Donaldson to return as Reggae Girlz head coach

OBSERVER ONLINE has been reliably informed that Lorne Donaldson will be reappointed to lead the senior Reggae Girlz for the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Championship as they hunt a second-consecutive Fifa Women's World Cup qualification.

According to a source close to the decision-making process, the announcement naming Donaldson as successor to Vinimore "Vin" Blaine should come from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in short order.

Donaldson, who along with former head coach Hue Menzies and fellow assistant Andrew Price, led the Girlz to a historic World Cup appearance in France in 2019, was always favoured as the likely replacement, especially with the crucial July 4-18 Women’s Championship fast approaching.

The 51st-ranked Jamaicans are drawn in Group A alongside World champions the United States, host Mexico and Caribbean neighbour Haiti for the tournament in Monterrey.

This will be Donaldson's second time at the helm of the senior Reggae Girlz programme, as he took over as interim coach in October 2019 after Menzies' departure, and guided the Reggae Girlz through the Caribbean leg of Olympic qualifiers in Jamaica. However, after being asked to permanently occupy the position, Donaldson declined, citing unprofessional behaviour by the JFF.

It is understood that Englishman Jonathan Morgan was also interviewed last week and found favour with the JFF Technical Committee, but got an offer from Burnley Women’s team.

Blaine, who was reappointed in December following the suspension of Hubert Busby who is under investigation by Fifa for allegations of sexual misconduct in a previous coaching role, resigned from the post even after gaining the JFF’s confidence in the issue during which 20 players signed a two-page letter calling for his removal.

In the letter, which was at the centre of the controversy, the players cited, among other things a lack of confidence in the technical acumen and leadership style of Blaine and his assistants, which the players found to run counter to what is required to take them to the Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

The players criticised Blaine’s lack of communication and lack of professionalism, including the absence of daily schedules and absence of staff without explanation, and also slammed the staff’s tactical preparation and the absence of specific preparation before matches.

Blaine denied the allegations made by the players, who he believes were being influenced by external forces.

The JFF board, in their response to the controversy, accepted the recommendation of the technical and development committee to continue with Blaine and his staff, pointing to insufficient evidence to support the concerns expressed by players in their letter.

Sherdon Cowan

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