Departing Reggae Girlz head coach urges JFF to do more for Women's football

Departing Reggae Girlz head coach urges JFF to do more for Women's football

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, December 05, 2019

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In the midst of his departure as head coach of the senior Reggae Girlz team, Hue Menzies has once again urged the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to maintain the growth and development of women's football in the country.

Menzies, who took up the post of technical advisor of Jamaica's Women's football programmes in 2015 and expressed a level of passion about shaping the structure of the game in the island, believes the current JFF administration is ignorant to the growth of the women's game.

“We need to maintain our status on the world stage and it is going to take an administration that is willing, first to care about the female game, and secondly, willing to invest in the growth of the game.

“I want them to understand that Jamaica is a brand and they need to figure out business strategies on how to market and secure that brand globally. Don't be afraid to invest, Jamaica is more recognised globally than we can even imagine in the women's game. We have put them on the map with women's football and they need to sustain it,” Menzies said in a telephone interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

After five years of hard work and a few major accomplishments, one of which was leading the senior Reggae Girlz team to a historic Fifa Women's World Cup Finals appearance in France, he pointed out that his decision was based on the lack of professionalism as well as disrespect shown by the federation.

According to Menzies, the JFF has failed to make communication about his future with the programme, as well as unpaid wages and reimbursements.

The 55-year-old, who eased down from the role of adviser to head coach of the senior Reggae Girlz team, shortly after taking over the programme, believes he led the programme with distinction, despite a broken relationship with JFF, which has now led to his decision.

“I have not been communicated to by them for 60 days after I reached out to them several times. We (staff) have put a lot of time and investment into the game for the last five years without pay. The JFF gave us a contract that expired in August, so I would like for them to pay what is owed on the contract and then pay off the rest of my personal reimbursement from the World Cup,” Menzies told the Observer.

Meanwhile, JFF President Michael Ricketts said he could not comment on the development until official communication is received from Menzies.

“We, the JFF, have not gotten a letter of resignation from Coach Menzies so I would not want to comment. When a letter of resignation has been submitted, then a comment will be forthcoming,” Ricketts noted.

Menzies, an over 30-year veteran, was born in England and grew up in Jamaica before moving to the United States in 1980, where he essentially improved his football knowledge.

He along with assistant Lorne Donaldson and others have been critical in aiding the development of a number of locally-based players, one of whom is young forward Jody Brown, who continues to excel.

In an official statement yesterday, Menzies said he regrets having to leave the players, but pointed out that the decision was for the best, as the JFF has created an environment which makes it difficult for him to carry out his duties.

“The JFF has ceased communication with me which makes it impossible for me to carry out my duties as head coach. In addition, the JFF is presently in breach of their agreements, as they have not paid a single member of my entire coaching staff under the contracts they signed before the World Cup, yet somehow they found the funds to bring a large contingent of executives and back office personnel to France in June. In good conscience, I cannot help an organisation that asks my people to work under these conditions,” the statement read.

While expressing gratitude to the late Captain Horace Burrell and Cedella Marley, who invited him to be part of the country's programme, Menzies also praised his players and technical staff for a successful journey.

“We proudly celebrated the Caribbean Championship as well as being the very first Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup. Our players have played for, and graduated from colleges, and some have signed professional contracts, but most importantly, as a group, we have made the Jamaican nation proud on the world stage.

“My very special thanks go out to the players for their commitment and determination on and off the field in the face of crippling adversity and meagre resources. I thank my devoted staff for grinding tirelessly and without pay from day one,” he said, also sparing a thought for Minister of Sport Olivia Grange, sponsors and others for the incredible outpouring of love and support.

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