Donaldson sticks to principles - Former national women’s football assistant coach clears air on resignation

January 14, 2020
Former head coach of Jamaica’s senior women’s football team Hue Menzies and his then assistant coach Lorne Donaldson (right).
Former head coach of Jamaica’s senior women’s football team Hue Menzies and his then assistant coach Lorne Donaldson (right).

Former Reggae Girlz assistant coach Lorne Donaldson refutes claims that his decision to walk away from the national women's programme is because he's bitter at not getting the head coaching role, which Hubert Busby Jr was appointed to recently.

Donaldson says he was actually offered the job to lead the senior women's team into the final round of the Concacaf Olympic qualifiers, which will be played this month but decided not to, on a matter of principle.

He also admitted his decision was also show of solidarity for former coach, Hue Menzies, who quit the team in December under similar circumstances.

"No, it has nothing to do with the senior coaching job," Donaldson told STAR Sports. "The senior coaching job was actually offered to me. I was the one who declined because of certain principles. If I declined the senior job because of principle, I didn't see how it was going to work out.

"So on my principle and integrity, I wasn't going to do it and I thought it was best to walk away, as sometimes that's when things get sorted out. But I didn't want to be a distraction or anybody saying that Lorne was a distraction."

Menzies, who led the team's historic FIFA Women's World Cup qualification, also had a tumultuous relationship with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and he jumped ship as a result of monies owed and poor communication. Donaldson, who in his letter to federation president Michael Ricketts, said he resigned because of 'questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF,' and believes these issues can be resolved more amicably.

Not respected

"We (he and Menzies) have worked together," he said. "We understand that when you work for five years for free, and take them to the World Cup and it's not respected, the only thing I can say about Menzies is that if you owe somebody, you pay them. When [Winfried] Schafer was fired, he was paid, when [Rene] Simoes was fired, he was paid, when Bora [Milutinovic] was fired, he was paid and the money that Menzies made, compared to those guys, it was nothing." Those men mentioned are former Reggae Boyz head coaches.

"But it wasn't even the money," Donaldson continued. "We have to live up to our principles and we didn't want the girls to be working under certain conditions. So we had to make some decisions and I didn't want to fight any battles anymore. So it's time to walk away."

But Donaldson added that he does not rule out a return to the programme and that he will continue to support Jamaica's football.

"There are no hard feelings," he said. "It's just that things were not in line with my principles, so it was time to step away. I wish them all the best as we have some very good players."

JFF general secretary Dalton Wint said Donaldson's resignation was not totally a surprise but insists they have been as professional as can be with the former national women's coach.

"If he believes we are unprofessional, that's his view," Wint said. "But the truth is we have been very professional in everything we do, including the acceptance of the resignation and we will not go out and say bad things about our partners."

Whether the JFF was surprised by Donaldson's resignation, Wint was in two minds.

"I would say yes and no," he said. "You hear the grumblings but I can't speak to those things. I speak to facts and the fact is he has tendered his resignation and that's the fact."

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