Sport

Schafer arrives today for new stint as national football coach

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BY IAN BURNETT SPORTS EDITOR burnetti@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2014    

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WINFRIED Schafer is scheduled to arrive in the island today to begin a four-year stint as head coach of Jamaica's senior men's team leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia.

The German is slated to arrive at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James, directly from his native Germany.

The 63-year-old, who has coached in his homeland, as well as Africa, Asia and the Middle East, agreed to terms with the Captain Horace Burrell-led Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in recent days, after mulling over a contract presented to him last December.

Captain Burrell confirmed to the Jamaica Observer yesterday that Schafer would be returning and that the deal was reached after "extensive negotiations", but he was not prepared to reveal much, only that "details would be announced at a later date".

But the Observer understands that the man who led Cameroon to the African Cup of Nations title in 2002 and, on a golden run, steered the Africans to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003, is expected to immediately announce his plans for the

senior men's football programme, especially with the Caribbean Cup, a qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, slated for the back end of the year. He is also expected to lend his expertise and play a lead role in the restructuring of the JFF technical programmes and the operations of the age-group teams.

Part of the delay in re-signing Schafer was predicated on efforts to identify corporate partners to assist in covering his salary, but the Observer also understands that the coach was not only concerned about his own salary, but that the overall programme be supported sufficiently for him to seriously move it forward.

"He says he is not coming here (Jamaica) for a pension, but to work hard to improve the sport on the island," the source told

the Observer.

Schafer joined the Reggae Boyz at the tail end of the failed Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign last August, after succeeding Theodore Whitmore, on a four-month contract which ran out on November 30.

The source added that Schafer wants to have all age-group teams playing under one philosophy, and that he could even ask to have direct control of the Under-23 team.

It is also thought that it is Schafer's intention to have open dialogue and working relationships with all the National Premier League teams -- coaches, physical trainers and managers in an effort to better prepare local-based players.

The Reggae Boyz are expected to face 1998 World Cup winners France in a friendly international on June 8 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France, and could be in action earlier, as the JFF is is still in negotiations for other games, which could be finalised before long.

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