Jamaica targets 'A' game in hosting of women's tourney — JFF boss

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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Jamaica's football officials are keeping their proverbial fingers crossed that the hosting of the CONCACAF CFU Women's qualifying finals will yield broad-based benefits.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts says the August 25-September 2 tournament holds potential “advantages” for the nation's football and economy.

“We believe that playing at home will definitely give us an advantage, and I do believe we have a realistic chance of qualifying for the women's World Cup in the long run,” he said.

“Also, the economy of Kingston must stand to benefit as hotel accommodation, ground transportation, meals — you name it — are all part and parcel of hosting a tournament of this importance,” Ricketts added.

The final round — to be contested by Antigua & Barbuda, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in a round-robin format — will qualify three Caribbean teams to the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship to be held in the USA.

Ricketts says that the organisational machinery is turning in the effort to organise a “first-rate” tournament.

“We have set up our committee and Bruce Gaynor (JFF vice-president) will chair this committee in his portfolio responsibility for international affairs... also on the committee is the general secretary (Dalton Wint), Janice Rose-Brown (director of operations, public relations, events) and Debra Shaw… I will also sit on this committee as we work out the details and I know that we will give this our best shot and we are ready,” Ricketts said.

The JFF boss also underlined the role of the Jamaican Government in the organisation of the championship.

“The greatest thing in all of this so far is that Minister (Olivia) Grange and her ministry have offered the National Stadium to us free of cost; so whether or not we had wanted to go outside Kingston with some games, we have now been shackled in a good way and therefore all the games will be played at the National Stadium in Kingston,” Ricketts noted.

“I want to commend the minister and by extension, the government to give us this kind of support, and we want to ensure that we make them happy as they make us happy,” he added.

Ricketts, who boasted of Jamaica's growing pedigree as a host of international football events — inclusive of tournaments, courses, seminars and summits — raised the proverbial toast to the “hard-working” JFF staff.

“We have been in constant touch with CFU, CONCACAF and FIFA, and it's not by chance that many of these events have come to Jamaica, and we want to make sure we get things right when these events come to us.

“For that I would like to thank the staff of the JFF as they are always on their 'A' game and always seem to impress when these events come to Jamaica. They are truly the face of the JFF,” Ricketts expressed.

The United States will welcome the confederation's top women's national teams for the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship, which will crown a confederation champion and qualify three teams directly to the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019. The fourth-place finisher will engage in an intercontinental play-off for the chance of a fourth CONCACAF qualifier.

The CONCACAF Women's Championship is scheduled to be played October 4-17, 2018, in Cary, North Carolina, and Edinburg and Frisco in Texas.

— Sean Williams

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