Local coaches weigh in on appointment of Paul Hall to Boyz set-upSunday, June 20, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
There has been guarded optimism to the hiring of former Reggae Boy Paul Hall to join Coach Theodore Whitmore's coaching staff as the Jamaica senior men's team gets ready for what is expected to be a hectic second half of the year.
The team, that recently played two international friendlies in Japan, will take part in the Concacaf Gold Cup set to start in a few weeks' time, and the final round of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in September.
The 48-year-old Hall, who was one of the pioneering English-based players representing Jamaica and played a big part in the team's historic qualification to the 1998 World Cup in France, has been involved in coaching since he ended his professiuonal playing career.
He has served as an Under-23 coach at English Championship side Queens Park Rangers since 2014, after starting his coaching career in 2009 at the Coventry City Academy.
A few Jamaican coaches declined to respond to the Jamaica Observer's questions regarding the appointment, saying they were not familiar with Hall's work as a coach. There are others who also echoed similar sentiments, but said they supported his hiring.
Andrew Price, the coach of Humble Lions and assistant coach of the Reggae Girlz, had a ringing endorsement for the hiring of Hall.
“I am happy that Paul Hall has decided to join the national senior men's programme, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, especially from his days as a player and a coach in the UK, and he will give much added value to the Theodore Whitmore-led technical staff.
“I am definitely all for his involvement in the programme and I am sure it will help us, especially with his connection with the UK-based players, and I believe he and Whitmore can form a very good alliance that can only help Jamaica in their quest to get to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022,” he said.
Vassell Reynolds, the technical director at Manchester High and who has had extensive experience as a Premier League coach, said: “Clearly, Coach Whitmore went for someone where synergy will be easily attained...a factor that is major in team coaching and is very necessary at this crucial time of the programme.”
“The fact that Paul would have played with Whitmore and both still maintain a close relationship, from a football perspective, I do believe the selection is a plus. Coach Hall is expected to bring to the table his international experience, both as a player and a coach. I also feel he will bring some amount of professionalism to the team. Like all Jamaicans, I expect a positive contribution, and hopefully, [it will] bring success to our immediate aim of qualifying for the next World Cup,” he said.
Dr Dean Weatherly, who won Premier League titles with Violet Kickers and Montego Bay United, thinks the hiring makes sense.
“It's a good addition to the staff at that high-end level,” he said, while admitting he did not know Hall's record as a coach. “I know about him as player, but not too much as a coach, but he has been there and done that in terms of qualifying for a World Cup with Jamaica,” Weatherly added.
Weatherly, who also served in several capacities on national junior teams, said Hall's background will be beneficial.
“He will have a good understanding of the English-based players and will understand them and how they think even better than Whitmore. As a matter of fact, it is an excellent addition as Whitmore now has another person on the bench who he can go to for ideas,” he reasoned.
Donovan Duckie, who will take over the Vere United team this season and who has also coached at the national level, said: “I honestly don't know what to say about the appointment, but I will say the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) must know what they are doing at this stage of the preparation.
“Hall played with Whitmore as a player and also went on to coach at youth levels, so he would have some level of experience. But, at the end of the day, the head coach would have had his say re who he's comfortable with.”
Calvert Fitzgerald, who has had extensive coaching experience at the Premier League level, told the Observer he thinks pairing Hall with Whitmore is “a good idea”.
“I always thought we needed two or three more coaches and it's also good as we are attracting a lot of English-based players and he would make a good fit with them,” he noted.
Fitzgerald said the present coaching set up needed help.
“It has been Jerome Waite and Tappa for a long time and with more eyes, they can split up the workload, so I think it's a good idea and it will only enhance the programme,” he said.
Tivoli Gardens Coach Phillip Williams said, “It's difficult to comment on the appointment, when one does not know the criteria that was met for his selection.”
“One can only hope that the relative success and advancement that was made over the last couple of years will be built on with his inclusion, which I think is the aim of the JFF,” Williams stated.