Silence on Schäfer as Whitmore takes Charge of Jamaica
No English-based players picked for Caribbean Cup matches
Winfried Schäfer’s role as head coach of Jamaica appears over with Theodore Whitmore installed in his former role for next month’s Caribbean Cup ties. And ex-player Whitmore has made wholesale changes, axing both veterans and those based in England in favour of home-grown talent.
Veteran Schäfer was suspended by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) on 6 September, and since last Wednesday has been in severance pay-off negotiations with just under two years of his contract remaining. The JFF tried to tempt Carl Brown back as head coach of the Reggae Boyz for a fourth time, but after he refused they have turned to Whitmore on a temporary basis for these Caribbean Cup games. Jerome Waite will be his assistant.
The JFF have yet to divulge, despite requests for clarification, of the situation regarding Schäfer.
Captain Horace Burrell, JFF president, made initial contact with Brown to check his interest in the role and availability before making the JFF make a formal offer via email that was declined.
So Whitmore was approached and has taken temporary charge from Schäfer, who sent out defensive line-ups for last month’s back-to-back must-win World Cup qualifers but tasted a pair of 2-0 reversals.
The Boyz were very poor in Panama, and after the loss Schäfer objected to his assistant speaking to the media so he unplugged the TV company’s equipment. This resulted in Schäfer being suspended by the JFF and missing their home game against minnows Haiti.
It was Haiti who managed to bag their first goals in the group, their win leaving home fans irate at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Schäfer appears to be out of the equation for Jamaica ever again, and never proved to be a popular figure with fans.
He made such a stuttering start as head coach, after inheriting a leaky defence from Whitmore, that there were cries for him to go both before and during the 2014 Caribbean Cup in Montego Bay that the Boyz miraculously managed to win.
This success was due to being forced to revert to desperate new tactics by Schäfer of defending first and snatching goals on the counter-attack.
He then brought in as many English-based players as possible, who had a sprinkling of Jamaican heritage, to represent the Boyz. But his downfall was to overlook talent in Jamaica as well as refusing to alter his tactics that claimed the 2014 Caribbean Cup crown.
Whitmore has named the latest squad for the defence of the Caribbean Cup, and will be looking to produce a team that knits together for the first time since last year’s run to the Gold Cup final.
There is a dramatic new-look from Whitmore, who has brought in 10 additions from Schäfer’s last squad.
These comprise defensive trio Damion Lowe (Minnesota), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay) and Dicoy Williams (Arnett Gardens), midfielders Dwayne Ambursely (Montego Bay United), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United) and Andrew Vanzie (Humble Lion), with strikers Owayne Gordon (Indy Eleven), Darren Mattocks (Portland Timbers), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United) and Dino Williams (Montego Bay United) expected to end the goal drought.
These pair of Caribbean Cup matches next month against Suriname and Guyana respectively should not be tricky ties, and topping the three-team group means qualifying for the 2017 Caribbean Cup in the United States.
However, should Whitmore’s troops fail then dropping the likes of former captains Rodolph Austin, Adrian Mariappa and Wes Morgan will be viewed as the Boyz having shot themselves in the foot.
JAMAICA SQUAD: Dwayne Ambursely, Michael Binns, Cory Burke, Shaun Francis, Owayne Gordon, Ewan Grandison, Rosario Harriott, Omar Holness, Kemar Lawrence, Damion Lowe, Darren Mattocks, Dever Orgill, Alvas Powell, Ladale Ritchie, Ryan Thompson, Andrew Vanzie, Je-Vaughn Watson, Dicoy Williams, Dino Williams
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