"We're not there yet": Reggae Girlz Head coach Donaldson pushing to get team better ahead of World Cup kickoff; hopes to upstage Group F favourites France or Brazil

By July 11, 2023
Lorne Donaldson Lorne Donaldson

The general belief in Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz camp is that they can progress beyond the group stages on this, their second-consecutive Fifa Women’s World Cup appearance.

In fact, Head coach Lorne Donaldson would readily declare that the possibility of his Reggae Girlz achieving the feat is by no means impossible. Still, he is under no illusion that defeating or merely taking points off the new-look, young and formidable Brazil outfit, as well as the well-organised and experienced France team, will be easy.

While their just-concluded camp in Amsterdam inspires confidence, as it assisted in fine-tuning certain technical and tactical aspects, Donaldson admits that the team is still not yet where he wants them to be with the July 20 to August 20 global showpiece in Australia and New Zealand, now nine days away.

“The camp was good; I wish we had a game which would have been the true test, but it was good, nonetheless. The players worked hard, and they seem very focused, but we're not there yet.

“We still have a few more days to go, so we start working on some of the tactical stuff and I the players are going in with a sense of purpose because they know what's at stake,” Donaldson told Sportsmax.tv shortly after arriving in Australia on Monday.

Since the start of their build up to the World Cup, Donaldson has stressed the importance of holding a tight defensive line, being very well organised and more effective when in possession, if they want to be competitive.

The 43rd-ranked Reggae Girlz will open Group F play on July 23 against the number five-ranked Les Bleues, which is now the centre of their focus.

“I think France is playing a game (against Australia on Friday), so we might get a look at what their starting squad is like and just see exactly how we want to approach the game and how we want to match up against them and just go from there. If we want to be competitive, we will need to defend, and be very well organised and when we have possession, we would like to be more effective,” Donaldson shared.

“So, we still have some tactical stuff to look at and work on. I think our players know that they have to show up and be ready to perform so that makes life a little bit easier sometimes, but yes, we have to hold them accountable for certain things especially tactical mistakes,” he added.

After France, the Girlz will then tackle 52nd-ranked Panama on July 29, before closing against 8th-ranked Brazil on August 2.

However, before all of that, they will engage on final preparation game against Morocco which Donaldson believes will serve them well to lock in their plan towards efficient execution Down Under.

“We will use that game to try some things, we will give as much players as possible some minutes because the aim is to improve the work that we're doing, and we saw some stuff that we need to clean up. So, we will use this game to do that and then look at some tape with the players to see how much more we can brush up on our execution,” the coach noted.

That said, Donaldson, who was an assistant to Hue Menzies when the Girlz were hammered 0-3, 0-5 and 1-4 by Brazil, Italy and Australia on their World Cup debut in France in 2019, said they have no intentions of going out in that manner on this occasion.

“We expect to do well and get something out of the tournament,” he declared.

“We are not going to come here to the World Cup to lay down, we are going to push to get some success. We are planning to get out of the group, whichever way we have to get it done, we intend to get it done. So, it's just a matter of how well we execute when it comes to the big day,” Donaldson ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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