At least one senior Reggae Girl has welcomed news that the process to find a replacement coach is well advanced, and hopes plans for preparation camps for the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Championship will also be finalised in the same breath.
The player, who wished not to be identified, made the comments after Jamaica Observer sources revealed that Lorne Donaldson is set to be reappointed to lead their hunt for a second-consecutive Fifa Women’s World Cup appearance in Australia and New Zealand next year.
According to the source, who is 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.
When pressed for a comment, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts only confirmed that an official announcement would come today.
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 candidate, especially with the crucial July 4-18 Women’s Championship in Mexico fast approaching.
However, the Observer understands that Englishman Jonathan Morgan, who was also interviewed last week and found favour with the JFF technical committee, offered strong competition to Donaldson, but got an offer from Burnley Women’s team and, as a result, was declared a very late non-starter in the race for the Girlz top job.
A Trinidad and Tobago coach was also said to have been interviewed, but failed to woo the technical committee.
Once confirmed, 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 hierarchy.
Still, the tactician at the time of his leaving expressed that he still had the players’ best interests at heart.
When contacted on Tuesday, Donaldson, a former national representative, declined to comment, as he was yet to be contacted by the JFF.
Meanwhile, the Reggae Girl, who played under Donaldson as a member of the historic World Cup outfit, said she would have no issues with his reappointment.
“He is a good coach and so I don’t have a problem with him being appointed. What is more important for me is that whoever comes does what is needed and actually cares about us,” the player said.
“Once that is done, then I am good with that. Camps should be two weeks from now and we are yet to hear anything about that, so hopefully that can be sorted as well,” she added.
The 51st-ranked Jamaicans are drawn in Group A alongside World champions United States, hosts Mexico and Caribbean neighbours Haiti for the Women’s Championship in Monterrey.
Blaine, who was reappointed in December following Hubert Busby’s suspension, 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.