Sun | Jun 26, 2022

Donaldson faces challenge from Burnley coach for Reggae Girlz job

Published:Sunday | May 29, 2022 | 1:05 AMRobert Bailey - Gleaner Writer

THE SUNDAY Gleaner has been reliably informed that Burnley’s women’s coach, Jonathan Morgan, and former national assistant coach Lorne Donaldson, are the front runners for the Reggae Girlz head coaching job.

A source inside the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to do so, says Englishman Morgan is the likely choice and that his appointment could come as early as this week.

Before taking over as the head coach of Burnley this season, the vastly experienced Morgan was in charge of Leicester City Women’s team from 2014 to 2021 and had guided them to promotion in the previous campaign. However, he was fired by Leicester City last November after a disappointing start to their Women’s Super League campaign.

Donaldson is no stranger to the Reggae Girls set-up, as he, along with former head coach Hue Menzies, led the Girlz to a historic FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance in France in 2019.

He took over as interim coach in October 2019 after Menzies left the role, and guided the Reggae Girlz through the Caribbean leg of Olympic qualifiers in Jamaica. Donaldson was then offered the role permanently but declined it in January 2020, citing unprofessional behaviour by the JFF.

However, when contacted, Rudolph Speid, chairman of the JFF’s technical committee, said he would not be commenting on the matter, while several calls to the federation’s General Secretary Dalton Wint went unanswered.

BLAINE’S REPLACEMENT

Both coaches will be hoping to replace former coach Vin Blaine, who resigned from the post on May 17.

Blaine’s job came under scrutiny after 20 members of the Reggae Girlz squad signed a letter to JFF president Michael Ricketts demanding that he be replaced because of concerns regarding coaching, communication and organisation.

Blaine was reappointed in December last, following the suspension of Hubert Busby, who is under investigation by FIFA after allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled against him while in a previous coaching role.

During his time in charge, Blaine led the Girlz to four straight victories in Group C of the Concacaf Women’s Championship qualifiers, with the team scoring 24 goals and conceding just two.

Meanwhile, the 51st-ranked senior Reggae Girlz are drawn in Group A alongside World champions United States, hosts Mexico and Caribbean neighbours Haiti, for the July 4-18 Concacaf Women’s Championship in Monterrey. The Championship serves as qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com