Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Reggae Boyz head coach Winfried Schäfer is entering the last days of his initial four-month contract with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), and with a number of teams already expressing an interest, JFF president Captain Horace Burrell is hoping to tie down the respected 63-year-old German coach.
Schäfer, who signed with the JFF in July in a bid to rescue the Reggae Boyz battered CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign, has reportedly been presented with four offers from teams located in CONCACAF, African and European regions, but Burrell believes that the coach is eager to continue his work with the national senior team and is hoping that he will get the backing of corporate Jamaica.
Tight-lipped about cost
Burrell would not tell The Gleaner how much it would cost to keep the former Cameroon, Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach tactician, nor did he reveal his current salary package. However, the former Army man believes he is close to securing enough support from the private sector to keep the coach in Jamaica beyond his current deal, which is set to expire in November, after the final World Cup qualifier against Honduras on October 15 at the National Stadium.
"That (Schäfer's salary) is something that I have never discussed and I don't want to discuss, but let's just say that if corporate Jamaica pull its resources together, then he will stay here," Burrell noted.
"He is a very reasonable human being, he is into nation building and right now even though he has four very good offers elsewhere; so its not that he does not have offers, but we are trying to convince him to stay here," Burrell told The Gleaner.
"What I have discovered is that the entire country is supportive of us keeping coach Schäfer, corporate Jamaica is very satisfied with his general attitude, and I have been speaking with a couple of sponsors and it looks good. I am feeling very confident that with the help of corporate Jamaica, we will be able to keep the coach here," Burrell added.
"He (Schäfer) has said that he has never met a people so loving as Jamaicans and that means a lot to him. He has said that the spirit of the Jamaican people means more to him than money and I know he wants to stay here, it's just for us to make it happen," Burrell said.
Since his appointment to Jamaica's bench, Schäfer has led the team to draws against Panama (0-0) and Costa Rica (1-1).