Sat | Dec 2, 2023

‘We missed Bunny’

Donaldson laments not having ace striker after Cup of Nations defeats

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2023 | 12:56 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Reggae Girlz captain Khadija Shaw (centre) makes a move off the ball during a practice session at the National Stadium late last year.
Reggae Girlz captain Khadija Shaw (centre) makes a move off the ball during a practice session at the National Stadium late last year.

REGGAE GIRLZ coach Lorne Donaldson says the team missed leading scorer Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw at the concluded women’s Cup of Nations in Australia, and that there was a lot of work to be done ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July.

The Jamaicans went down 3-0 to the Aussies in their final game of the tournament, for their third loss in as many games, at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Wednesday morning.

The Australians scored through Katrina Gorry (28th minute), Alex Chidiac (56th) and Caitlin Foord (69th).

Although Donaldson is still looking at players to make up his final World Cup roster, he thought they could have done better with Shaw’s presence.

“They (Australia) were at full strength and we are missing our top player (Shaw), who is our main goalscorer. She is all-time leading scorer for Jamaica and the leading scorer in the (English) Super League right now.

“If we had her out there, maybe it could have been different. But you play with what you have, and the girls put up a tremendous fight,” he said.

Donaldson also believes the score was not a true indication of their performance on the day, but surmised there is still much work to be done.

“We have some things we can do. We have lots of weaknesses right now and we are going to try and strengthen those.

“We have players not in a club right now and we have young players, and I think some fatigue set in.

“But the score didn’t indicate the level of play. It was a closer game than what it [the score] really said,” he pointed out.

The Girlz lost their opening game 3-0 to Spain and then 3-2 to the Czech Republic, but Donaldson thought the tournament served its purpose for his team.

“We are a young team with young players. We don’t have the luxury of playing a lot of games all over. We are trying to bring them together and see how we can build depth.

“The tournament helped us tremendously. We were sluggish in the first one because half of our squad came in [on] the day of the game. But it was a fantastic tournament, and the experience was as good as it gets.”

Both teams started well, but it was the Jamaicans who got the best opening through Jody Brown, Kayla McCoy, and Atlanta Primus.

While the ‘Matildas’ were trying to establish control, Reggae Girlz continued to threaten. However, Gorry put the hosts ahead with a shot from the edge of the box.

The Reggae Girlz remained competitive and McCoy should have equalised before the half, but failed to beat goalkeeper Mckenzie Arnold from 12 yards.

Australia made it 2-0 early in the half when Chidiac fired a left-footed shot past Spence.

Foord then put the game out of reach with a wonder strike from outside the box.