Bumpy road

Shaw conjures memories of adversities on road to France

Observer writer

Friday, May 17, 2019

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Jamaica's poster child for the Fifa Women's World Cup Khadija Shaw says she and her teammates will make the nation proud when they make their first appearance at the football showpiece which begins in France next month.

Speaking at a press conference held by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday, Shaw gave a quick review of the journey to France and believes that the lessons learned by the group during their qualification run will help them give a good account of themselves at the tournament.

“A year ago today (Wednesday) we were in Haiti and I am sure many of you guys would not have known what we have been through in this whole process of qualifying for the World Cup. We dealt with a lot of adversities, but, nevertheless we had to suck it up because we know as a team what we really wanted and we really wanted to go to the World Cup,” she said.

The first major challenge came against Haiti under hostile conditions, she explained.

“We played in Haiti, we were two goals down and we needed at least a draw, and we managed to get those two goals back and we tied the game and we moved on,” Shaw recalled.

She revealed that the final two rounds of qualifications took them through a myriad of emotions culminating in wild celebrations in the changing room once qualification was secured.

“Last year August we put on a show for you guys. If you guys were at the games… we were crowned Caribbean champs and then we moved on to the Concacaf round where (there were) the “big dogs”. We didn't doubt ourselves, we wanted to go out there and we wanted to do our best.

“Even if the result wasn't what we wanted, we just wanted to walk off the field knowing that we gave it our best effort.

“It was tough, we managed to go through the first round and we played against the US and I am sure you guys know how good they are, but the game didn't go as what we wanted, but we knew that we had another game in hand, then we played against Panama.

“We talked about it as a team, we knew that we had to go out there and win this game, we had to give it our all. As you can tell by our celebrations in the locker room, how proud we are to represent the country and to give it our best effort,” said the talismanic forward.

Shaw, 22, expressed her appreciation for all who supported the team to this point.

“We want to thank everybody that's been there for us throughout our entire journey, it's been long, but we finally did it.

“Moving forward we have been having our training camps since August and we just want to continue to do what we do as a team — work with each other, work for each other, work on and off the field,” she noted.

Shaw suggested that making personal sacrifices in order to be successful is paramount at this time.

“You can't do what you want to do when you come to camp (only), it's what you do off the field, you have to work hard, you have to give it your best effort, and for me, I was trying to finish up school and coach Hue was tough on me with that,” she shared.

Completing her degree at University of Tennessee was an important part of her life's plan, something she accomplished just a few weeks ago.

“I knew what I wanted and I knew at the end of the day my knees are going to get old and my muscles are going to get weary, but my brain won't leave me, so at the end of the day, I just wanted to graduate and say when I walk across that stage, I gave it my best effort.

“Now looking forward, it's the World Cup, the next stage, so as a team we just continue to work, to train hard and we know that when we go to the World Cup we are going to make Jamaica proud,” she vowed.

The Reggae Girlz will face Panama in a friendly international at National Stadium on Sunday, starting at 6:00 pm.

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