Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has expressed satisfaction with the team’s overall performance in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against World Cup-bound Cameroon on Wednesday.

Neither team fielded full-strength units for the international friendly, but the competitive fixture, in front of a vociferous crowd at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, was a fiercely contested affair.

Despite looking less potent as an attacking unit, a defensively solid Jamaica took the lead through Justin McMaster in the 60th minute.  The Cameroonians, however, managed to eventually get back on level footing after substitute Djawal Kaiba’s deflected long-range effort flew over the head of Jahmali Waite and into the net, in the 76th minute.

Despite losing the lead, Hallgrimsson believes the team, which consisted of many players based in Jamaica, put in a commendable performance, considering the limited preparation time.

“I think we are quite happy with the players. It was a good result for Jamaica; playing early in the season and a lot of players not having a lot of games under their belt and playing in a difficult environment, probably the biggest crowd most of the players have played in front of, with 40,000 people supporting the opponent.” Hallgrimsson said following the match.

“They were intimidating circumstances playing a World Cup team but I think we can be happy with the result.  I am happy with how professional the players were in the camp and how much they took in from what we were trying to teach them.  Overall, I think that we were really happy,” he added.

“For the game itself we need to improve a lot but that is understandable when these players haven’t played a lot together.”

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz coach Heimir Hallgrímsson is expecting a highly competitive and difficult fixture against World Cup-bound Cameroon on Wednesday.

Both teams will field majority players from their individual country’s local leagues but with the global football showpiece on the horizon in the next two weeks, the Africans will have a strong incentive to put on a show for their home crowd.

In addition, Cameroon coach Rigobert Song has promised to fill the remaining World Cup squads with players from the encounter.

“We really don’t know much about Cameroon.  The national team that will be facing us, its local players it’s not the team that will be going to the World Cup but I can say for sure that league in Cameroon is really strong and I don’t have the calculations but I think it is much stronger than the league in Jamaica,” Hallgrímsson said ahead of the fixture.

“For the guys before the camp the Cameroon coach Rigobert Song said he would pick 3 players from this squad to go to the World Cup with him in Qatar.  So, they have a lot to fight for and a lot to show, so we will be facing a very motivated group of players tomorrow.”

The match will be the second in charge for Hallgrimson who made his debut in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina after taking charge of the team in October.

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes a 3-0 scoreline might have flattered Argentina, insisting his team was made to pay for a loss in concentration in the defeat at the Red Bull stadium on Tuesday.

Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi came off the bench to score twice as the Albiceleste, who, in truth, looked comfortable despite holding a slim 1-0 lead, blew the game wide open in the last 10 minutes.

By the time the world-famous number 10 entered the fray, in the 56th minute, Argentina were already 1-0 up courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s tidy finish in the 13th minute. from there they had struggled to find real goalscoring momentum, that is until Messi entered the pitch.

After stinging the palms of Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake with an early attempt, the forward made no mistake blasting his shot well to the left of the keeper, when he got another opportunity, to double the lead in the 86th minute.  However, sloppy play in midfield led to the dangerous player taking possession at the edge of the area.

Three minutes later, there was real anxiety when the wily forward was brought down just at the top of the 18-yard box.  Those concerns were proven valid when Messi picked himself up and scored the resulting free-kick.  Again the Jamaicans might well feel dissatisfied with their defensive play, as Messi found space through a somewhat disheveled wall to beat Blake again.  The match was the first for Hallgrimsson and he believes despite the errors they were a few positives.

“We lost 3-0 and you are never happy to lose.  Three, zero is a big number but I don’t think it reflects the game on a whole,” Hallgrimsson said.

“It does not reflect the performance of our players, I think we showed an excellent team performance for 80 minutes and we lost a little focus in possession that led to the first and the second goal and then from that lost more focus for the third goal and that cannot happen,” he added.

“Those were the negatives from the match.  We kept them from creating goal-scoring chances, more or less, until the 80th minute.  After 10 minutes we were finding our feet but after that, we were comfortable with how we played our defensive game.”

Reggae Boyz central defender Damion Lowe said the team is in good spirits and looking forward to their friendly against two-time world champions Argentina in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson is hoping to conduct a valuable assessment during the team’s upcoming friendly international against Argentina.

The Reggae Boyz and the Albiceleste, led by football superstar Lionel Messi, will lock horns at the Red Bulls Stadium in New York, on Tuesday, for the fourth time in history.  Hallgrímsson, who officially took charge of the team last week, admits the former world champions are a difficult prospect to face on his debut but hopes to gleam some valuable insights.

