Women's club football set for November return
SPEID...we are really elated at this time that we will have the women's league back up and running at the end of November (Photo: Observer file)

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Women's Premier League competition is scheduled to return with a bang at the end of next month after a three-year hiatus.

The competition, which is the country's top women's league, was last played on the island in 2018, but according to Rudolph Speid, chairman of the JFF's technical committee, the governing body has worked assiduously over the past two years to ensure the return of women's football to local shores.

"It has been a long time coming because it is something that we needed desperately," said Speid.

"It is just the first step of getting women's football starting back at the earliest date we can," he said.

"It is almost three years and we are really elated at this time that we will have the women's league back up and running at the end of November," Speid said.

He said 10 teams are down to contest this season's competition, which is to run for six months.

Speid also said that the JFF has secured some funding from the world's governing body Fifa to assist with the administration of the league, while there is interest from a corporate partner.

"Everybody is happy that we have a date now because clubs have been training as far back as April, so this is really good news for them," he said.

"The competition will be run for six months in order to properly address the development of the sport locally," Speid stated.

Xavier Gilbert, coach of Fraser's Content, said his team has been training since June.

"It is a wonderful feeling to know that the females will be returning to active competition," said Gilbert.

"We are training, but it is a young team, but very talented and they are excited and I know that they are happy that the league will be back up and running," he said.

Gilbert, who is an assistant coach of the Reggae Girlz, said the league presents a massive opportunity for the national coaching staff to look at local players ahead of the squad's selection for next year's Fifa Women's World Cup Finals, which is to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

"I think that with the league being back now there is some competition and hopefully, we can draft some players for that and they will get the opportunity even if they don't get make the final team. But at least they will be part of the set-up being called or invited to camps and it gives them hope as well to continue to train," Gilbert said.

Charles Edwards, coach of many-time champions Barbican, said he and his players are looking forward to the competition.

"I am very happy to hear that finally they have a set date and that sponsors have arrived and they are now able to fund the programme and get the women's league up and running again," said Edwards.

"Being out of commission for so long has done a lot of damage to the females, in Jamaica so I think this will inject a lot of confidence in the players," he said.

BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter

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