No time to waste – New Reggae Girlz coach
Donaldson cognizant of urgency ahead of World Cup qualifiers
NEWLY APPOINTED Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson said he is cognisant of the limited time before the start of the Concacaf Women’s Championship, which also serves as qualifiers to the World Cup and Olympics, in Mexico from July 4-18.
The Reggae Girlz have been without a coach for the last two weeks after previous coach Vin Blaine resigned following a letter to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, signed by squad members, complaining of coaching, communication, and organisational shortcomings.
Donaldson, who assisted Hue Menzies in the Reggae Girlz historic Women’s World Cup qualification in 2019, was also the head coach briefly in 2020, but he walked away after citing unprofessionalism of the JFF.
The former Cavalier player returns to the programme as a result of the federation’s frantic search to find Blaine’s replacement.
However, he is well aware of the constricted time available to get the team ready for the opening game against Mexico on July 4 and insists that the sooner they can get things off the ground, the better.
“There are still things to iron out, but in principle, it (deal) is confirmed,” he told The Gleaner.
“We want to see how soon we can get that done, but while we wait on that, we will be moving along.
“Even though we want to iron out some things with the JFF, I’m going to get moving right away as we speak. I want to hit the ground running because there is no time to waste. We have a job to do, and we just have to get it done.
“It is a very short time to prepare, so the girls have to start working on their fitness right away, and we have to get a camp in place.
“A longer period gives you more time to do more things, but a shorter period is like a sprint. We have to be efficient, we have to create a good environment and be positive that these girls can go in and do the job,” he said.
PUTTING TOGETHER A COMPETITIVE TEAM
He admits that his experience with the Girlz, many of whom he knows from his time with the programme, will come in handy.
However, putting a competitive team together for a tournament like this still requires meticulous planning and preparation, he said.
“In a few days I will know exactly what pieces we have when we start contacting the girls and start putting everything together.
“I do not know exactly what pieces I have as yet, so we will have to wait to get the pieces and then put the puzzle together.
“If the right pieces are there, I think we can go in with a lot of confidence that we can play some good football,” he stated.
He added that his motivation is to assist the Girlz achieve qualification and make the country proud once again.
“I will put all my eggs in one basket in trying to qualify. We just have to do our best.
“If we achieve qualification, it would be great for the country and great for the Girlz, but to achieve that we have a lot of work to do with only a short period [to prepare],” he said.
Jamaica has been placed in a tough group with world champions USA, host Mexico, and Haiti.
The top two teams from each of the two four team groups, will advance to the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The third-place teams in each group will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs.
The winners of the tournament will also qualify for the Olympics and the 2024 Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, while second and third-place will advance to the Concacaf Olympic playoff.