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Reggae Girlz dress rehearsal

Morocco friendly signals final stretch of World Cup prep

Published:Sunday | July 16, 2023 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter

Reggae Girl Drew Spence (right) tries to keep the ball away from teammate Kaylssa Van Zanten during a squad game at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex last month.
Reggae Girl Drew Spence (right) tries to keep the ball away from teammate Kaylssa Van Zanten during a squad game at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex last month.

Reggae Girlz head coach, Lorne Donaldson.
Reggae Girlz head coach, Lorne Donaldson.

AFTER WHAT he calls a successful camp in Amsterdam, national senior women’s head coach Lorne Donaldson says the focus is on being tactically prepared for when the real business starts.

Donaldson says he is also encouraged by the way the Reggae Girlz are pushing themselves as they enter the final stretch before the start of the Women’s World Cup.

The Reggae Girlz had a warm-up game early this morning Jamaica time against Morcoo at the BT Connor Reserve Stadium in Victoria, their first game since April as they fine-tuned their preparations for their World Cup Group F opener against France next Sunday.

With the team settled in Australia and going through its paces, Donaldson said he does not foresee any issues in adjusting to the cooler climate and is pleased with the way the team has taken to the technical aspects being looked at for the tournament.

“We got a lot out of Amsterdam. The training was good, the staff worked hard, and the players have adjusted to a lot of the stuff that we are trying to do. Australia is a little bit of an adjustment, but I think everybody now is adjusted to the conditions. A little bit colder than Amsterdam, but I don’t think that will be an issue,” Donaldson said.

“We are just waiting for the Morocco game to see what we have. Have a test run and then we will just move into the France game,” Donaldson had said yesterday.

For Donaldson, the goal of the Morocco game was to see how effective their approach would be against France.

“We are going to be putting a little bit of the tactical stuff that we will be working on for the France game. Obviously, we want to focus on ourselves and see what we have. We haven’t played a game in a long while, so the anxiety and the butterflies should be going on,” Donaldson said. “But once we settle down, I am looking for us to settle and put in a good 90 minutes.”

Mindful that things can change, Donaldson said what is critical is to control what they can do to be tactically prepared.

“The most important thing is to get the tactics right. And if we get the tactics right, we have to execute. We have to control what we can control getting the tactics right. But the players have to go and execute. So we are waiting to see how that will shape up,” Donaldson said.

What he has been encouraged by is how the team have been feeding off each other in training, with the veteran players taking the responsibility to help the younger talent along and the latter pushing themselves to be ready for the biggest opportunity of their lives.

“I saw some good signs where Khadija Shaw was taking a couple of the young strikers and working with them, doing some extra work after practice. This is a good sign, that people are maturing and that the team’s interest is the most important,” Donaldson said.