by Kyle Williams | Aug 3, 2023 | General | 0 comments

(Reggae Girlz captain and striker Khadija Shaw)
With no steady local league, a federation that doesn’t fund the team as they should, and a GoFundMe account to send them to Australia, the Jamaica Reggae Girlz have made history once more in the FIFA Women’s World Cup as they have made it to the round of 16 for the first ever time, and first as a Caribbean nation.

The first bit of history was getting a positive result, a point to France on the opening matchday thanks to a ‘woman’ of the match performance from Deneisha Blackwood and a steady and impenetrable defensive partnership of Chantelle and Allison Swaby. This performance, however, was overshadowed by captain Khadija Shaw picking up a suspension after two soft challenges. The player who set scoring records at Manchester City this season scoring 31 goals would be unavailable against Panama.

(A bemused Shaw as were the rest of us)
Before we continue with the transition of the team through the group stages, just have to give a big shoutout to Cedella Marley, daughter of musical icon Robert Nesta Marley, who has kept this team believing, the one who single handedly funds this team from time to time.

The Jamaican Football Federation led by Michael Ricketts has done nothing for football really, men or women, but they at least pay the match fee for the Boyz. They have been a disgrace ever since he was elected and as a Jamaican seeing this first hand it is even worst than what the Glazers do with Manchester United. Without Cedella Marley, none of this would be possible.

(The woman of the moment Cedella Marley)
In the second group game against Panama, there was a golden chance to stake a claim for progression and when Trudi Carter swung in that peach of a cross for captain Allison Swaby to nod in, Jamaica was in dreamland. No Shaw no problem. With other players stepping up, it made things clearer; draw against Brazil and history.

It was time and my eyes were barely open at 4 o’clock in the morning but the support of the Girlz is needed. Jamaica vs. Brazil, Leticia vs. Spencer, Shaw vs. Marta. A showdown for the ages.

(Deneisha Blackwood leading the dance party)
What a game it was, attack vs. Defence with Brazil peppering the Jamaican custodian Spencer, but the Tottenham goalie was up to the task. There were some fortunate breakaways led by Shaw and even Jody Brown leading to shots fired on target but not challenging the Brazilian keeper.

Full-time struck and jubilation in the heart of the 876, bittersweet in the end as Marta calls it time on her international career, and Jamaicans young and old all celebrated the draw, with the country also going the group stages without conceding a goal. Rebecca Spencer, the first Jamaican Goalkeeper with three straight clean sheets in a World Cup campaign. Next up for the Girlz, is a RO16 clash against either Germany or Colombia and one the world’s eyes will be on.

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Well, I am 18 years old currently undergoing my Bachelors of Science in Media and communications. I'm currently in my first semester and I would like to be a sports analyst in the future. I am also from Jamaica. I would like to work at one of the biggest sports companies in the world (ESPN/SKY/BT) but everyone needs a start and I would love it if you were to give me that start.


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