VIDEO: Gama returns as Reggae Boyz TDFriday, May 13, 2011
BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor
JAMAICA Football Federation (JFF) boss Captain Horace Burrell has hired four Brazilian coaches to work with the national programme.
The head of local football yesterday announced Professor Walter Gama as the new Technical Director of the national football programme, with sweeping responsibility for the wholesale development of the nation's game. The Brazilian will bring with him son Luciano, Professor Alfredo Montesso and Joao Brigatti, who will all be assigned various portfolios within the technical structure.
Montesso will be senior head coach, Theodore Whitmore's assistant and also head the Under-23 Olympic team.
The younger Gama who, with his father, recently spearheaded the unsuccessful campaign of the Jamaica's Under-20 to qualify for that age-group World Cup, has been assigned head coach of that youth team, to be assisted by Andrew Edwards.
Brigatti, who also worked with the Under-20s in a three-week camp in Brazil and consequently, the CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Guatemala recently, will join Warren Barrett and Clive Wedderburn as goalkeeper coaches.
Wendell Downswell will remain at the helm of the World Cup-bound Under-17s, with his deputy being Omar Edwards, while Vin Blaine stays the head coach of the Women's Programme, to be assisted by Xavier Gilbert and Merron Gordon.
Andrew Price keeps his job as Technical Director of the beach football programme.
All of the Brazilians have worked with the national programme in the past.
Burrell, in making the announcement at the JFF headquarters yesterday, said the cash-strapped Federation was able to secure the services of the four "highly qualified" Brazilians for a bargain package of US$50,000 (J$4.2 million) per month.
"They understood our plight as they know that we're not a wealthy nation, and with negotiation, they consented to come on board with a basic salary package," said the JFF president.
"Respect is due to these Brazilians and we want to say thanks... I know it's their desire to come back to Jamaica and that has made it so easy for them to accept the package we negotiated with them," Burrell said.
With the JFF struggling to make ends meet, Burrell and his team stepped into the deep by engaging the services of the overseas coaches on three-year contracts without identifying the money to cover the contract period.
He said he could only guarantee the salaries for six months at this point, and the funds will be re-directed from a US$300,000 (J$25 million) bonus that FIFA paid to each of its 208 member associations.
"We guarantee their salaries for at least six months at this point, but we are close to tying up deals with two corporate sponsors and we are confident that cash will start to flow in," Burrell told the Observer.
In addition to their coaching expertise, the Brazilians will, as part of the agreement, lecture at the JFF/UTech Coaching School.
"They will bring international coaching expertise and will contribute to our overall coaching education programme... and they will also assist us in developing our own football philosophy," explained chairman of the JFF Technical and Development Committee, Howard McIntosh.
Meanwhile, senior Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said he welcomes the immersion of the Brazilians "as they can only spell good for Jamaica's football".
"It was my decision to get Professor Montesso... I went to Brazil earlier this year and spoke to him of possibly coming back to Jamaica and he was interested.
"I worked with Professor Montesso as a player and coach when he assisted Rene Simoes and he's quite knowledgeable at the game and I am convinced that he can bring tremendous help to our football development," said the former Jamaica captain and two-goal hero at the France World Cup in 1998.
The Brazilians, except Montesso, are due to arrive in Jamaica next week.