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Support US ... Reggae Girl calls for support, points to positive examples

Published:Saturday | February 6, 2016 | 2:00 AMShayne Fairman
Tashana Vincent
Reggae Girls player and Rhodes Scholar 2016 Sherona Forrester.
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Standout Reggae Girls attacker Tashana Vincent is lamenting the lack of support and recognition for female football in Jamaica, while also admitting that the perception that all players are homosexuals have affected the sport.

"It is hard as a female footballer. One, there is a lot of stigma that follows the game, where every female is considered to be a particular way (lesbian)," Vincent told The Gleaner.

"That is definitely not so," she added.

Having committed herself to the programme and having scored 28 goals in 32 appearances at different levels, Vincent was quick to make it known that she would continue to play with all her heart for Jamaica.

The 28-year-old Mico University student believes that she would no doubt have received more plaudits if she was a Reggae Boy, adding that for her, football is not a means to an end, but a "passion".

"I don't think the public appreciates the effort we put in out there. I think we get more disrespect than commendations, and I think we deserve to be put to the forefront and deserve to get help not only from the Jamaica Football Federation" she said.

Vincent's career spans over 14 years. It began at the Portsmouth Primary School, but she had to leave that school for Waterford Primary, where she could play the sport she loved from grade five.

Her educational pursuits then led her to Wolmer's Girls, Middle Georgia School, and now Mico University College. The player maintains that despite the stigma, criticism, and lack of adequate respect and acknowledgement, she is always motivated to excel and would do it all over again.

"I've always said I wanted to prepare myself for the future and also align myself where I can help youngsters. .... I made my debut at age 14, and I wasn't really in need of money at that point because I was living at home with my parents, but now I am 28, I have different priorities. We have bills to pay and we are not being paid to play. There is where the problem is," she said.

Vincent said that she has seen persons become multimillionaires from football and that she hopes that with her education, she will be able to take care of herself financially.

"It is an ungrateful sport, but it has done a lot for me. It has afforded me the opportunity to get a college education even though I travel the world and see a lot of persons playing football," she said.

While thanking ambassador for the national programme, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation, Vincent is also appealing to corporate Jamaica to assist.

Vincent also congratulated current Reggae Girl-Rhodes Scholar Sherona Forrester for being an example for the sport and Jamaica.

"I must commend Sherona. The media tend to shed a negative light on the programme as if all we do is negative, and I must say that Sherona is a perfect example of players within the programme that just need an opportunity to propel themselves forward," she said.