Ricketts, Donaldson praise Girlz for determination
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts and assistant coach of Jamaica's senior women football team, Lorne Donaldson, both heaped praise on the Reggae Girlz after they came out on top of Group B, in the CONCACAF Caribbean Women's Qualifiers (CCWQ).
The Jamaicans took a step closer to a place in the CONCACAF Championship, which serves as the World Cup qualifying tournament.
Jamaica went down 2-0 against hosts Haiti on Sunday at the Stade Sylvio Cator, but clawed back for a 2-2 draw and a crucial point that earned them a spot in the Caribbean final phase, scheduled on August 25-September 2, at a venue to be named.
The Reggae Girlz and Haiti ended the group on seven points apiece, however, Jamaica ended with a plus 16 goal difference to finish ahead of Haiti, who had a plus-13 difference.
Cuba also qualified as they topped Group A. The other three qualifiers will come from groups C, D and E, which will be played next month.
"It was a fantastic game with approximately 15,000 fans in an intense atmosphere. The Haiti team went up 2-0 in the first half and we fought back when Trudi Carter pulled back a goal before half-time. Then Khadija Shaw scored a wonderful free-kick. We earned a crucial point to top the group," Donaldson told The Gleaner yesterday.
"I have seen a lot of women's games and this is one of the best I have ever seen. It was a tense game and the level of play was great from both teams. It was a very difficult game to play in and I think our girls deserved a lot of credit," he reflected.
"We have a good squad so, hopefully, we can continue to show the Jamaican public, so they can appreciate women's football. Obviously, I like our chances as we have some quality players in the squad," he said about the next stage.
Meanwhile, Ricketts also offered his commendation to the team, for topping their group.
"I know it was challenging with a report of over 11,000 persons in attendance in the final deciding match, the vast majority cheering on Haiti. From all accounts, the 'Girlz' showed determination and resolve, as well as good tactical and technical skills," Ricketts sated in a release sent yesterday morning.
"The coaching staff must also be highly commended for strategically ensuring that the team accumulated enough goals in the event, that goal difference became the deciding factor."
The president also expressed appreciation to the Ambassador of Jamaica's women's football programme, Cedella Marley, for her efforts to secure funding and ensure that a pre-tournament camp was held in Orlando.
The release further noted that the JFF will do all within its capabilities to ensure the squad gets the necessary support and preparation to do well in the next stage and continue the tradition of Jamaica's national women's teams qualifying for the CONCACAF Rounds of all age group qualifiers.
After the Caribbean Champion-ship, the top three countries will represent the Caribbean alongside Canada, Mexico, the United States of America and two teams from Central America. A total of eight nations, will participate in the CONCACAF tournament from October 4-17, 2018 in the USA.
The top three teams will qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France in 2019. While, the fourth-placed team will advance to a play-off against the third place team from CONMEBOL.