hall found no sympathy for the JFF's position.
"It suggests to me that the JFF is willing to put itself in debt for a foreigner (Schaefer), but not for a local," Hall said.
Other CONCACAF head coaches' estimated monthly salaries:
- Jurgen Klinsmann (USA) - US$234,000 (J$29 million)*
- Juan Carlos Osorio (Mexico) - US$107,000 (J$13 million)
- Hernan Dario Gomez (Panama) - US$41,000 (J$5 million)
- Patrice Neveu (Haiti) - US$22,000 (J$2.7 million)
- Oscar Ramirez (Costa Rica) - US$20,000 (J$2.5 million)
- Stephen Hart (Trinidad and Tobago) - US$20,000 (J$2.5 million)**
- Former USA head coach Bruce Arena's salary is unknown. Klinsmann was his immediate predecessor..
** Current Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence's salary is unknown. Hart was his immediate predecessor.