‘Bunny’ Shaw hails Cedella’s contribution to Jamaica women’s football
Cedella Marley’s passion and support for local women’s football have been unwavering for the past 10 years. She has relentlessly been at the heart of finding ways to raise funds for Jamaica’s women’s football programme.
Marley has consistently shown up for the female teams in so many ways, so when Marley announced her resignation as global ambassador for Jamaica women’s football on Thursday, it is not surprising for stakeholders to express gratitude and even hurt and concern in the aftermath.
Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz Captain Khadija ”Bunny” Shaw, in a heartfelt Instagram post on Saturday, noted Marley’s efforts which contributed to the country qualifying to consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances in 2019 and 2023.
Shaw, who is plays professionally in the the English Women’s Super League for Manchester City, stated that Marley is an inspiration to many young aspiring women footballers.
“To the woman who fought for us through all the constant struggles and mistreatment, I am forever grateful,” Shaw said.
Marley’s perseverance ensured that the Reggae Girlz not only engraved their names in the annals of Jamaican and global sporting history on several occasions, but are now ranked at number 40 in the world. They have only recently dropped from their highest ever position of 37.
“When the senior programme was abandoned in 2008 due to lack of funding, there was no senior pathway. In 2014, 10 years ago, you came, and you kept every young girl’s hopes alive to one day represent Jamaica at the highest level,” Shaw said.
“[I remember] when you said ‘they said y’all couldn’t, and I said tell me why. When they said y’all wouldn’t, I said watch me.’ Here we are years later, qualified for two World Cups back-to-back, all because of your dedication and willingness to ensure we are given an opportunity. For that I am forever grateful,” she added.
In her resignation letter, Marley cited the condition of circumstances with the senior Reggae Girlz World Cup team and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) as the cause for her resignation. She also indicated that the federation is “neither receptive nor interested” in her “current manner of support” and, as a result, she has stepped aside with immediate effect.
Marley stated that she would continue to support the Reggae Girlz journey through the Football is Freedom programme. The Bob and Rita Marley Foundations have also severed ties with the JFF in order to “reassess its priorities”.