Brazilian Rene Simoes was sacked as manager of Jamaica after the Reggae Boyz lost their second successive 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying match. Two defeats in four days proved too much for the Jamaica Football Federation.
"The Jamaica Football Federation would like to formally announce that it has severed ties with Technical Director of the country's football programme, Professor Rene Simoes, and his Brazilian staff with immediate effect," the federation said in a statement.
The federation is already looking for someone to fill the gap, with three matches remaining in the semi-final phase of qualifying in the North, Central America and Caribbean region.
"Having established clear objectives at the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign and evaluated the results thus far, it became clear to us as a body that our objectives were not being met," the JFF statement said. "Based on that, a decision was taken to part company with Professor Simoes and his staff at this time."
The Reggae Boyz were beaten 2-0 by Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday night, four days after being beaten 3-0 by Mexico at the Azteca. The back-to-back losses left the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in last place in the four-team Group 2 with one point from three games, the same as Canada but with a record of one goal for and six against.
The top two teams from each of three groups advance to the final round, from which three teams advance directly to South Africa 2010.
The 55 year-old Simoes was in his second stint as the coach of the Jamaican team after serving between 1994 and 2000. During his first spell, he led them to a spot in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, where they beat Japan 2-1 after losing 3-1 to Croatia and 5-0 to Argentina in their first-round group.
Simoes returned in January this year, replacing Bora Milutinovic, who was sacked by JFF president Horace Burrell. Simoes has also coached CONCACAF rivals Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras. Burrell, the ex-army Captain who heads the JFF told a radio sports talk show Thursday that it was a tough decision to fire his "very good friend".
"I could have allowed things to go on as they are, but honestly would not be performing my duties in the way that it is expected and to push Jamaica's football forward," he said.
Burrell was head of the JFF when Jamaica qualified for the World Cup in France under Simoes and was re-elected to the post of JFF head last November. He was optimistic that Jamaica, who failed to get past the first round in the last FIFA World Cup qualification series, can still advance and has not given up hopes of defying the odds and squeezing into the final round.
"We are not out, first of all, and we have three games at home (remaining in the semi-finals)," he said. "We are going to get re-energised and we are going to hope for good results." He said he expected to name a successor to Simoes within the coming week.