Groundbreaking achievements beckon for Jamaica's netballers and female footballers
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls celebrate during a netball competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Surely there has never been such a time as now for Jamaican women's team sport.

Let's consider that in July/August Jamaica's Reggae Girlz will be at the FIFA Women's World Cup finals in Australia, while, in roughly the same time period, the nation's celebrated netball ambassadors, the Sunshine Girls, will be bidding for glory at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Little wonder then that administrative bodies for both sporting disciplines have had a tough time gathering enough of the very necessary private sector sponsorship to support preparation of national squads.

On July 23, the Reggae Girlz begin their historic second successive FIFA World Cup football campaign against powerful France in what's expected to be very cool conditions at the height of the southern hemisphere winter in Sydney, Australia.

Other first round games will follow for the Reggae Girlz against fellow Concacaf team Panama in Perth on July 29 and glamour team Brazil in Melbourne on August 2. It will mean extensive air travel for the Girlz in a relatively short period: about 2,000 miles east to west from Sydney to Perth and another 1,600 miles west to east from Perth to Melbourne.

Football analysts won't expect the Jamaicans to advance beyond the first round, given the lofty status of Brazil and France.

However, the quality of Jamaica's football, led by the hugely talented striker and team captain Ms Khadija "Bunny" Shaw, has advanced considerably since their first ever qualification for a World Cup Finals in France in 2018. We can safely say that no opponent will be taking the Girlz lightly in Australia in July/August.

The very attainable aim for the Reggae Girlz will be to better their 2018 record when they lost all first round games against Brazil, Italy, and Australia while scoring just once.

For the Sunshine Girlz, the 16th staging of netball's premier international competition, the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023, is to be held from July 28 to August 6 at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town.

Analysts and leaders of Jamaica's netball say this could be this country's best chance of medalling at the Netball World Cup since securing a bronze in 2007.

Indeed, there is a view that the Sunshine Girls could, for the first time ever, go all the way, topping traditional powerhouses Australia and New Zealand.

That optimism is bolstered by the presence of a number of Jamaican netballers in professional leagues abroad.

Also, the Sunshine Girls' fabulous run to claim the silver medal — narrowly losing to Australia in the Gold Medal match — at the Commonwealth Games last year in England has heightened expectations beyond measure.

A significant side note will be the début of netball at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in El Salvador in June/July with the Jamaicans as big favourites. We expect that tournament to assist, not hurt, Jamaica's challenge at the Netball World Cup in South Africa.

Jamaicans have every right to feel great pride at the achievements of their national netball and women's football teams ahead of the respective world cup tournaments.

We wish the very best for both groups of ambassadors.

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