FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Jamaica began attempting to qualify for the World Cup finals in the 1966 cycle. Everything finally clicked in the run-up to France 1998. Brazilian manager Rene Simoes scoured the island’s most obscure corners and went overseas to find players of Jamaican descent or Jamaican-born players at professional clubs in England. Suddenly the stars aligned and Jamaica became the first English-speaking side from the Caribbean to reach a World Cup finals, edging out Costa Rica by two clear points and joining USA and Mexico in the French finals. Since those heady days, however, the magic formula has never been recreated, with the team even failing to reach the final round of qualifying for the 2006 and 2010 cycles. They reached the final round of qualifying ahead of Brazil 2014, only to finish dead last.
Jamaica are still a mixture of local-based youngsters and professionals based in England and Europe’s lesser leagues, with a few USA-based hopefuls in the mix as well. Adrian Mariappa of Crystal Palace anchors the rearguard along with Houston Dynamo's Jermaine Taylor. Dane Richards of MLS side New York Red Bulls adds a spark of pace in midfield, while up front the Reggae Boyz are still looking for a suitable replacement for the retired Luton Shelton with Vancouver Whitecaps' Darren Mattocks, Valerenga's Deshorn Brown and Houston Dynamo's Giles Barnes all potential candidates.
Jamaica are coached by German-born globetrotter Winfried Schafer, who arrived on the Caribbean island with the stated goal of bringing organisation back to the Boyz and restoring the side to its former glory. A midfielder in his playing days, Schafer has coached in Europe, Africa, Asia and now the Caribbean and is known for a no-nonsense approach to the game.
6 – The number of times Jamaica have won the Caribbean Cup, best among all competitors. Their latest win, in 2014, qualified them for the Copa America (South America’s continental showpiece) as an invited team.
The former stars
Robbie Earle, Theodore Whitmore, Onandi Lowe, Luton Shelton