While welcoming the upcoming Friendly International away to South Korea as a step in the right direction, Reggae Girlz Head Coach Lorne Donaldson sounded an early caution about travel arrangements to the East Asian country.
Donaldson and his 42nd-ranked World Cup-bound Reggae Girlz are set to tackle the 18th-ranked South Koreans in a official friendly on September 3. That will be followed by a closed-door encounter against the hosts, scheduled for September 6.
The friendly will be the first contest between the nations and the first for the Girlz since they historically qualified for back-to-back World Cups, following on the heels of France 2019.
South Korea have registered six wins and three stalemates in 11 fixtures so far this year.
Donaldson, who is well aware of the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF's) history of bungling travel arrangements, said he wants his players to get to South Korea in the best condition possible.
"It [the game] is not going to be easy, and we don't want it to be easy. We want to make sure that we are tested, so how we travel will be key," he said in reference to the long trip to the Far East.
"We don't want to do the Mickey Mouse stuff like before. We want to at least travel properly and get there properly. We don't want to go all around the world to get to South Korea, we want the most direct route possible," Donaldson declared.
"Yes, when we arrive the delegation will be tired, but at least we will be able to manage our recovery a little bit better if things are done efficiently," he added.
Donaldson believes getting the logistics right for this assignment could provide lessons for travel to the big show in Australia and New Zealand next year.
"Once we get this right we know that when we are to travel to Australia and New Zealand, we are going to be all right. So it's a case of, 'can we use this trip and learn from it?' So it's going to be a learning experience to make the adjustments, both on and off the pitch as we go along," the tactician told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Colorado, United States.
Donaldson said the travelling party is to include a few new additions and returning players — chief among them midfielder Giselle Washington, who has been absent from the programme as a result of injury since the 2018 qualifying campaign.
She will rejoin the core players as they seek to build chemistry, while others challenge for possible spots in the squad for the World Cup.
Jody Brown, Olufolasade Adamolekun, and Kalyssa Van Zanten are not expected to make the trip due to college obligations, while goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and Jayda Hylton-Pelaia are among those ruled out with injuries.
"Every game we play from here on is significant based on what we want to achieve heading to the World Cup. This is the first window and so we want to look at some new players because a lot of the college players won't go and we also have some injuries," Donaldson said.
"Basically, that's what we want to use at least three of the seven [match] windows to do, look at new players, so when we get to next year we will be sorted and focusing more on our chemistry ahead of the World Cup. So it's going to be significant for some of these players getting the chance to play against a very good opponent," the Girlz coach noted.
"People are trying to make the team so if you get a chance to show, you better be ready because we are trying to make the pool a little bit deeper," added Donaldson, who said that the technical staff's contracts are still being worked on.
— Sherdon Cowan