Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson says the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) should use the team’s second successive qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup to uplift the nation’s football.
Speaking after the Girlz defeated Haiti 4-0 to book their tickets for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Donaldson called on locals fans to believe in what the Cedella Marley-led Bob Marley Foundation is doing to give the programme the assistance it needs to do bigger things.
“I am glad for the country and for the players. Hopefully, we can use this qualification, as a federation, and turn our football around in a positive way,” Donaldson said.
Since the team’s first qualification in 2019, players from over the world have expressed interest in representing the Caribbean nation. However, he thinks that with this qualification, those who can should throw their support behind the programme.
“The biggest thing I see is an influx of young players getting involved from Jamaica and all over the world.
“We can ride the wave, because we are a little bit more organised on the outside with Cedella Marley and the foundation. Hopefully, the federation can join in and, hopefully, Jamaica joins in this time and welcome women’s football as they should, with open arms, so we can blossom.
“We know this is the future; hopefully, this will do a lot for Jamaica’s football. This is the beginning of what is coming in the future, because I think we can do bigger and better things,” he said.
In a must-win game for the Jamaicans on Monday night, captain Khadija Shaw, with two goals and an assist, plus a goal each for Trudi Carter and Drew Spence, saw the Girlz to a comprehensive 4-0 win over their opponents.
The win moved Jamaica into second with six points, three behind group winners the United States.
Third-place Haiti will now have to try to qualify via the confederation play-offs.
A month before the tournament there were a lot of uncertainties. Donaldson had just replaced Vin Blaine, while many felt the Girlz would not do well, as they had no warm-up matches going into the championship and very little training. Donaldson, however, said he always believed in the players.
“In Jamaica, we have a saying, ‘Wi likkle but wi tallawah’, meaning we are very small but we can do big things, and I always backed these players to do big things.
“No practice games, so we just got together and did a three-week camp. People have to buy into what we are doing. It was a short process and a lot of questions were asked, but we answered them and the people at home are very joyous,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the top four teams from groups A and B will now meet in the Concacaf Women’s Championships semi-finals tomorrow. The United States will face Costa Rica at 6 p.m., before Jamaica oppose Canada at 9 p.m.
The semi-final winners will meet in the final on July 18, the same day as the third-place play-off. The Concacaf women’s champions will qualify automatically for the 2024 Olympics and the inaugural Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, to be played in 2024.
The runners-up and third-place teams will square off in a Concacaf Olympic play-in series, scheduled for September 2023. The winners of that play-in series will also qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2024 Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.