With his coaching staff’s proposed plans for the April FIFA international match window hanging in the balance, senior Reggae Girlz Head Coach Lorne Donaldson says it would be a grave disappointment and a new low for Jamaica’s football should those plans fall through.
His comments come as the April 3-11 window is now fewer than two weeks away and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is yet to tie down negotiations with a potential opponent for a two-game series intended to take place in England.
For Donaldson, the fact that the upcoming window represents his last chance to possibly lock in his final squad for a second-consecutive appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand makes it of utmost importance.
The next window scheduled for July 10-18 is only a few days away from the World Cup kick-off which is scheduled for July 20, with the final set for August 20.
“The coaching staff’s plan is there, but the JFF is just sorting out their own finances, so all we can do is just wait until they make a decision,” Donaldson told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
“If it falls through and there is no plan in place, we just won’t use the window because anything we attempt is going to take money, so if we don’t get the game(s), then we would pass up another window which would be our second one, but hopefully they can sort it out,” he added, while referring to the October 2022 window, which they also sat out.
When contacted, JFF President Michael Ricketts confirmed that the governing football body is having challenges securing a fixture. This, he said, is largely due to satisfying potential opponents where arrangements are concerned.
“I think we were having discussions with Cameroon [and] those did not materialise, so our agent Winston [Clarke] was looking elsewhere,” Ricketts revealed.
“In fact, just not too long ago, Cedella [Marley] and I had a conversation which we will conclude tomorrow morning (today) and this certainly will tie up some loose ends with regards to possibly having a camp in Amsterdam, leading to the World Cup.
“But for the April window, the other party was not 100 per cent satisfied with the arrangements, but we are actively looking for a game,” said Ricketts.
Now pressed for time with the window now just about 13 days away, Ricketts admitted that the possibility of something materialising is looking dim.
“At this late stage, it wouldn’t be more than 50 per cent, to be honest, but we are not giving up, and like I said, Winston is here and I left him and the general secretary in a meeting trying to tie down something for the April window. So I am just waiting on them to conclude those discussions later this afternoon,” Ricketts noted.
That didn’t sit well with Donaldson, who pointed out that the aim at this crucial juncture was to enhance the cohesiveness of the unit. The Girlz are drawn in Group F alongside France, Brazil and Panama for the global showpiece.
“This window was expected to take us a little bit closer to what we want to achieve. So if we don’t play, I can’t even imagine it, but it would be a major disappointment, but I am trying to remain positive that hopefully we can get it done,” Donaldson shared.
“If we don’t get this window, we would have to figure out what we are going to do; obviously we would have to start getting the Girlz together some time at the end of May or mid-June to start getting some stuff done. But if Haiti can get two games during this window, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to tie down something,” the outspoken tactician ended.