“It going to be a good contest and at least we’ll know where we stand and what we need to improve," Hallgrímsson said.

“For me, it’s a time to learn, a time to observe, time to evaluate.  Then after this camp, we can see what we need to change if we need to change anything.  Find out what is working and what is not working.”

In three matches Jamaica has not managed to secure a result against Argentina losing all three matches that the teams have played.

 

Newly appointed Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes his first order of business is to develop a national philosophy on how Jamaican wants to play football.

Goalkeeper Andre Blake has been added to the Reggae Boyz squad selected to play Argentina on September 27.

The 31-year-old Reggae Boyz’s captain exclusion from the squad had prompted speculation that the players’ remarks on social media suggesting that the hiring of a new coach would change nothing for the current administration.

Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was on Friday introduced as the new head coach of the Jamaica National Senior team in what Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts described as a game-changing event.

Having signed a four-year contract, the 55-year-old dentist who guided Iceland to FIFA World Cup qualification in 2018 has been tasked with aiding the development of Jamaica’s football and qualifying for the 2026 World Cup that will be held jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Ricketts described the signing of Coach Hallgrimsson as the ushering in of a new era that will see the controversy-plagued administration change direction.

“The federation has been making important internal changes that will position the federation to fully support what we will announce today as well as a number of other national activities,” he said during the press conference to announce the new coach at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Friday afternoon.

“The changes I will not speak about too much except to say that the call to action for optimism is based on efforts that we will all make effective immediately. On behalf of the Jamaica Football Federation, I wish to formally announce that Mr Heimir Hallgrimsson has accepted the offer of the JFF to become the head coach of the senior men’s national team for a period of four years.”

Declaring that he chose to take the Jamaica project because of the great potential for success, Hallgrimsson was under no illusions regarding to the magnitude of the undertaking.

“When I was looking for projects to coach, I was really selective. It was not about money, it was about the project and for me, it was a perfect match to come now to Jamaica and to try to fix what is broken, obviously, there are some obstacles we have to cross and we have to improve some big things but for me, it was a perfect match. I see so much potential here and if I compare this one to the Icelandic project I think the potential is much more than in Iceland,” he said.

That said, Hallgrimsson is also aware that he does not have much time to right the many wrongs of Jamaica’s football.

“We have a year until we start playoffs (World Cup qualification) the group stage of the World Cup so we have to start quickly and try to stabilize the Jamaica national team. The second job is assisting in the improvement of football here in Jamaica through coaching education of elite players and we are happy to be a part of an assist in that,” he said.

“While going this, we all know that in every match there is pressure to win. There is an expectation to win and no coach will survive in his job without winning football matches. So two different things, first to develop talent and the second to improve the national team and I think both of these projects can support each other.”

To do that, Hallgrimsson will bring with him two other coaches, who he believes will be assets to his plans.

“I will bring two coaches with me. One assistant his name is John Wall. He is a teacher, has a BA in Sports Science, coached at many levels in Sweden. He was a tactical coach for the Finnish national team. He is good in player development and really useful in the transition getting local players to a higher standard and eventually and hopefully to the national team,” he said.

“The other staff member I will bring with me is Gudmundur Hreidarsson. He will be our goalkeeper coach. I worked with him for seven years in the national team. All the years I was there he was the goalkeeper coach. He is, in my opinion, one of the best ones I’ve seen. He has the highest education possible for goalkeeper coaches in Europe, very experienced.”

Hallgrimsson’s first test will be against Argentina in less than two weeks and he believes that the encounter against the number-four ranked team in the world will be a blessing in disguise.

 “It’s a great opportunity because they will expose all of our weaknesses, especially defensive weaknesses,” he said.

“Probably, we will be defending more or less, most of the game so it’s really a good chance to see how are when we compare to the best in the world.”

 

 

 

 

Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrimsson is expected to be announced as the new head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz later this week, according to reports.

The 55-year-old Hallgrimsson, who is also a dentist, was most recently head coach at Qatari League Club Al Arabi from 2018 to 2021.

Before then, he was then man at the helm for his native Iceland from 2013-2018. His biggest achievement was leading Iceland to the quarterfinals at Euro 2016 in France, including a 2-1 win over England in the Round of 16.

Hallgrimsson also led Iceland to their first ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 2018 in Russia.

He will take over from former interim head coach Paul Hall who had a record of two wins, three draws and five losses in 10 games since his appointment in December 2021.

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