Donaldson says Cup of Nations a big boost ahead of World Cup
Jamaica's Drew Spence (right) tries to escape the attention of Paraguay's Rosa Mino during their second friendly international at the National Stadium recently. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Lorne Donaldson says his team will not travel to next year's Cup of Nations tournament in Australia as pushovers, especially as they seek to tie down technical and tactical aspects of their game ahead of the Fifa Women's World Cup.

Still yet to confirm their opponents, the Jamaica Observer understands that the Girlz could join a South American and European outfit, as well as the host nation, after the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) accepted an invitation to the 2023 edition of the tournament scheduled to take place in Sydney within the Fifa window, February 13-25.

Having used the last window to good effect for two games against Paraguay, Donaldson views the Cup of Nations as a major step in the right direction to further enhance preparations ahead of the July 20 to August 20 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"Going to Australia with the team is a big positive because it will give us a feel of the country and then there will be top-quality teams that we can play against.

"We already saw some stuff against Paraguay but this [tournament] will be a massive step-up in our preparations as we seek to fine-tune what it is we are trying to do," Donaldson told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Colorado.

"We don't know exactly who we are going to play as yet, but they [Australia] are one of the top teams with some very good players. The idea will be to be competitive, and above all, not to be pushovers, and so we will obviously be looking for a much better performance than what we saw in Jamaica," he added.

On that note, Donaldson pointed out that most of the players that will travel for this tournament are those he intends to take to the global showpiece and as such is expecting the team to start finding its identity.

"You cannot stress the importance of travelling as a group to Australia because we have a look at ourselves. I said it before, that when it got to this stage most of the players that we bring to camp will form the core of our World Cup squad and we haven't wavered from that," he noted.

"So we are possibly going to bring back some players that weren't available because they were playing college ball but are available now and ready to go. There are maybe two or three, including Jody Brown, so it's about getting those players back for us to blend and also up the tempo," the tactician explained.

Donaldson and his assistants Xavier Gilbert and Ak Lakhani are also aiming to make the most of the other two other Fifa windows in March and early July as part of their build-up.

The Girlz will be making their second-consecutive appearance at the World Cup, having debuted in 2019 in France. And like it was back then, they face a daunting Group F alongside France and Brazil, with their other opponent to come from February's Intercontinental play-offs.

"If we had the money like most countries we would try to do a camp in December or January with all the players who haven't played, it would be a great thing for us to wrap up assessments now," said Donaldson.

"The next two to three months is going to be very important because now we have to focus on all facets of our game — technical, tactical, and psychological. But I think a lot of the technical stuff will now come into play, in terms of how we want to approach it going into the World Cup.

"Are we flexible enough to switch formations and still have a good balance on the field. So those are some of the stuff we are going into the next camp looking at, our tactical formation playing against various teams," he ended.

DONALDSON...going to Australia with the team is a big positive
Sherdon Cowan

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