Brazilians booted! - Gama, Bracali casualties of Carib Cup calamity

Brazilians booted! - Gama, Bracali casualties of Carib Cup calamity

8 recruits now eligible for Jamaican selection

Thursday, January 03, 2013

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IT'S official. Technical Director Walter Gama and goalkeeper coach Armando Bracali have been axed from the technical staff of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) "with immediate effect".

At a hastily called press conference at the JFF's New Kingston offices yesterday, local football boss Captain Horace Burrell announced the dismissal of the Brazilian duo.

Following a review conducted by the JFF Technical and Development Committee into the Reggae Boyz's wretched performance at the recent CFU Caribbean Championship, it was found that Gama "lacked proactive leadership", while Bracali was deemed to have "not shown enough teeth" in the execution of his duties.

"We have decided to terminate the employment of both gentlemen following recommendations of the Technical Committee arising out of a review of the below-par performance of the team at the Caribbean Cup," Burrell said yesterday.

The JFF president said General Secretary Raymond Grant has undertaken the process of arranging "their exit".

"We would like to thank both men and wish them all the best in their future endeavours," Burrell told journalists.

Grilled in a question-and-answer session after his opening remarks, Burrell said the committee review ordered didn't find head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore at fault after Jamaica finished the eight-team regional tournament in last place after entering as defending champions and hot favourites.

"If coach Whitmore was found to be responsible, he would be fired... but the committee didn't find him wanting as Gama was the man responsible for the entire technical aspect and it was thought that the team was not properly prepared (along those lines)," the JFF head noted.

Burrell said based on a clause in both men's contracts, the JFF would not be liable for making severance pay.

Two other Brazilians — Under-20 coach Luciano Gama (Walter's son) and Whitmore's deputy Alfredo Montesso — have kept their positions in the national programme.

Four Brazilians — the two Gamas, Montesso and goalkeeper coach Joao Brigatti — were originally lured to Jamaica in a package deal worth US$50,000 (J$4.6 million) per month in what was thought a year or so ago to be a bargain.

It is reported that the JFF has struggled to meet the payments on a timely basis, and football watchers argue that while the firing of the two Brazilians may be justifiable, the decision was aided in part along cost-cutting lines of an organisation starved of cash.

Meanwhile Whitmore, who enjoyed the support of Burrell even in the heat of the Caribbean Cup fiasco, said he was not surprised he, too, was not booted.

"Honestly, I have rated myself from I have been coaching the national team... Basically, I think I've done a wonderful job with the limited resources, so I wouldn't consider myself lucky (not to be fired as well)," he said.

Whitmore, Jamaica's two-goal hero at the France 1998 World Cup in a 2-1 win over Japan, said he was
taken aback with yesterday's announcement of the dismissal of the elder Gama and Bracali.

"You would be surprised that any member of your coaching staff is leaving, but again it was the decision of the Technical Committee... we are professionals and we just have to move on and do what is best for the team and the country," he stated.

Whitmore said he would not venture to hold Gama, the technical leader, fully responsible for what happened in Antigua and Barbuda, but said the findings of the Technical Committee had to be respected.

"The technical director has a role to play and I have a role to play... the Technical Committee did their assessment and that's what they came up with. I wouldn't say that he was responsible for it (failure in Antigua), but as I said before it is up to the Technical Committee to give their findings," Whitmore explained.

The former midfield star noted that the country's football has to look past recent events and plot a course forward ahead of the World Cup qualification final round which kicks off with an away game against Mexico on February 6.

"We have a couple of days to now sit and see the way forward and to see how to approach the Mexico game and to ensure that we don't make the same mistakes that occurred in the Caribbean Cup... We just have to move on and think positive and get on with the job," Whitmore noted.

He conceded the void left with the departure of the two Brazilians has to be addressed at the soonest possible time.

"This is something we have to think about... I don't want to throw any names out there at this moment. Again, this is something that the committee has to look at," he declared.

The Boyz lost their opening Caribbean Cup match of Group B 1-2 to French Guiana, before sharing points in a 0-0 slug-fest with Martinique, then crashing in their final game 0-1 to eventual champions Cuba. They were the only team to end the tournament without a win.

Meanwhile, Burrell revealed that the base of the Boyz squad has been strengthened with news that seven UK-born and one German have received their Jamaican passports and are now eligible for selection.

They are the Reading pair of Jobi McAnuff and Garth McLeary; Watford's Lloyd Doyley; Marvin Bartley of Burnley; Derby County's Theo Robinson; Huddlesfield Jermaine Beckford, and Daniel Gordon of Germany's Karlsruher SC.

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