Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport
KANSAS CITY, Kansas:In the aftermath of Jamaica's failed World Cup Qualifying campaign, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, expressed disappointment and announced plans for the 2018 campaign.
At the heart of such projections is the retention of German coach Winfried Schäfer, whose services were recently acquired.
"Naturally, very disappointed. But although being disappointed and (this being) the end of the road in this campaign, insofar as our programme is concerned, I think we have a foundation from which we will start to build for the next campaign," Burrell said after elimination of the Reggae Boyz was confirmed with a 2-0 loss to the United States on Friday evening.
bottom of qualifiers
The loss left Jamaica bottom of the six-nation final-round qualifiers with four points, after losing five and drawing four matches in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Burrell said his organisation provided the team with the things needed to qualify.
"I believe all the needs, or most of the off-the-field needs were met, and I'm satisfied. My executive committee supported me in doing all that we could to enhance the performance of our team ... but, at the end of the day, the team failed to qualify for the World Cup Final."
He also blamed their demise on "inexperience".
"I think, honestly, without wanting to speak badly of anyone, I do believe that we could have done better in the qualifying series," when asked about the haphazard selections amidst limited preparation time. "I believe that inexperience in some instances played a major role in the current situation that we're in. But this is not a time to blame anyone."
With one game remaining, on Tuesday, Burrell said the Reggae Boyz should have done better.
"Again it's very unfortunate. Looking back, the quality players we have should have done better. But this is football. I guess one has to do a post mortem after a campaign like this."
He added: "Let us also remember that the World Cup qualifiers will start in another few years from now, but in-between we will have the Caribbean Championships, we will have Gold Cup and later on there is going to be another major competition in CONCACAF, which we will have the opportunity to qualify for and to again show our worth while preparing for the next World Cup after Brazil, which is going to be in Russia in the year 2018.
"We've a very experienced coach in Winfried Schäfer. One of the most important things to do right now is to try and secure the services of coach Schäfer to have him continue with our national senior team," he implored.
"We will be working in the next few days around the clock ... to look at the backup staff and also try to put the arrangements in place to keep coach Schäfer. He has already expressed an interest, I know that there are countries trying to get him and I hope that he will not have a change of heart and will accept to remain in Jamaica with our national programme."
Burrell said negotiations are ongoing to secure money for the coach's salary.
"I have been talking to a number of sponsors who have expressed a willingness to assist with the payment of coach Schäfer. Again, at this time, when the chips are down people will not willingly come forward, but you've to be strong and believe in what you're doing."
The JFF president thanked a host of private-sector sponsors and the Government.
"I believe and I want to thank the administrative staff of the JFF because I believe they pulled out all the stops, they gave all the support. I want to thank the Government, through the Sports Development Foundation, I want to thank Digicel for the tremendous support given, I want to thank Wisynco through its brand Wata, and lately Coca-Cola, I want to thank Stewart's Group of Companies for assisting us and for all the other sponsors who have stayed with us because, without their support, it would have been impossible," he said.
"I would like to thank Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller ... in particular for her personal support to the team."
a gift to its supporters
As a gift to its supporters, Burrell was asked about altering the price of admission for Tuesday's match at the National Stadium against Honduras, the last in the Hexagonal.
He said a decision will be taken in 24 hours.
"I do not take decisions on my own. I intend to consult with my executive committee and look at the upcoming game to see if there are any initiatives. But as it is right now I do not have any plans as it relates to any changes for the next game."
The United States and Costa Rica are confirmed automatic qualifiers for Brazil 2014 from the CONCACAF region. Honduras need only a draw against Jamaica on Tuesday to bag the third automatic spot while Mexico are in pole position for fourth spot and a play-off against Oceania champions New Zealand later this year.
PWDLFAGDPts1. USA 9 6 1 2 12 6 6 19
2. Costa Rica 9 4 3 2 11 6 5 15
3. Honduras 9 4 2 3 11 10 1 144. Mexico 9 2 5 2 6 7 -1 115. Panama 9 1 5 3 8 11 -3 86. Jamaica 9 0 4 5 3 11 -8 4