Then. Now. Always.
Germans loyal to Reggae Boyz, believe in 2026 promise
For 20 years, two Germans, Andy Wieser and Lukas Glaser, have not been captivated by the success of their national team. Rather, they have been big supporters of the Jamaican national team, and while they have been reflective on their journey, they are optimistic of its immediate future with 2026 World Cup qualification on their minds.
How Wieser and Glaser were first drawn to Jamaica is the typical tale of experiencing the culture and climate of the country. For Wieser, who has travelled to Jamaica twice, it was about beaches. For Glaser, it was the music, having been introduced to reggae by his older sister’s friend who gave him Inner Circle’s Bad to the Bone album to listen to. Both were drawn to the 1998 World Cup campaign, which propelled the team into the international spotlight, and both got the chance to meet the team in Oberndorf, Germany, in 2002 when the seeds were planted for the German Reggae Boyz Supporters Group.
What has been endearing to them has been the way the team has been approachable when they have travelled to Europe for matches, in particular when they met the team during head coach Winfried Schafer’s tenure between 2013 and 2016
“We met with the whole team, including Rodolph Austin, Schafer, and Kemar Lawrence. They were so friendly to us, and it would not happen with the German National team that you can speak with players before the game. I like the Boyz because of how authentic they are,” Wieser told The Gleaner.
For 20 years, they, like the rest of Jamaicans, have been waiting for the Reggae Boyz to take their place back at the World Cup. The latest disappointment of the Qatar campaign was unfortunate for Glaser because he believes that they have the talent, both local and overseas-based, to go far. For success to finally be achieved, they hope that the English-born players can be identified and integrated quickly to form a cohesive unit.
“It is very important to get these players as soon as possible because it was unfortunate that Jamaica didn’t qualify because the talent is there. The overseas-based players are talented. The most important thing is to create a team. And I think we will qualify for 2026,” Glaser said.
“This is the biggest chance that we have because Mexico, Canada, and the United States are hosting. We must qualify, but it will be hard because other teams like El Salvador will also perform well. We must have a team at the start of the qualification, 11 players who have played together for three or four months,” Wieser added.
Both believe in the vision of head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who took over the head coaching job in September and is preparing for his first Gold Cup tournament, which starts next month.
But disappointment in past campaigns has not lessened their dedication to the cause, crediting the evolution of the Internet in getting to see Jamaica play, something that was difficult when they started.
“In 1998 they were successful, and now we have been waiting for 20 years. I tell you it’s crazy, but I think we watched 90 per cent of the qualifying matches live at night. Sometimes 3 a.m. It’s a beautiful thing now because 20 years ago it was not so easy to watch the matches, but in 2023 you can,” Glaser said.
While the group is small, it is a proud, dedicated set committed to supporting the Boyz when they do play in Europe. When the 2026 campaign begins, it is the hope that they will be able to be here at the National Stadium to have that experience.