We know the Reggae Girlz will give of their very best

Saturday, June 08, 2019

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As Jamaica's Reggae Girlz get set to face Brazil in their historic Fifa World Cup opening game in France tomorrow they are no doubt encouraged by news of their male counterparts beating the United States in Washington, DC, earlier this week.

The stylish 1-0 victory for the Regage Boyz, in what was an international friendly, represents the third victory for Jamaica's men's national team over the highly rated USA.

Incredibly, two of those victories have come on American soil the last in the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2015.

That result in Washington, DC, comes as a timely reminder that with hard work and determination adversities can always be overcome, and that when it comes to that Jamaicans are more capable than most.

In the case of the Reggae Girlz, they are the lowest on the Fifa rankings among the teams in France.

First-timers at the Fifa World Cup, the Reggae Girlz are seen as the least likely to advance from a group that includes Brazil, Australia, and Italy.

But as they showed during qualification, the Reggae Girlz never say die. It's a quality that is commonplace among Jamaican women. On a daily basis, women in this country make great personal sacrifices and fight tooth and nail often playing the role of both mother and father in ensuring that their children are fed, clothed, and get a solid education.

So then Jamaicans know that the Reggae Girlz will give of their very best. They will not be surprised if they upset the apple cart and reach the knockout stages.

But even if they don't, the Reggae Girlz, their coaches, and handlers should know that they have made this nation extremely proud.

They should know that win, lose, or draw, they are ambassadors for this country and that their attitude, behaviour, and demeanour should be such that the black, green, and gold remain in high esteem.

Also, the caretakers of Jamaica's football, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), should know that the country will expect that organisation to do all in its power to ensure there is a strong sustainable legacy from the Reggae Girlz's achievement.

It is to the JFF's eternal discredit that not nearly enough had been done to ensure lasting benefits from the success of the Reggae Boyz who made it to the World Cup in France in 1998.

It is not by accident that the men's team has not repeated the achievement since. The truth is that post-98, the governing body dropped the ball in terms of ensuring proper nurturing and development programmes for Jamaica's football.

We expect that the JFF has now learnt. Going forward, we expect the JFF to seek further partnerships with those in the private and public sectors who gave of their resources to ensure the Reggae Girlz achieved their dream when all seemed lost.

New sponsors should also be sought all in the quest of building girls' football in schools and communities at all age-group levels and likewise at the club level.

Women's (and girls') football is among the surging growth areas in global sport. Jamaica should be no different. The JFF should take the ball and run.

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