Hallgrímsson promises to educate local coaches
Jamaica's senior men's football Head Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

NATIONAL senior men's football team Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson says he plans to educate local coaches to bring them closer to international standards while a part of the national programme.

Hallgrímsson, an Icelander who arrived in Jamaica on Wednesday, was introduced to the public by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in a press conference in Kingston on Friday.

He signed a four-year deal taking him through the next Fifa World Cup qualifying cycle, with the aim of qualifying the Reggae Boyz for the 2026 tournament to be staged across North America.

He says, though, that he is not here solely to win football matches, but to "fix what is broken". This includes Jamaica's availability of qualified coaches.

One of the reasons the JFF looked to Hallgrímsson is that there were not enough local coaching candidates who had the appropriate coaching badges or experience to guide the national team. This has long been an issue the JFF has sought to rectify with training courses to upgrade coaches at all levels of the game in Jamaica.

Now, Hallgrímsson, who with Lars Lagerbäck as a co-coach, guided Iceland to the 2016 European Championships, then the World Cup two years later, says fixing what is broken will require him to share his knowledge and experience he has gained over his career with Jamaican coaches.

"I hope this will be our philosophy, not my philosophy. I hope this will be Jamaica's philosophy," Hallgrímsson said during the press conference.

"One of the things I've learnt is, when we worked with a very experienced Swedish coach [Lagerbäck], twice, and I was his assistant, he left all of his knowledge in Iceland so I can carry that out and build on what I've learnt from him. So he didn't take his computer with all his notes and went, so I hope that I can do the same. Hopefully if we're successful, all the knowledge will stay in Jamaica. There will be no secrets how we do things and hopefully, we can work with all the coaches in Jamaica."

Swedish Coach John Erik Wall will join Hallgrímsson as his assistant coach, as will Merron Gordon who previously served in the same capacity under former Head Coach Theodore Whitmore. Icelander Guðmundur Hreiðarsson takes over from Warren Barrett as the team's goalkeeping coach.

It is not unusual for foreign coaches to use Jamaican assistants while in charge of the Reggae Boyz. René Simões, the Brazilian technical director who guided Jamaica to the World Cup in 1998, employed Carl Brown as his second in command, the head coach during his time.

Winfried Schäfer, who coached the Reggae Boyz to a runners-up spot at the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup, employed then Jamaica College Head Coach Miguel Coley as his assistant during his stint.

— Rachid Parchment

Rachid Parchment

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