Shaw takes scoring record in stride

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Reggae Girlz striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw has virtually achieved most of her goals in a blooming career, and she has done so with gusto.

For Shaw, adding Jamaica's all-time leading scorer — man or woman — to her resume was just a mere formality, given her dedication and passion to leave it all on the field for her country.

Shaw, 22, again wrote her name in the annals of Jamaica's sporting history when she scored five goals in the Reggae Girlz' 7-0 win over United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in their Concacaf Women's Olympic Caribbean Qualifying contest at National Stadium on Tuesday.

The FC Bordeaux forward took her tally for the national side to 40, moving her ahead of Luton Shelton's 35, as she also became the youngest player in the Concacaf region to achieve the milestone.

“It's a great feeling and, you know, it shows all the hard work and the sacrifice and dedication that I've made and put into this sport. It is hard, people might see me out there laughing and having fun, but you have to work hard, you have to grind, you have to get up in the morning sometimes even when you don't want to do it.

“But at the end of the day, all the hard work shows, and it's a credit to my team also, because they've been with me and they've been grinding also. So it's a collective effort, but tonight was just historic for me and so it's a good feeling,” Shaw said.

Despite the Girlz registering 12-1, 7-0, 11-0, and 7-0 victories over Cuba, Barbados, St Lucia, and United States Virgin Islands (USVI), respectively, to top the group with maximum 12 points and 37 goals, Shaw believes there is still scope for improvement.

“I think we dropped our game a little bit. We got to move the ball around, but I think we can move the ball a lot better as a team; we knew that and it's something that we have to work on.

“We got all the points that we wanted from this tournament [but] we just have to regroup, look at films and talk about it as a team, see where we went wrong and just correct it,” Shaw noted.

The towering Shaw also revealed the difficulty of balancing life for both club and country. She had scored four goals in two games for her French club, before reporting for national duties where she tallied nine goals.

“It's very difficult at times because towards the beginning of the tournament, I played a game [in France] and then I travelled two hours after the game. But I love representing my country, and it's something that I enjoy doing.

“It's always good when you represent your country, so even though it [the journey] is a bit long, you smile when you're coming home knowing that you're going to put on the black, green and gold,” declared Shaw, who represented Jamaica at every level starting with stints in the Under-15, Under-17, and Under-20, all at the same time, when she was just 14 years old.

Looking ahead, Shaw pointed out that her Reggae Girlz team is once again bracing for the challenge to come in the next phase of qualifying, as they seek a historic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Jamaica join United States, Canada, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica in the Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifying Championships expected to be contested late January to February.

“Obviously, we were familiar with the faces, because we played them when we qualified for the World Cup, but we have to focus on ourselves and what we do when we are outside of national camp.

“We can't wait until camp to get sharp because we know what we got to do, so we can't focus on anybody else but ourselves. Because at the end of the day, it's 11 players going out there to try to make history, so the girls are confident and we can't wait for the next round,” the St Jago and University of Tennessee alumna added.

—Sherdon Cowan