Tue | Jun 18, 2019

High hopes - JFF, Grange confident of Reggae Girlz advancing from World Cup Group C

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 12:21 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Sport Minister Olivia Grange (centre) and Caribbean Airlines director Zachary Harding (right) chat with members of Jamaica''s senior women''s football team at a farewell event hosted by sponsor Caribbean Airlines at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.
Sport Minister Olivia Grange (centre) and Caribbean Airlines director Zachary Harding (right) chat with members of Jamaica''s senior women''s football team at a farewell event hosted by sponsor Caribbean Airlines at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.

Jamaica senior women’s football team head coach Hue Menzies says he is very confident that the Reggae Girlz will make it into the second round of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

The Reggae Girlz, who will be making their debut at the tournament, are drawn in Group C with Brazil, Italy, and Australia.

Menzies told The Gleaner that he has scouted all the teams in the Reggae Girlz’s group, and based on the information that they have received, he is feeling very optimistic that the Jamaicans will make it through to the next phase of the competition.

“We have to be in it to win it, so we have to believe, and we feel that we have as much a chance as the rest of the teams that are there that we will advance to the next phase of the competition,” Menzies said at a send-off ceremony for the Girlz at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.

“The girls are confident because we are on a bit of a streak ourselves, and some of the other teams are going through a little bit of an individual turmoil, so hopefully, we can capitalise and do well in the group,” he said.

“It would mean leaps and bounds for us if we should advance from the group, but this is just a stop on the journey because we have more work to do beyond the World Cup.”

Sport Minister Olivia Grange, who was in attendance at the event, is also confident that the team will do well in France.

“Their motto is ‘Strike hard,’ so I want them to look at the letters in the motto and to find ways to stay focus, train hard, and be humble,” she said.

“Work hard as a team, care about your teammates, and go out there with the Jamaican edge, because although we are a small country, we have made history by qualifying for the World Cup in France.

“We have been able, so far, to display the kind of focus and results that we want, so I just want them to stay the course and remember that they have an entire nation behind them when they get to France.”

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts said Menzies’ hopes are justified because the Reggae Girlz have produced impressive results in their build-up to the tournament.

“I think that they are in good physical and mental shape, having signed contracts,” he said. “I think that they will do well and we are looking forward to them going to at least the second round of the World Cup.

“We have showed that we have some quality and we have played two teams that are actually in the World Cup. We have beaten Chile twice and we played to a 1-1 draw against South Africa, so that could be an indication that we are on par with some of the top teams in the world.”

The Reggae Girlz will get their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign started on June 9 against Brazil. They will play Italy on June 14 and Australia on June 18.