Girlz Coach Donaldson drops words of advice as he departs programme


Girlz Coach Donaldson drops words of advice as he departs programme

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Like Hue Menzies did upon his departure from the senior Reggae Girlz head coach post, his second in command Lorne Donaldson also left sound words of advice with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) administration to fix their mistakes and learn from them.

According to Donaldson that quiet introspection can be extremely valuable in helping the JFF to understand how to build on, and by extension, sustain the current success of the women's football programme in Jamaica.

Donaldson, who along with Menzies took over the female programme in 2015, with an aim to shape the structure of the female programmes in the island, did so for the most part.

The two, along with Xavier Gilbert and others along the way, have won the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-17 Championship, topped the Caribbean in Under-20 qualifiers, and, more significantly, saw the senior team to a historic Fifa Women's World Cup appearance in France last year.

“We did a lot of work within the last five years, some of it is work done behind the scenes that people don't know about, and we scraped and fought with these kids to get the programme to where it is now.

“We have a good pool of players on all our teams and I believe if nurtured properly, the future is bright for women's football in Jamaica. But the federation will have to do some reflection, correct their mistakes and take the programmes to the next level,” Donaldson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Donaldson, who had expressed little interest in taking up the Reggae Girlz head coach role after Menzies' departure in December, stood true to his word, as he declined the position due to the JFF's refusal to pay Menzies in full.

That resulted in Hubert Busby being assigned head coach duties for the team's Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifying campaign in the United States later this month. Andrew Price was named his assistant.

However, after noting that he still had an interest in leading the Under-20 programme, Donaldson took an about-turn and recently resigned from the entire programme.

The former national representative, who was named United Soccer Coaches' Association Youth Coach of the Year in 2017, seemingly had enough of the JFF's lack of professionalism.

“Like I said before, I can't do something that is not working. I mean, I am a professional, I love to do things that work and things that will have honest and capable people with integrity, so we can all work together. But what we had with the JFF was not a good working relationship because nobody wants to listen.

“I could no longer work with a federation that lacks integrity, is incompetent and unprofessional,” Donaldson told the Observer.

He continued: “You know the history of what I have done, five years free labour and four years without per diem. Head coach of U-17, U-20 and full national team and I've never lost a game to a CFU team.

“I've consistently worked with all three teams and many times cover my own expenses. So on my principle and integrity, I thought it was best to walk away.”

Finally, Donaldson said he still has the players across all three teams at heart and is optimistic that they will have successful campaigns.

“All the best to the Girlz in their respective qualifiers,” said Donaldson, a Kingston College alumnus and former Cavalier FC representative.

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