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No hard feelings - Donaldson says naming World Cup squad was tough for Reggae Girlz coaching staff

Published:Thursday | May 23, 2019 | 12:26 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Allyson Swaby defends against teammate Khadija Shaw (right) during a Jamaica senior women’s football team training session at the National Stadium on Monday, May 13.

National senior women’s football team assistant coach, Lorne Donaldson, said that naming the final squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next month, and leaving out some of the players that played a very important role in their qualification, was very difficult for the coaching staff.

The Reggae Girlz named 22 of the 23 players they will be taking to the showpiece event, which kicks off on June 7, and Donaldson said that the coaches wanted the best possible squad for their first Women’s World Cup appearance.

“We looked at the persons and the contribution they have made, and what they can do in the future. There will be mistakes that people will not agree with, but it was a very difficult decision,” Donaldson said on Hitz 92 FM’s Girls’ Sports Club yesterday.

Very Difficult

“As coaches, how do you tell your daughters that they can’t make it? We have been through war with some of these players, and at the end, when a big thing like a World Cup presents itself and they are not chosen, it’s very difficult. But that’s why coaches coach. There are tough decisions we have to make, and it’s nothing personal against the players, but somebody will be left out and even the player selected feels sad for those players left out. But we talked with them and hopefully there are no hard feelings.”

The Hue Menzies-led coaching staff excluded Christina Chung, Giselle Washington, Shanise Foster, and Jadyn Matthews. These are key members of the Concacaf Championship team that secured World Cup qualification, while leaving one slot open after they announced 22 of the 23 players that will be submitted for tomorrow’s deadline.

Donaldson said that Havana Solaun, the player still awaiting FIFA clearance, is a quality player they believe can have a major influence on the team.

“There are players and there are special players for positions we need, and she fills one of those roles. In the Number 10 role, we need somebody to play behind (Khadija) ‘Bunny’ Shaw that can do that very well. She’s a quarter-back or a point-guard. She’s a top player we need in the middle to pull the strings and set the tone, and she brings that. So of all the positions, that is the one we are lacking, and that is why we want to wait,” he explained.