Former women's coaches applaud history-making Reggae Girlz
Jamaica forward Khadija Shaw (right) is tackled by her Colombian opponent during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup round of 16 match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday. Colombia won 1-0. (Photo: AFP)

FORMER national female coaches Andrew Price and Charles Edwards have lauded the Reggae Girlz for their historic achievement at Fifa's Women's World Cup in Australia/New Zealand and said they are great examples for other young, aspiring female footballers.

The Reggae Girlz' historic run at the Fifa World Cup ended on Tuesday after they were beaten 1-0 by Colombia in the round of 16 knockout phase at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The Reggae Girlz created history in Australia last Wednesday by becoming the first Caribbean team — male of female — to qualify for the round of 16 of the tournament, following their 0-0 draw with Brazil.

In fact, the Jamaicans also became the first female team from Caribbean to win a match at the tournament when they defeated Panama 1-0 two-weeks ago.

PRICE...I think it's an excellent achievement by the young ladies (Photo: Observer file)

"I think it's an excellent achievement by the young ladies. I think that it is historic, and it has left a lasting legacy," said Price.

"What the girls have done, they have inspired young girls and a next generation to get involved in football, and they have proven that with belief and common will anything can be achieved — and they are an inspiration to all young ladies in this country.

"They have gone through a lot sacrifices, they have made a lot of sacrifices, and they have gone to the World Cup in a group where no one gave them a chance of coming out of that group, and they have succeeded. They are the first Caribbean country to qualify for the second round at any global World Cup — and that is a massive achievement," Price said.

The veteran coach added that the Reggae Girlz should receive similar recognition from the Government to that which was accorded the Reggae Boyz when they qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France.

"These ladies should definitely be honoured because, let us drag our memories back to what happened in 1998 [as it relates to] the achievements of the Reggae Boyz qualifying for their first World Cup. So what we really have to do is to significantly let these players know that we appreciate the achievements that they have made at this World Cup," Price reasoned.

However, Price said he believes the Reggae Girlz did not play to their full potential against the Colombians in Tuesday's game.

"I think that it was our worst game, to be honest, but it was a tough game. And in a game like that, when you have small margins, once you make a mistake it can be very detrimental. And the one mistake that we made defensively for the entire tournament, it cost us," he said.

"However, we had some opportunities and we didn't take them, and in this game at this level we have to take those opportunities," Price pointed out.

Edwards said he was extremely proud of the Reggae Girlz, and he urged all Jamaica to lift them up.

"I am hoping that Jamaica will recognise and not beat them down because we have never had any team in the region going to the World Cup back to back," said Edwards. "In fact, we have never had any team in the region going to the round of 16 so my situation [reaction] would [be] like sipping a class of champagne and celebrating them... and being in the round of 16 is a win-win situation for me and exiting now doesn't matter much to me," he said.

BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter

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