Donaldson unhappy as late player arrivals slow preparations

SHERDON COWAN
In Trinidad
AT THE CONCACAF U-20
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP In Trinidad

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — With four more players joining the group early yesterday morning, Jamaica's Under-20 Reggae Girlz had a more lively session as they seem raring to go in the CONCACAF Women's Championship here.

But despite that, Head Coach Lorne Donaldson was still ruing the flight arrangements which continue to rob him of a session with his entire 20-player squad.

During yesterday's 90-minute session at the St Josephine Sports Complex, Donaldson took a holistic approach with attacking and defensive transitions, fitness, as well as set plays.

“So, again we have to fast-forward with everything because we don't have a lot of time to play, and I thought the transition part it was really good, and when we play we have a few ideas of how we want to attack Mexico. [But] we can't say it was successful until we execute it in the game,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Donaldson, while appreciative of the efforts made by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to get the team in early, felt the flight arrangements have been counterproductive.

“There will be no catching up for the players coming in, even the players that are here we are basically recovering because of the flight problems. We had to cancel a session this morning (yesterday) because some of the girls got in at two or three in the morning. So we wanted them to get some rest so we could come out and train this afternoon,” he noted.

He continued: “It is something that is recurring, and I don't know how we can fix it, because we want to get here early and train, but somehow we take flights that cause problems. I think we have to look at it from a football standpoint because it is not one time, it is all the time.

“Every trip that I have been on we got a late start because players are not here and we don't have a full squad.

“I don't know what it is, if it is a cost thing and we are trying to save money, but we end up spending more money because most times they miss their connection and there are direct flights coming in and you end up spending money for hotel and food and all of that.”

Donaldson's latest rant was due to the fact that a number of players, including midfielder Shayla Smart and strikers Jody Brown and Jada Pierre-Hylton were up to yesterday session still to arrive.

Defender Madiya Harriott arrived during the session, but was sent straight to the Hilton hotel, where the team is situated.

Meanwhile, Smart was scheduled to arrive last night, with Brown scheduled to arrive today and Pierre-Hylton arriving tomorrow when the team tackles Mexico.

“Again as it relates to the football part of it; it is very difficult for any coach, not just me, but any coach, and it is very difficult for the players.

“We had players spending two days in the airport not training and just waiting and not getting proper rest and proper nutrition, and that is two days wasted, and it also puts them behind.

“And so again I think it's a discussion we need to have and figure out how we are going to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible,” he ended.

After opening against Mexico, the young Reggae Girlz will square off against defending champions United States of America on Sunday, and close the group phase next Tuesday against Nicaragua. All games will be played at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals where the top three teams will qualify for the Women's Under-20 World Cup to be staged in France in August.

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