Former Assistant Coach Donaldson seen as front-runner to take charge of Girlz
DONALDSON...seen as a front-runner to take over Reggae Girlz reins (Photo: Observer file)
Race on to find ‘suitable’ replacement after embattled Blaine officially resigns

With the Concacaf Women’s Championship fast approaching, experts believe familiarity should be a key component for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to consider when selecting a potential candidate to fill the vacant senior Reggae Girlz head coach position.

This after Vinimore “Vin” Blaine officially tendered his resignation to the country’s governing football body on Tuesday, which has now left them in a race against time to find a suitable replacement.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz are drawn in Group A alongside World champions United States, hosts Mexico and Caribbean neighbours Haiti for the July 4-18 tournament in Monterrey.

MENZIES...led Girlz on historic qualification for World Cup in 2019

The Jamaica Observer understands that Lorne Donaldson who, along with Hue Menzies, led the Girlz to a historic Fifa Women’s World Cup appearance in France, headlines the list of candidates currently being looked at to succeed the veteran tactician.

When reached Tuesday, Donaldson refused to comment.

While confirming that the search for a new coach is underway, General Secretary Dalton Wint was reluctant to say who were some of the candidates in their line of sight.

“The programme has to continue, [but] it is at a delicate state right now and so we need to quickly replace Mr Blaine. What we want to do is get the best coach that is available that can handle the situation.

“We have constantly received interest. So it’s just getting through the list and selecting the most suitable one,” Wint told the Jamaica Observer, adding that his organisation is hoping to complete the process within a week.

DONALDSON...former assistant coach of Reggae Girlz (Photos: Observer file)

“Like I said, we have people who have always had an interest in the programme, so it’s just for us to see if we can connect the skill of the most suitable candidate to the team and we are hoping to do that within a week or so,” he said.

Publicist Carole Beckford believes the American-based Donaldson and Menzies should be considered to once again lead the charge as the Girlz hunt a second-consecutive qualification to the global showpiece.

“Hue Menzies and Lorne Donaldson are best placed to manage/coach the Reggae Girlz,” she declared.

STEWART...the person has to be able to settle everybody down, including the JFF

While admitting that familiarity is a significant factor, veteran football administrator Carvel Stewart believes it will require more than that to briskly get the team in a positive frame of mind.

“It has to be someone who can pull everybody together, because clearly there is some disunity in terms of the effort that was made to dislodge the coach,” Stewart said.

He also argued that the JFF will have to provide the necessary support to the team with sufficient practice games under simulated conditions that will help them to concentrate for the Games ahead.

“So, the person has to be able to settle everybody down, including the JFF, and get the JFF fully on board to put all the requirements in place and take the pressure off the players who are now being thrust into the limelight as having dismissed a coach and therefore are competent to do so again.

“Familiarity would help, but even with familiarity the coach would have to be the kind of leader that is going to be able to pull people out of a negative situation into a positive one and, as I said, have the full support of the JFF as that is happening,” Stewart noted.

BLAINE...handed in resignation on Tuesday

Blaine’s decision to step away from the programme came even after gaining the JFF’s confidence in the saga, in which 20 players signed a two-page letter calling for his removal.

In the letter which came to the fore just over two weeks ago, 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 find 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 spurred by outside forces.

The JFF board in its 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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