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Reggae Girlz Coach Busby revels in Fifa rise, but...

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 03, 2020

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While welcoming the latest move by Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz in the Fifa/Coco-Cola World Rankings, Coach Hubert Busby reiterated the need for sustained investments and proper planning to ensure the female programme continues its ascension.

Despite a failed Olympic qualifying campaign earlier this year, which saw them slipping from 1,461 points to 1,460 points, Jamaica moved one place up from 51 into the top 50 for the first time in the history of the programme.

The Jamaicans remained the fifth-ranked team in Concacaf behind world leaders United States, eighth-ranked Canada, 27th-ranked Mexico and Costa Rica, ranked at 36th.

Busby, who was at the helm for the Olympic qualifiers, believes the latest move, which came on March 27, is testament to the collaborative efforts of stakeholders to include the players, coaching staff, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and ambassador Cedella Marley, among others, over the past few years.

He pointed to the June 2018 ranking for added significance, as back then, the Girlz were ranked 71st in the world and seventh in Concacaf.

That said, Busby declared that the goal now is to work their way 10 places up into the top 40 and possibly top three in the confederation, but in the same breath, stressed the need for continued support.

“The latest ranking is indicative of the work of players and obviously the coaching staff and everyone involved with the programme over the last five years. But the expectations for the programme remain the same as we want to be one of the top three teams in Concacaf and obviously top 40 if not higher in the world.

“I mean at the end of the day, we truly believe that there's enough potential to do that, but again it comes down to the right investment, planning and opportunities for the players to showcase their skills,” Busby told the Jamaica Observer from his Jacksonville base yesterday.

He continued: “Because getting together every two to three months isn't going to get you into the top-40, so having regular games against top 40 oppositions is going to allow for us to be a top-40 nation... and again, just making sure that you know the programme from the U-15, U-17 and U-20 is up to par.

“And then even possibly implementing a U-23 system with players who are not quite ready for the senior team, but are obviously a little bit past the U-20 cycle, where we can have camps for them to do something to broaden that base of players, which can be very beneficial to the programme.

Though the senior Reggae Girlz cycle ended after the Olympic qualifiers, Busby revealed that there were some discussions about keeping the team together in competition mode.

However, those plans folded due to the widespread outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has been wreaking havoc across the globe.

“There were plans in place to do something with the senior woman's team. Obviously, we know it's very important to keep that group together for possible upcoming friendlies, and by extension, the World Cup qualifiers in the next year and a half. So there were already some plans that were put in place, obviously that is now on hold because of the pandemic, but we definitely want to continue the progress needed not only with the woman's team, but the other programmes as well,” Busby noted.


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