Upbeat Girlz seek World Cup spot again - Price: We are focused on beating the Panamanians
Approximately 6 o'clock this evening Jamaica's Reggae Girlz, and an entire nation, could be celebrating a historic qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
Jamaica female footballers, FIFA's 64th ranked team, have been knocking on the door of World Cup qualification for nearly two decades and this evening the Girlz have their best ever chance. They will face Central American rivals Panama in the play-off for third spot at the CONCACAF Women's Championship in Frisco, Texas. Kick-off time is 4 p.m. The winners will qualify automatically for France while the fourth placed team will move on to face Argentina in a two-way home-and-away play-off for a final spot to France from this region.
Despite a 6-0 mauling at the hands of World champions United States, Jamaica's assistant coach Andrew Price, said they have already put that behind them and are fully focused on the mission at hand.
"We are definitely still upbeat," he said. "We are now focused on beating the Panamanians on Wednesday and getting to the World Cup. This will definitely be the biggest game of the young ladies' lives, so we are determined to end it (qualification failures) on Wednesday."
"If the Girlz fail to beat the Panamanians tomorrow they will have to use up their final opportunity to realise their dreams of playing in the World Cup by playing Argentina for a playoff spot," he told The Gleaner.
However, he pointed that Panama, ranked 66th by FIFA, have been the surprise team in the tournament and should not be taken lightly.
"We played against the defending World champions and the number one team in the world and they were playing at home. The margins are very small and you can't make any errors. We always knew that we had to win one of two games in this round and now it has come down to the Panama game," Price stated.
Jamaica, will again look to leading scorer Jody Brown with three goals, Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw (two), Keneisha Blackwood, Gisell Washington, Konya Plummer, and Chinleyu Asher to lead the team to victory.
Panama play a similar counter-attacking style like Jamaica and, as a result, Price insists they should not be taken for granted.
The top players for the Central Americans are forward Lineth Cedeno who has scored once in the tournament and midfielder Kenis Rangle, who also has one goal.
The women's champions of CONCACAF will be decided at 7 p.m. when the United States oppose neighbours Canada.