Sport

JFF gen-sec says revival of disbanded team under review

Barbican revel in women’s awards ceremony

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS & LIVINGSTON SCOTT Observer staff reporters

Saturday, December 22, 2012    

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AS Jamaica's women footballers were rewarded for outstanding performances in the just-concluded Sherwin Williams Women's Premier League season, doubt still hangs heavily over the future of the senior national women's programme.

While Jamaica have maintained active youth teams at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels, the young women who have outgrown those age limitations have little to look forward to in transitioning to the next stage of their international development.

In a cost-cutiing exercise by a cash-strapped JFF, the national senior women's programme was officially disbanded in 2010, but the possibility of its revival is constantly being discussed and reviewed.

New JFF General Secretary Raymond Grant, in an exclusive chat with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday, said the senior women's team is a constant item on various agendas of the federation.

"The resurrection of the senior women's programme has been discussed at our last Women's Committee meeting and it is also on the agenda for the Technical and Development Committee," noted the man who succeeded long-serving general secretary Horace Reid.

Grant, a former vice-chairman of the Technical and Development Committee headed by Howard McIntosh, said a review and its outcome slated for early in the new year will be a key determinant in the future of the senior Reggae Girlz.

"At the start of each year we normally review our programmes to decide which one will be carried out in the calendar year, and when the board sits early next year.

"I am expected that they will be asked to deliberate on the matter and at such time I am sure that a decision will be made whether or not we continue as we are now or to re-engage the senior programme," Grant noted.

Both the Under-17 and Under-20 women's teams reached the CONCACAF final round of World Cup qualifiers earlier this year.

Meanwhile, at yesterday's awards function of the Sherwin Williams Women's Premier League at the offices of the JFF, champions Barbican FC -- their fifth successive title -- had the Sherwin Williams trophy retired in their honour.

Also, the club's star player, Jody-Ann McGregor, was the toast of the 2012 awards. She was the team's leading scorer with 27 goals in the league and nine in the knockout competition and was also voted the Most Valuable Player for the season.

According to Sherwin Williams' managing director, Ian Forbes, retiring the trophy to Barbican, who went through the entire season unbeaten, was the honourable thing to do.

The Charles Edwards-coached girls won all available trophies, including the mid-season title, the Colourscape Knockout and the league title.

"Sherwin Williams will like to give special commendation and praise to Barbican who had a truly outstanding season, in which they swept all before them and won all the trophies... so it is only fitting to retire the trophy to them," said Forbes.

Barbican coach Edwards said the team was happy their hard work had paid off in this manner. "It was fitting, especially in a season where our performance was of such exception... we couldn't retire the cup in a better year than this," he said.

And with the young players coming through for the club, Edwards believes they can have an even better season next year, although he expects the other clubs to also make improvements for next season.

Edwards was also named Coach of the Year, as well as Winning Coach, while captain Alicia James took home the Winning Captain award.

Barbican's Phillisia Lewis was the Most Valuable Player for the knockout final and goalkeeper Khalie Beckford the Top Goalkeeper in the league.

The club also walked away with $400,000 for their league win and with $80,000 for the knockout trophy triumph.

League runner-ups, Waterhouse, received $250,000, third-placed UWI Women collected $140,000 and fourth-placed Portmore carried off $100,000.

Knockout runners-up, GC Foster College took home $60,000, third-placed Santos got $40,000 and fourth-placed Waterhouse took home $30,000.

Newcomers, GC Foster, won the fairplay award and they received $20,000 for their achievement, while UWI's Chrisann Chambers and Waterhouse's Kedine Salmon both received the Sherwin Williams scholarship award valued at $40,000 each.

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