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Ex-England star Barnes to manage Jamaica

SoccerNews in English Premier League, World Cup 17 Sep 2008

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Former Liverpool and England star John Barnes was named Wednesday as the new manager of Jamaica.

The move comes after the dismissal of Brazilian Rene Simoes as the Jamaica Football Federation's technical director as a result of the team losing two World Cup qualifiers in four days — against Mexico and Honduras.

Barnes, born in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, is due to take up his new role in November after signing a one-year contract.

It will be the 44-year-old's first management post since a brief and ill-fated spell as boss of Scottish giants Celtic in 1999/2000.

Barnes lived in Jamaica until he was a teenager when his father, who was in the armed forces, got posted to England.

He made his name in English football at Watford, under future England manager Graham Taylor, before signing for Liverpool, where he won two league titles. His playing career ended with spells at Newcastle and Charlton.

Jamaica's two recent defeats have left the 'ReggaeBoyz', who qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France, bottom of the four-team CONCACAF Group Two and struggling to get to the World Cup in South Africa in two years' time.

But Barnes' enthusiasm was undiminished by the task in front of him.

“This was an opportunity for me to get back into football at a coaching level, which I love doing,” he told Setanta Sports News.

“Managing Jamaica is not the same as managing England. But football is football, you've got to motivate your players, you've got to get them organised and to try and win football matches.”

Barnes added the revival in form of Central American nations was hurting teams such as Jamaica.

“If you look at the emergence of the Caribbean players who are coming to England and Europe, they have improved.

“What's going against the Caribbean teams is the re-emergence of the Central American teams, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. They went through a lull in the 1990s, which meant Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica came to the fore.”

Now Barnes hopes he can call on the significant number of Premier League players with Jamaican connections.

“We know about the Jamaican players – Ricardo Fuller, Ricardo Gardner, Luton Shelton, Marlon King.

“There are a lot of players here in England who we are aware of. The Jamaica players who play in England probably make up three quarters of the team.”

Barnes, together with Kenny Dalglish, took over the reigns at Celtic but was dismissed after a poor run of performances and a shock Scottish Cup defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

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