The Jamaica Football Federation: A View From The Sidelines

L. Bronson

KINGSTON, Jamaica – We would think it prudent that in short order this present Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) administration led by Michael Ricketts should retreat and engage in serious introspection on its way of doing the business of Jamaica football.

We say this because as Hue Menzies did upon his recent acrimonious departure from the senior Reggae Girlz Head Coach position, his assistant Lorne Donaldson has also fired words of advice to his employers, which we believe they should review and embrace if deemed appropriate.

Said Menzies in his genuine advice to the JFF leadership. “We need to maintain our status on the world stage and it is going to take an administration that is willing, first to care about the female game, and secondly, willing to invest in the growth of the game.​

“I want them to understand that Jamaica is a brand and they need to figure out business strategies on how to market and secure that brand globally. Don’t be afraid to invest, Jamaica is more recognized globally than we can even imagine in the women’s game. We have put them on the map with women’s football and they need to sustain it.”​

Earlier this week, Donaldson, a former national player who was named United Soccer Coaches’ Association Youth Coach of the Year in 2017, tendered his resignation from the program, after he refused to take on the senior head coach role following Menzies’ resignation.

But he left some words of advice with the JFF administration to fix its mistakes and learn from them.

And according to the former Kingston College alumnus and Cavalier Soccer Club representative, that quiet introspection can be extremely valuable in helping the local governing body to understand how to build on, and by extension, sustain the current success of the women’s football program in Jamaica.

Donaldson and Menzies took over the technical leadership of the women’s program in 2015 with an aim to shape the future and they did, winning age-group Caribbean Football Union (CFU) championships and culminating with a historic qualification to the FIFA World Cup Finals in France last summer.

“We did a lot of work within the last five years, so of it is work done behind the scenes that people don’t know about, and we scraped and fought with these kids to get the program to where it is now,” Donaldson told the Jamaican media.

“We have a good pool of players on all our teams and I believe if nurtured properly the future is bright for women’s football in Jamaica. But the federation will have to do some reflection, correct their mistakes and take the programs to the next level,” he added.

But Donaldson was forthright in his verdict of the federation. “I can’t do something that is not working. I mean, I am a professional; I love to do things that work and things that will have honest and capable people with integrity, so we can all work together. But what we had with the JFF was not a good working relationship because nobody wants to listen.

“I could no longer work with a federation that lacks integrity, is incompetent and unprofessional,” he also said.

“You know the history of what I have done – five years free labor and four years without per diem. Head coach of U17, U20 and full national team and I’ve never lost a game to a CFU team.”

We understand the complicated nature of some working relationships, but we also understand and appreciate genuine efforts when we see them, and it is our belief that these gentlemen have offered genuine, heartfelt advice to their former employers.

The language used might not be readily appreciated by the JFF leadership, but the message should be heeded because positives can be arrived at even in adversity. So we hope the JFF takes a step back and take heed. There is nothing to lose in doing so, but potentially, a lot to gain.

Meanwhile, Tajay Gayle and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are well set to cop the 2019 RJRGLEANER Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year Awards which will take place at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday evening.

The 23-year-old Gayle registered a Jamaican national record 8.69 meters to land gold at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on September 28.

Then two days later the legendary Fraser-Pryce turned back the clock in posting 10.71 seconds in the 100m to claim her fourth World Championships title and eighth world title overall.

She later added the women’s 4x100m relay gold to her tally. We congratulate them and all sectional winners.

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