Football

Sashana 'Pete' Campbell is back

Pro baller ready to help Reggae Girlz on World Cup journey

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 30, 2018

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After being away from the senior Reggae Girlz set-up since 2014, Sashana “Pete” Campbell is now back in the national colours and ready to play an integral role in the team's World Cup-qualifying bid.

The outstanding player, who was making her senior debut when the team missed out on World Cup qualification in 2015, is now armed with professional experience and determined to give of her best for the nation.

Campbell's enthusiasm and hunger for success is understandable, as she believes this might be her final hurrah with the senior Reggae Girlz.

“It has been a while for me, but I am really happy to be back with the girls and I am now ready to go again and give it my best for the Jamaican team. It is always a good feeling when you get to represent your country on the international stage and having the opportunity to play against some of the world's best teams.

“So my aim is just to assist the team as best as I can in getting to the World Cup, and I just want to continue working hard and continue to give of my best, because we all have a job to do and we are all willing to put in the hard work. This could also be my very last campaign with the senior team, so I just want to stay focused and get the job done,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Known for her unwavering work ethic and determination, Campbell has always been motivated to ply her trade professionally, during her time at Spalding High and even while attending upper sixth form at Christiana High School.

From there she transitioned to Dorton College and then to University of West Florida, where she won an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) title and also featured in the National Under-20 team at numerous CONCACAF competitions.

And after the 2014 senior team campaign, the 27-year-old eventually found a home in Israel representing Maccabi Krishronot Hadera, where she has so far made 36 appearances and scored five goals.

“My transition has been kind of rocky because of injuries and it was also hard being away from family, but at the end of the day there is nothing like representing your country and doing what I love professionally.

“So I don't think of the negatives so much. I just focus on the positive aspects of it, which is representing my country to the best of my ability, improving my craft with every game, and ultimately helping my family. Football is my passion, so any opportunity that I get to play I am going to take it,” noted Campbell, who also tried her hand at track and field in earlier days.

She continued: “Playing in Israel is amazing; there are a lot more girls in Israel who want to play and I think the support is substantial for the leagues over there when compared to here.

“I have never felt left out. The team is like a family to me and, yes, we do get homesick at times, but thankfully I am in the beautiful part of the country, so there is not much concern about violence.”

The pacy attacker, who is the daughter of Carol Davis and Clifton Campbell, welcomed a number of changes that are evident in the current programme when compared to that of the past.

However, she quickly pointed out that a little more support could go a far way in assisting the team in making the World Cup dream a reality.

“The programme now is a lot better than it was when I was first here, because we are now seeing a little more interest in women's football as it relates to sponsorship and the players have a more professional mindset. These players know what they want and they are focused enough to go after it. We knew what we wanted back then, but I don't think we were focused enough.

“So there has been a lot of improvement in terms of the quality of players and the coaches, and I think with additional support we are capable of going as far as possible given the belief and heart that we have as players,” Campbell reasoned.

Campbell may not have had the best of starts since her initial return for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia earlier this year, but her explosiveness and trickery is expected to come to the fore in short order.

The 5ft 6in attacker came on as a substitute in the Reggae Girlz' 4-0 beating of Bermuda in the final-round Caribbean Women's Qualifier on Monday and showed glimpses of her capabilities.

With the blow-out run giving her added confidence, Campbell is anticipating the remainder of the campaign here on home soil as they seek one of three spots to the CONCACAF Women's Championships in October.

“I am not so much disappointed, just more motivated because I am looking on the brighter side of it. I still need to get my fitness level up a bit and there are things that I still need to work on, but I intend to show what I can do,” she shared.

The Jamaicans are scheduled to meet Trinidad and Tobago on Friday at 7:00 pm, before closing against Cuba on Sunday at 6:00 pm. Both games will be played inside the National Stadium.

“We really don't take anything for granted. I know for sure that Friday is going to be tough and Sunday might be as well, but we just have to go out there and do our best. We don't really think about the opponents because we are here to get a job done, so regardless of the opponents, we intend to complete our assignment,” Campbell declared.


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