On a positive note!

Reggae Girlz coach shares encouraging words as team leaves for US and Britain en route to France

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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Jamaica's Reggae Girlz demonstrated tenacity and willpower to overcome adversities throughout the Fifa Women's World Cup qualifying campaign.

But their resilience, teamwork, skill, and dedication to duty have amplified significantly since they achieved the historic feat of being the first Caribbean team to secure a spot at the global showpiece.

Those characteristics are just a scratch on the surface of what Head Coach Hue Menzies and his team aspire to in women's football locally, as they hope the younger players draw inspiration from the fire of the Reggae Girlz's commitment.

“We have created some milestones here — obviously we are the first to qualify to the World Cup from the Caribbean and this is also the first women's team to sign a full-time contract with a federation in the Caribbean. So all our hard work is paying off, but we still have some more grounds to cover,” Menzies said during the Reggae Girlz 's farewell gathering at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.

“We were talking today (yesterday) about our U-17 and U-20 and we have the PanAm Games coming up immediately after the World Cup, so there is so much more to go to build on this journey of what we are trying to develop here.

“Because it is not about us, it is about the little ones that are coming through that we have to make an impression on and I think the girls are doing a pretty good job at that,” he added.

With a few of the current players hailing from violent communities and overcoming tragedies and adversities, particularly star players Khadija “Bunny” Shaw and Trudi Carter, Menzies believes this should be another eye-opener for aspiring players.

“These younger players can touch and feel (these World Cup-bound players) now and not just watch TV and say I wish I know that person — they are here. They are coming from the same barracks as some of these kids and they are educated going to college, graduating and playing professional sports now, so they are putting their careers on hold.

“But they are very intelligent young women, so as staff it makes it a lot easier for us when we are giving them information and for them to reciprocate. Sometimes they are a little hard-headed, but that's the competitive spirit in them,” Menzies reasoned.

That said, the tactician, in lauding the team's performances over the past few months, also restated some encouraging words for the World Cup-bound players just ahead of yesterday's departure for the Miami camp.

The Reggae Girlz have been unbeaten since qualification, racking up a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest Ladies, 1-0 and 3-2 scorelines over Chile, followed by a 1-1 draw against South Africa.

And they continued their rich vein of form with a 3-1 beating of Concacaf rivals Panama inside the National Stadium on Sunday.

Following their Miami camp, the Girlz will head to England for a friendly against Scotland, another of the first-time Fifa World Cup finalists, before heading to France for the June 7-July 7 World Cup Finals. They are drawn in Group C alongside Australia, Brazil and Italy.

“We want to go out there and prove to the rest of the world that we belong. We are the smallest nation going to the World Cup and the lowest ranked team, but we have already beaten teams way ahead of us,” Menzies noted.

“You have to understand that we are better than what we think we are and nobody in the world can compete with us; we can compete with anybody physically, we are the best in the world and we have to believe that.

“We are going to go out to France and do the best that we can and whatever the outcome is, we know that this is just a little part of the journey and hopefully we can bring home the U-17, U-20s and PanAm Games (titles), everything that we want to work and strive for,” he ended.


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