Audley Boyd, Assistant Sport Editor
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Captain Horace Burrell, has listed poor results as the reason for his decision to fire his friend technical director René Simoes in the wee hours of yesterday morning.
The other Brazilians brought here recently by Simoes were also fired in the move that shocked fans after the national squad's 2-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras Wednesday night.
They are Alfredo Montesso, Chico Santos, Walter Gama and his son, Luciano.
Along with Simoes, who earned US$600,000 annually, their total salary package exceeded US$1-million yearly.
The loss to Honduras was in a crucial CONCACAF Group Two semi-final round match played in San Pedro Sula.
Qualifying chances jeopardised
It was Jamaica's second loss in five days, following a 0-3 defeat to Mexico at the Azteca on Saturday. Both results, along with a 1-1 draw against Canada, have jeopardised Jamaica's qualifying chances because, with half the six-game schedule complete, they are lying at the bottom of the standings with one point.
Only two countries from the group will advance to the six-nation CONCACAF Finals.
Mexico lead with maximum nine points after winning their three fixtures, while Honduras are a clear second on six.
"It is results which count and therefore - we're very good friends, Professor Simoes is like my brother - but I have a job to do and I have to put all of that aside, not think with my heart, but with my head," Burrell told local media at the San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras near 7 a.m. yesterday.
He added: "I told him that it was painful, but that I had to take the decision because it's my responsibility and therefore at 0100 hours this morning (Thursday), in the presence of Horace Reid, coach Simoes was fired."
That meeting took place inside Burrell's room at the Hilton Princess Hotel in Honduras, where the team was based.
"I, in fact, fired him at that time," Burrell said in an impromptu press conference in the airport hallway after he had emerged from a very brief and hastily arranged meeting with members of the JFF coaching and technical staff, as well as all 18 players in the national senior squad.
"It's unfortunate, it's not something that I really wanted to do but Jamaica's football programme is bigger than any individual and certainly the decision, I thought, was the correct one," noted Burrell.
He expects to name a replacement for Simoes within a week.
Difficult to describe
The decision also ends Simoes' second tour of duty here.
"It's difficult to describe the feeling, first because you have a dream and in your dream is to make people feel happy, enjoy and feel great as they did before," Simoes, who clearly had not expected such an eventuality, told journalists at the Miami International Airport in Florida.
"This time things didn't work exactly as we planned ... so he takes a decision, you've to respect it. He's in charge, that's it."
Prior to Simoes' return to Jamaican football, the affable Serbian-born Velibor 'Bora' Milutinovic was JFF technical director. However, he was fired by Burrell for underperforming, making way for Simoes.
Now, the captain has done the once unthinkable and fired his friend.