Haves and have nots - Simoes blames feud for early 98 World Cup exit
Former national Technical Director Rene Simoes has blamed 'the haves and the have nots" syndrome as the reason for the Reggae Boyz not advancing from the group stage of World Cup 98.
The Brazilian told STAR Sports that a rift had developed in the camp because of a documentary showing the contrasting lifestyles between local and English-based players in the team.
In this 'Channel 4' feature, English-based players such as Paul Hall, Fitzroy Simpson, Robbie Earle, Darryl Powell and Frank Sinclair were presented as having a higher standard of living because of the way they dressed and the expensive sports cars they drove.
"There was a documentary from Channel 4 in England that shows the English based players as rich, smart and showed the local players as very poor and incapable. This destroyed the group the night before the first game (against Croatia)," Simoes said.
"That group was very, very strong and it could reach the second round. I was 100 per cent sure that they could reach, but this documentary destroyed the harmony between them."
Simoes was sceptical about whether the team being able to see the programme was a coincidence.
"This was the night before the game," he said. "It was unbelievable because of all hotels (the teams) stayed, only that hotel had Channel 4."
Jamaica's goal in the game the following day came from a cross by local-based Ricardo Gardner, which was headed in by English-based Robbie Earle, but Simoes said that this didn’t do much to unify the team.
"Against Argentina (the next match), the local players wouldn't cover the English-based players. We finished that game 5-0 and we had a meeting where I presented the situation."
However, he said that after reminding them that each player is playing for the other, a trip to Disneyland Paris aided them in their 2-1 win over Japan.
"In 98, the base was the local players and they were for four years together," Simoes said.
"The structure and the character of the team was there. Players (such) as Paul Hall, Deon Burton and Fitzroy Simpson came in the beginning, then there was Robbie Earle and others. They couldn't destroy the spirit of the team, not because they are bad guys but because they have a different way of life."