Our Reggae Girlz are truly belles of the ball

Saturday, January 19, 2019

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We have said it already, and we dare say it again.

We are indeed indebted to our female footballers for not only their historic qualification to the Fifa Women's World Cup, but that they continue to fly the nation's flag proudly and loftily.

Since their landmark accomplishment last October of becoming the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the global showpiece, the world has stood up and taken notice. And naturally, so have we.

Their daring and sense of mission, we tender, have been an inspiration to all Jamaicans, but we have come to find that their exploits are touching lives even further afield.

In the wider Caribbean, we are told, our Reggae Girlz have become the symbol of possibilities and hope, and have reinvigorated the belief that dreams do come true.

That's an awesome pedestal, and we are confident that our successful women footballers, gracious and humble as they are, will fulfil their new status as role models with distinction.

No less, but more would be the expectation in keeping with the true Jamaican spirit.

As a newspaper, we have championed the interest of the women's game with in-depth coverage over the years, sharing with readers the thrills and the spills. And there were many of the latter.

But as they believed, so did we. They never gave up on their World Cup dreams, and we never gave up on them.

So for us, we view their success as ours, and it is for that reason we take particular pride in highlighting and sharing their stories and the accolades that come with them, not only out of duty, but because of the positive messages they send to our nation's youth.

On Tuesday, when news filtered through that our female football team had won Concacaf's Outstanding Performance of the Year award and that head coach Mr Hue Menzies was bestowed with the Women's Coach of the Year honour, we rejoiced.

To borrow from the Jamaican vernacular, our 'glad bag buss' when strikers Miss Khadija Shaw and teen sensation Miss Jody Brown were selected in Concacaf's Female Best XI.

In each case, it is not recognition to be taken lightly, for our female football functionaries were being measured against their counterparts from regional giants USA, Mexico, Canada, and surely a worthy few from Central America.

Miss Shaw, who had already copped from the prestigious The Guardian newspaper their Footballer of the Year award, was a close second in the race for Concacaf Female Player of the Year, nudged out by the brilliant American, Miss Alex Morgan.

“I would not only say it was a great year for me, but also for the team… if our teammates weren't there every step of the way, we wouldn't have accomplished that (awards), so I give credit to my teammates as well,” Miss Shaw was quoted in this newspaper on Thursday.

Her coach, Mr Menzies, a day earlier, said: “While it was an individual award, I embrace it as a team award and a tribute to all Jamaicans and my team of Lorne Donaldson, Hubert Busby, Will Hitzelburger and Andrew Price, and others.”

At no time did either of the recipients gloat, which speaks admirably to the content of character and a seemingly deep culture of team over self.

If that is the spirit throughout the entire Jamaican camp, then come this summer France better be prepared for a football storm the likes of which it has never seen, or heard of.

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