Giving 'Full' backing! - Former national striker urges more support for Girlz
Former national striker Ricardo Fuller says that corporate Jamaica and the Government should give all possible financial support to the senior national women's team for them to have the best possible chance of doing well in the World Cup in France next year.
The ex-Stoke City star is impressed by what he sees as growth in the women's game in Jamaica and said that it was no surprise that the Reggae Girlz qualified.
"I watched one game (live). I went to the stadium, and to be honest, I wasn't thinking much of it, but when I got there, I loved it. I haven't watched much women's football, but I never expected it to be so exciting. There was even the full blowing of horns like it was the men playing. I was shocked even though I knew that at this level, it should be like this. But having not seen it before and to go and actually watch it, trust me, it wasn't much different from the men, and now I know why they qualified," he surmised.
"They ended up qualifying for the final round, and now, they have qualified (for the World Cup), but I read the papers recently and heard them complaining about finances again. But we should just get behind the Girlz like they got behind the Boyz in '98 when all these companies sponsored players.
MAKE PLAYERS COMFORTABLE
"We had a programme where individual players were sponsored by different companies, so we need to put back these things in place. It is important. For players to perform at their best, they have to be comfortable. They have nothing to worry about except concentrating solely on football.
"So the best chance for them to do well in France is to support them financially, physically, psychologically, in every way, and we will have a better chance of doing well with the females in France," he reasoned.
Sports Minister Olivia Grange recently announced plans to give the team a belated celebration parade. But Fuller believes it is too late to capture the euphoria of that qualification moment. He thinks they should use the parade as a send-off to France for the Girlz, and this, he says, would boost confidence and morale going into the finals.
"They should have done it shortly after the qualification, but it could be a blessing in disguise," he said. "So they must do it just before they fly off. Show them the love. Give them the energy going into the start of the tournament. You never did it that time, so you have to do it smartly now. Do it just before they leave for the tournament to improve their confidence, and show them that we are behind them. I think that's the way to do it. That will help them uplift their morale, and that is very important," he said.