I need to hit the ground running – Lorne Donaldson
Lorne Donaldson, who was confirmed as the new Reggae Girlz head coach yesterday, said if the right players are available to him, he is confident the team can do well at the Concacaf Women's Championship.
Donaldson, assistant to Hue Menzies during the Girlz's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign which culminated in France in 2019, is back for his second stint as head coach. He briefly succeeded Menzies in 2020, before walking away because of what he cited as unprofessionalism by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
He comes in at a time when the Reggae Girlz were desperately in need of a coach, with the tournament taking place in Mexico from July 4-18, after previous coach Vin Blaine resigned two weeks ago, following a letter signed to JFF president Michael Ricketts by 19 members of the squad questioning his competence.
Although Donaldson is largely familiar with the squad, he said having them all at his disposal for selection would be the best thing.
"In a few days I will know exactly what pieces we have when we start contacting the girls and start putting everything together," he said.
"But I do not know exactly what pieces I have as yet, so we will have to wait to get the pieces and then put the puzzle together.
"If the right pieces are there, I think we can go in with a lot of confidence that we can play some good football."
The Reggae Girlz have been grouped with World champions USA, the hosts Mexico, and Haiti, and are required to finish in the top two in the group to book a place at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.
Donaldson says that he hopes the JFF already has some things in place to kick-start the programme.
"It is a very short time [to prepare], so the girls have to start working on their fitness right away and we have to get a camp in place," he said.
"Obviously, it will take some time to get all that going, but if the federation has something in place, I can look at it and see what would work best in terms of where we are going."
The third-place teams in each group will still have a chance to qualify for the World Cup via the inter-confederation play-offs.
The tournament winners will qualify for the Olympics and the 2024 Concacaf Women's Gold Cup. While second and third-place will advance to the Concacaf Olympic play-off.