'Bunny' Shaw relishing striker's role

Observer writer

Monday, September 03, 2018

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Despite being heavily relied upon to lead the senior Reggae Girlz team from the front as a striker, Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is relishing the task.

“It is not really a burden, it is just that people expect you to come out and play well. And obviously as a senior player in the programme, playing here for a while, you expect a lot from yourself as well and you set goals for games. I just have to play my game. When I play my game it makes it easy for my teammates, so that is what I do,” Shaw said in a post-game interview on Friday at the National Stadium.

“As a senior player you have to expect that when you play your game and do what you do, people are going to look for you at all times, so you just have to remain focused and don't get ahead of yourself and a lot more success will come,” she added.

The 21-year-old was again at the forefront of proceedings in Jamaica's come-from-behind 4-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago, a game in which she notched a brace in the 79th and 89th minutes to take her overall tally in the Concacaf Caribbean Women's qualifiers to 14.

Though pleased with her accomplishments, the powerful striker believes that she still has a little tidying up to do in front of goal, as she concedes squandering a few easy chances.

“It happens playing a number nine; you are going to get a lot of opportunities but you just have to remain focus and know that the goals will come — just don't rush it. The second game (against Bermuda) I was a bit eager but today (Friday) I just came and did what I had to,” she noted.

Reflecting on the game against the twin-island republic, Shaw lauded her team's never-say-die spirit and determination in coming from one goal down to register what was a fairly comfortable win in the end.

The Jamaicans got their other goals from substitutes Giselle Washington (70th) and Jody Brown (90+2) — the two youngest players in the Hue Menzies-coached squad.

Shaw, who now has six goals from three games in this final-round stage, pointed out that the heart and fight shown by the team was nothing new, as they had to make up a two-goal deficit against an even more formidable Haitian team in their backyard.

“Every time we play against Trinidad and Tobago it's always history, and we know that they were going to come out playing.

“But we believed in ourselves and we know that we were the favourites and the better team, so when they scored it was not the first time we were down, because we were down in Haiti. So we just held our composure, came out in the second half, and did what we had to,” the former St Jago High student said.

Shaw, who started her international career early and who represented Jamaica at every level, beginning with stints in the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20, all at the same time, when she was just 14 years old, is aiming to add to her tally in capping off another successful campaign.

The Jamaicans were scheduled to bring the curtains down on the Caribbean phase of qualifiers against Cuba inside the National Stadium yesterday.

A win would see the Reggae Girlz solidifying their position as champions of the five-team play-off ahead of the Concacaf Women's Championships in the United States next month.

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