Editorial

Despite losses, great possibilities for Girlz going forward

Saturday, June 15, 2019

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The 0-5 defeat of the Reggae Girlz by Italy yesterday has effectively dashed their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Fifa 2019 Women's World Cup in France, barring a mathematical miracle of virtually unprecedented proportions.

Readers will recall that the Jamaicans were beaten 3-0 by Brazil in their opening game in Group C. As the situation now stands, Italy are through to the next round while Brazil and Australia are hunting the second spot. Brazil now hope for an unlikely Jamaican upset win over Australia even as they seek to overcome admirably organised Italy in their final game of the Group.

The Reggae Girlz will be disappointed with the results. Realistically though, it was always going to be extremely difficult for Jamaica on their first trip to the women's World Cup.

This newspaper can't fault the commitment and effort of the national team; nor for that matter the players' talent. Most analysts will agree that they have been undone by inexperience and, to a considerable extent, an inadequacy of tactical acumen.

However, this Jamaica squad is among the youngest at the Fifa World Cup. We feel genuine excitement as we contemplate the possibilities going forward. It seems to us the sky could prove to be the limit as the Girlz gain more experience and confidence on the regional and international stage.

Continued support from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and corporate sponsors will be crucial going forward.

As has been said previously in this space, the achievements of the Reggae Girlz provide opportunity for accelerated growth of women's and girls' football allied to the development of appropriate infrastructure.

Needless to say, the men's game will also benefit, though, as we have previously said, the benefits of the historic qualification of the national men's team to the Fifa World Cup finals, also in France, way back in 1998, were never as far-reaching and as comprehensive as should have been.

That said, it would be unfair, we think, to suggest that the men's game has not improved down the years. Good showings at Concacaf Gold Cup tournaments in recent years — including reaching the final of the last two — provide evidence of that. Indeed, so is the recent 1-0 win over the United States in that country, albeit in an International Friendly.

The extent of growth for the men's national team, the Reggae Boyz, will again be under scrutiny when they host Honduras to kick off their 2019 Gold Cup campaign at the National Stadium on Monday. El Salvador will face Curacao in the second game of a double-header.

Of great interest and considerable relief to most football fans will be the likely inclusion in the Jamaica team of Bayer Leverkusen star Mr Leon Bailey. Football watchers will recall that ugly disagreements between the JFF authorities and Mr Bailey's management team have served to prevent him from representing his country before now.

We note Mr Bailey's comment that “I am excited to be playing in front of my home crowd and my people”.

Like Mr Bailey this newspaper is urging Jamaicans to come out in great numbers to support the Reggae Boyz as they seek the best possible start to the Concacaf Gold Cup campaign.


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