British Panamanian Gary Stempel will be the interim coach of Panama's national soccer team for the next friendly matches against Venezuela and Japan, said Pedro Chaluja, the president of the Panamanian Football Federation (FEPAFUT).
Chaluja told local TV channel TVN that the decision was made because "it is not up to us to appoint a coach for the next four years; we are not looking for a new coach. Those are lies on social networks looking for attention. We are going to leave in writing how is the experience of looking for one".
"Stempel will be the interim coach for the friendly matches. We need to have activity. Panama is valued and we cannot stop having activity. The new board of directors, which will be chosen next December, will appoint one for the next four years," he said.
Chaluja, veteran leader of the Panamanian five-time champion Arab United, said next September 7 Panama will receive Venezuela, then will face Japan on October 12, and in November "it is possible that another farewell match will take place".
After participating in the Russia 2018 World Cup, “we think it is wise to leave the federation structured, with its independent administrative team and the board of directors to supervise what is being done," he said.
"FIFA as well as Concacaf have reformed it. This is what we intend to do to avoid all those acts of corruption, to avoid television contracts that were given," the president said concerning the notorious FIFAGate case.
He pointed out "we are going to leave the federation well structured, to continue giving continuity to the work, to comply with the strategic plans and that all of us who are in soccer can know that this is found overnight."
"We know the people who come to contribute and those who want to take advantage. It has not been difficult to achieve, because we do not belong to any political party, even within the federation there are some active politicians and they have avoided mixing this with soccer because we have demanded it. Our soccer teams do not have any political announcement," he said.
Chaluja was categorical when affirming that "there they are not going to get the money, or take advantage, or lie. We will leave it well structured. There are 22 members of the federation and they are very concerned that things go well. It will be avoided."
He said there are candidates to replace him as Roberto Samuel, as well as Mateo Fábrega, a member of the federation, "but it is still very soon".
"The idea is to improve our soccer. Our league is our weakness, we cannot pretend that the federation builds stadiums, we do not have those resources, but we are managing with the government to plan more soccer fields and the league to continue growing," he said.
He acknowledged that players "complain a lot about the synthetic courts. We cannot have everything synthetic, there are a couple of school fields of natural grass. However, it is very difficult to participate in schools with professional leagues for behavior issues."
"Not only football, sports must be turned into an industry, we need an updated sports law, to acknowledge the professional athlete, to regulate sport, to pay for their insurance, to give them a reasonable legal framework," he said.