Boyz Coach Hallgrímsson welcomes challenge to learn Jamaican culture
HALLGRIMSSON...I’m jumping, again, into unknown territory (Photo: Observer file)

NATIONAL senior men's football team Head Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson says he relishes the opportunity of pushing himself in an unfamiliar culture during his stint in Jamaica.

Hallgrímsson, who was appointed head coach in September, came to Jamaica to reside on a permanent basis as he gets the Reggae Boyz ready for the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign.

While he has the experience of taking Iceland to the World Cup in 2018 and then coaching at Al-Arabi in Doha, Qatar, he has never worked in this region nor with such limited resources available to him.

But Hallgrímsson is unfazed by this. He says he is aware that he has to educate himself about his environment before he can expect to pass on his footballing philosophies to his players.

HALLGRIMSSON... I hope I can put a mark on Jamaican football (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

"I'm jumping, again, into unknown territory," he said. "From Iceland I went to Qatar — to a new religion, a new way of thinking, new culture. I learned there that [it] was me that needed to adjust to this new environment so I know now I need to start to learn the environment before I start to tell people what to do.

"So just what are the limits? How you talk to people, and how you learn from the people around you — that is always the first step. Before you start to take charge you have to learn about your students and your teammates, and your superiors. That is what I'm trying to do here."

Hallgrímsson says he was sold on the idea of working in Jamaica because it presented the prospect of transforming the nation's football and creating his own legacy here.

"It was the opportunity to do good," he said when asked why he accepted the Jamaica Football Federation's offer. "It's such unlimited talent here. I think the player pool is so deep and I know it will be tricky to find the 23 players, and the 11 players to start in the end. That will be my hardest task. So, the opportunity to try to get my philosophy into this crop of players (hopefully), in the past from my experience, I hope I can put a mark on Jamaican football."

Hallgrímsson's next task is against hosts Mexico in their final League A, Group A of the Concacaf Nations League on March 26. The winner of the group automatically qualifies for the Concacaf Gold Cup this summer. Jamaica occupy first place on five points after three games, followed by Mexico on four after two games, and Suriname on one after three.

BY RACHID PARCHMENT Digital sports coordinator

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