Donovan Duckie fired following 'embarrassing' Olympic-qualifying campaign

By August 19, 2019

Head coach of Jamaica’s U23 team Donovan Duckie has tendered his resignation at the request of the Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts.

However, the report on the failed campaign to qualify for the 2020 Olympics remains outstanding from the fired head coach.

The JFF president, who is set to be returned to office following the JFF's Annual General Meeting set for September 15, confirmed Duckie’s dismissal on the SportsNation Live show on Nationwide Radio on Saturday.

Duckie’s firing was always on the cards following a disastrous Olympic campaign in which Jamaica failed to advance from their zone during the preliminary round of the Caribbean qualifiers held in Jamaica in July. Jamaica drew their matches with Dominica and eventual group winners St. Kitts, ending any possibility of the team advancing.

Ricketts confirmed on Saturday, that the head coaching position for the national U23 is now vacant.

“I had discussions with Coach Duckie and I asked him to tender his resignation. I had asked him to prepare a report before the resignation. I had got a report from his assistant and team manager. He did tender his resignation and we have in our possession report from the team manager and the assistant coach,” Ricketts said while acknowledging that since Duckie has resigned there was no telling when they would get his report.

Ricketts said given the resources that we invested into the Olympic qualification process by both the JFF and the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), the abject failure of the team has left the federation with egg on its face.

“To say it was an embarrassment is an understatement,” Ricketts said with disdain. “We really thought we had a decent squad. We thought that we really had a shot of getting to the Olympics. We did put things in place, the JOA was on board giving us support, and believe me, I have never been so disappointed relating to a football team.

“When I did my own canvassing of the squad there were 13 players in this U23 squad that had represented Jamaica at the senior level, so I really thought this was a good squad. They were in training for eight or nine months.”

Ricketts said two weeks before the tournament began I had a meeting with Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore, Coach Duckie and the team managers. “My question to the coach was what is the status now in terms of preparedness and the answer was ‘my only problem now is to select the team.”

Media reports said Duckie complained that the team was under-prepared.

“So for months, I have been saying on several interviews that everything is ok with the Under-23 program,” Duckie was heard saying in a leaked voice note.

"In my last interview, I said I took full responsibility for the failure of the team to progress but to tell you the truth this isn’t so, the responsibility has to be shared.

“When I took the job there were certain conditionalities, one was that the JFF provide a physical trainer. For over eight months a physical trainer has only come to a training session for three days. I can say that this is the worst physically team I have ever seen in my entire life…we cannot play competitively for over 60 minutes in any game and these are the results.”

Ricketts rubbished those claims from the now-former head coach.

“These utterances afterwards were really most unfortunate,” he said.


Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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