Sport

The waiting game

JFF waits on Schafer as he mulls over contract

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Friday, December 13, 2013    

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THE Jamaican people will have to wait on the dawn of the new year to know whether or not the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has been successful in re-engaging Winfried Schafer as head coach of the Reggae Boyz.

Having stayed on to lead the senior Boyz in a recent home-and-away friendly series against Trinidad and Tobago without a contract, the German tactician and the JFF were reportedly busy trying to chisel a new deal that would see the experienced Schafer remaining with the programme through to Russia 2018.

While a new contract has been crafted and the prospects said to be looking good for the former Cameroon coach to put pen to paper, the process has been stalled as Schafer has asked for time to review the document more carefully while he's on holidays in his European homeland.

"We are hopeful that Mr Schafer will consider us favourably... he has asked us for some time to have his attorneys in Germany have a look at the new contract.

"We expect that by the time he returns to the island, in early January, we will be able to formalise a working partnership going forward," said JFF president Captain Horace Burrell from Miami yesterday, where he is attending three days of meetings of the CONCACAF executive committee.

Schafer, who joined the Reggae Boyz at the tail end of the failed Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign, had succeeded Theodore Whitmore on a four-month contract that ran out on November 30.

Part of the delay in re-signing the journeyman coach was predicated on efforts to identify corporate partners to help in covering the coach's salary.

This drive, Burrell revealed, has been constructive and a clear path has been laid as to their role in the process.

"The response from corporate Jamaica to the continuance of the coach being here has been very encouraging, therefore I am very hopeful that, on his return, we will have positive news to tell the country," said Burrell.

The JFF boss said he firmly believes that Schafer has the requisite skills and broad-based knowledge to guide Jamaica's senior programme in a new direction that will ultimately achieve the elusive goal of a World Cup repeat appearance.

"He has a lot of knowledge of the game, and the synergy with him and the JFF has been outstanding.

"Importantly, he understands the culture of the Jamaican people and he has shown respect for them, and the people have in turn embraced him, so that makes for success down the road," said the Jamaica football boss.

Schafer, 63, has coached in his native Germany, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

To his credit, he led Cameroon to the African Cup of Nations title in 2002 and on a golden run, he steered the Africans to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.

— Sean Williams

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