Acting in bad faith?

1 week ago 5

DENNIS CHUNG, general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), says he is surprised that former Reggae Boyz head coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, is the new man in charge of the Republic of Ireland’s senior men’s programme. Chung revealed that Hallgrimsson, upon tendering his resignation on July 30, said he simply wanted a change of environment.

“Nothing was mentioned to us and it came as a surprise when we saw it in the papers that he actually went to another job. It came as a surprise to learn that he was negotiating the job for a while, as we were told that he just wanted a break from the Jamaican environment, as it wasn’t good for him,” said Chung.

Hallgrimsson, who was appointed as head coach in 2022, ended his tenure following a disappointing Copa America tournament which saw the Reggae Boyz finishing bottom of Group B without a victory after three games.

Chung suggested that while the federation was hoping the Icelander would finish his contract, there was a smoking gun when Hallgrimsson suggested that he wanted to return to Iceland and be in Jamaica only for matchdays.

“We are disappointed that he couldn’t carry through with everything, but there could have been signs that this was coming. In January, he did indicate that he wanted to return to Iceland and come to Jamaica for the games. However, we didn’t expect that it was because of another job that was being negotiated. We had a contract up until the 2026 World Cup, so, now that this news has surfaced, a lot of things now make sense,” the general secretary explained.

Hallgrimsson’s appointment, according to reports, ends an eight-month search for the team ranked 60th in the FIFA rankings.

Upon his appointment, Hallgrimsson explained to reporters that he’s ‘excited’ about his new project.

“We have a young and exciting team that has genuine potential. I am looking forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performances and results, ensuring we qualify and compete at major tournaments on a regular basis,” said Hallgrimsson.

According to Chung, the JFF is in dialogue with a number of coaches around the world who are eager to fill the void.

“We have to roll with the punches. The truth is, we have a lot of candidates who have expressed interest in the job, about 25 from the last count, and this is from around the world. We do have a good programme and I think we’ll sort that out in short order,” said Chung.

And the JFF general secretary has given a timeline for that ‘short order’.

“By August we’ll have a coach.”

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com

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