German Schafer's new Reggae Boyz coach
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
After more than a month without a senior national football coach, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell yesterday announced the appointment of German Winfried 'Winnie' Schafer as head coach of the Reggae Boyz, effective immediately.
Schafer replaces Theordore Whitmore, who was asked to step down after the Reggae Boyz's disappointing loss to Honduras in their World Cup game in June.
Burrell made the announcement during an emergency press conference which was held at the federation's head office on St Lucia Avenue yesterday. Burrell also named Vin Blaine as assistant coach of the Reggae Boyz for the remainder of the campaign.
The 63-year-old Schafer brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Reggae Boyz set-up, having led Cameroon to the World Cup finals as well as the African Cup of Nations title in 2002. Schafer also led Cameroon to the runners-up spot in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
As a player, Schafer represented Borussia Msnchengladbach and Karlsruher SC in the German Bundesliga.
"I am very confident in his abilities," said Burrell. "It's going to be different from what we are used to because Germans are always very disciplined and people say Germans are mechanical, and so I think it might be the medicine that the doctor ordered."
He added: "I do believe that we needed some finishing tools, because we have the basic ingredients, but I really think that there needs to be some amount of polishing and I think looking at his CV (curriculum vitae) I am convinced that this gentleman, given the right tools, will be able to deliver."
Burrell noted Schafer's worldwide recognition and experience as key to his appointment.
MORE EXPERIENCE NEEDED
"A number of local coaches were in the mix, but based on what the JFF believes that the programme needs, we needed someone with more experience," he said.
The JFF president did not divulge any salary details.
"There are two phases of his contract. Phase one will be to try and get us to the World Cup and Phase two will be the way forward after that," Burrell pointed out.
The Reggae Boyz, who are still searching for their first win in their final round World Cup Qualifiers, currently sit at the bottom of the six-team table on two points from six matches. Schafer's first task will include Jamaica's World Cup qualifying game against Panama in Panama City on September 6.
Schafer said he was ready to revive the Reggae Boyz.
"We have four matches - the first match is against Panama and then Cost Rica - and those are the key matches," Schafer said. "I am sure that if we have good preparations and if we have good mentality, we can win those matches, as well as other fixtures, and then move to the play-offs," he said.
"Everybody needs to be highly motivated and be a part of this team," he added. "I come to Jamaica because I believe that we can make it."