Well done, Mr Lorne Donaldson
DONALDSON...there was no discussion, none.(Photo: AFP)

Like most Jamaican football watchers we had hoped the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Mr Lorne Donaldson, outgoing coach of the national women's football squad, the Reggae Girlz, would have agreed a new contract.

But we can't say we are surprised that Friday's talks ended in failure.

Truthfully, relations between Mr Donaldson and his employers always seemed tense, at best.

Readers may well recall that Mr Donaldson, a former Jamaica player, was a key member of the coaching staff led by Mr Hue Menzies which guided the Reggae Girlz to their first FIFA World Cup appearance in France in 2019.

When Mr Menzies walked away in the aftermath of that tournament, Mr Donaldson led the coaching staff on an interim basis. But then he also left. At the time he alleged that the JFF executive had been unprofessional.

Mr Donaldson returned to guide Jamaica's women's programme in mid-2022. That followed a high-profile falling out between senior players and then coach, Mr Vin Blaine, which led to Mr Blaine's departure.

Mr Donaldson's explanation of his decision to return, apparently even before working out the finer details with the JFF, told us a little bit about him.

"…All I know is that the coach left and the players needed some help and they asked me to come in and help; so I decided to make myself available. For me, it's love for country and love for the players, that's all there is to it," he said at the time.

To say Mr Donaldson has had extraordinary success over the last 15 months is to understate the case.

We believe that by guiding the national team to the second round of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand Mr Donaldson achieved more than any other coach in the history of Jamaica's football.

It will be recalled that ahead of the tournament in mid-year, most analysts anticipated that the national team would have improved on their performance in 2019 — most probably with victory over Panama.

As it turned out, Jamaica not only defeated Panama 1-0 but stunningly held high-ranking France and Brazil to 0-0 draws — in the process eliminating the South Americans in the first round.

The Reggae Girlz — battling all the way — would eventually fall to Colombia 0-1 in the knock-out round.

As we said in this space at the time, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Jamaican performance at the 2023 World Cup was their tactical discipline. For that, Mr Donaldson and his support staff deserve the highest praise.

Jamaica's success at the World Cup meant there were inflated expectations by some regarding the team's recent two-way Olympic Games qualifying tie with Canada. It will be recalled that among the shock results at the World Cup was the elimination of the Canadians in the first round.

Canada are in fact the defending Olympic champions and among the powerhouses of international women's football. They have always dominated Jamaica.

In the circumstances, we think the Reggae Girlz did as well as should have been reasonably expected in going down 0-2 and 1-2 to the Canadians.

Overall, we believe Mr Donaldson should be applauded for excellence in the line of duty.

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