Reggae Girlz's precious point boost for national spirit
...tough road ahead for netballers
Jamaica's Deneisha Blackwood (top), celebrates with her teammates after the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between France and Jamaica at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, July 23, 2023. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.(Photos: AP)

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls know it will only get harder from here following their 105-25 win over Sri Lanka on Friday's opening day of the Netball World Cup tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.

The preliminary round of the 16-nation tournament continues today (Saturday) and Sunday with the fourth-ranked Jamaicans aiming to overcome Wales and South Africa.

Lessons from history mean the Jamaicans should not be complacent.

Curiously, despite the respect with which they are viewed globally, the traditional Caribbean champions have not won a medal at the Netball World Cup in 16 years.

Much current optimism flows from their outstanding silver medal performance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, last August.

Head Coach Ms Connie Francis has cautioned "...that all the teams are stepping up their preparations. We know that New Zealand are the defending champions and they will be coming hard and ready to defend their title…

"Australia and even South Africa and all the other teams will be coming, too, and so it is about us tactically attacking these teams, and I know that we have the players in our squad who will execute well."

That balancing of caution and confidence is correct in our view.

Of course, Jamaicans are also focused on the Reggae Girlz, who electrified the nation by playing to a 0-0 draw with European powerhouse France in the 2023 FIFA Women's football World Cup in Australia on Sunday.

Having flown for four hours across Australia, east to west, from Sydney to Perth, the Jamaicans will now face Concacaf sister nation Panama early Saturday.

Stylish Brazil will be next after another long flight in the opposite direction on August 2.

All of a sudden, the Reggae Girlz — mostly unfancied at the start of the tournament — are now being viewed as a real candidate for the second round of the tournament should they beat Panama who lost to 0-4 to Brazil earlier this week.

The Jamaicans — without top striker Ms Khadija "Bunny" Shaw, who was ejected late in the contest with France — will perhaps be aiming for a convincing win over Panama in order to boost their chances should it come down to goal-difference in order to make the play-offs.

Quite correctly though, the coaching staff is placing emphasis on "three points" against Panama, above all else.

Said Assistant Coach Mr Xavier Gilbert: "The match versus Panama is really important. In other words, if we come out of this game with a win it will put us in a good position for the group's final game. We want to make the most of the fact that we will absolutely know where we are and that will put us in a strong position to move on to the next round.

"[G]oing into the game is just to see if we can get three points and that's the objective… the ladies are professional; they know what is at stake; they understand what to do and… it's just about the belief in their own ability to get the job done…"

Whatever happens from here, the Reggae Girlz should know that their performance which provided that precious first-ever point in a World Cup Finals tournament — against mighty France — has boosted the national spirit beyond measure.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?
Recent Posts