Fri | Apr 23, 2021

Girlz will not be left behind - JFF promises to prioritise women’s senior programme

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 12:17 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Ricketts
Ricketts

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Michael Ricketts, insisted that the national senior women’s team will not be left behind regarding potential friendlies and camps ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, which start in...

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Michael Ricketts, insisted that the national senior women’s team will not be left behind regarding potential friendlies and camps ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, which start in November.

In a virtual press conference on Monday in which the federation announced the United States as the Reggae Boyz’s next opponents for the upcoming March international window, Ricketts underlined his commitment to ensuring that the Girlz would get the adequate preparation required, to compete for back-to-back World Cup finals appearances.

“We will do as best as we can to ensure that preparation is at a premium. So, we’ll definitely have discussions with coach (Hubert) Busby and our woman’s committee and the competitions committee,” Ricketts said. “We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that they (women’s team) get as much as their male counterparts, and that they will be very well prepared for their qualifiers as well.”

The senior women have not been assembled for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their last tournament was the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifiers, which took place in the United States in late January. Plans for an overseas friendly in Europe as well as a European camp last year had to be put on hold because of the evolving health situation.

TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES

Senior women’s team manager, Jean Nelson, outlined the logistical difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“A lot of things are happening with the pandemic. A player was telling me even if she wanted to go to the United States now to look for her family, she can’t go because clubs don’t want you to probably travel because you have to come back and do a 14-day quarantine. So, there are a lot of factors, especially with the professional players,” said Nelson.

According to the revised international women’s football calendar, the Reggae Girlz will have four opportunities to stage international games before the start of November qualifiers. Those spots would include windows in April, June, September and October. The region’s revamped qualification format coincides with the Women’s World Cup’s expansion to 32 teams. Four teams will automatically qualify for the 2023 tournament, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com