Reggae Girlz a point away
Swaby header delivers first World Cup win for Jamaica, Caribbean
In the absence of captain Khadija Shaw, national defender Allyson Swaby took the mantle of leadership on the field and delivered an early Emancipation Day gift to Jamaica, making history in the process and putting them in control over their own destiny in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Reggae Girlz edged Panama 1-0 in their second Group F game yesterday in Perth, Australia, thanks to a player-of-the-match performance from Swaby whose header in the 56th minute was enough to knock their Concacaf rivals from contention and secured their first-ever win in Women’s World Cup history. It is also the first win for any Caribbean nation at the Women’s World Cup.
With France beating Brazil 2-1 in the earlier game, it intensified Jamaica’s need to get maximum points from Panama.
Promising a dogfight to the finish, head coach Lorne Donaldson said despite a lack of cutting edge in front of goal, he is satisfied that they have taken a crucial step towards qualification to the knockout round.
“I don’t know if it was wasteful or if it was nerves. There were a lot of jitters and butterflies because most of the time we are not favoured to win a game. So that’s very difficult to carry that burden,” Donaldson said.
“That’s why I think there was some wastefulness in front of goal. I don’t think we were clinical. But we got the one that counted and that’s all that matters right now.”
Jamaica had put the pressure on in the first half but were wasteful in front of goal.
But their historic result came through Swaby, who was captaining the side in the absence of suspended Shaw. Shaw was sent off in the Reggae Girlz’s 0-0 draw against France. The team paid tribute to Shaw, holding her jersey high during the celebrations as the suspended skipper watched from the stands.
Donaldson praised the play of his vice-captain and for the leadership she displayed, as well as the execution of the game-winner, which came straight off the training ground.
“I was overjoyed because we did some practice yesterday and the same corner kicks and our attention span was like a two-year-old. And I was like OK, maybe it is going to happen in the game,” Donaldson said. “I’m happy for Allyson. She has worked hard and she was the captain tonight (yesterday) also. So there was a lot of burden she had to carry for Jamaica and I’m glad she got the finish.”
Swaby not only made history in producing Jamaica’s first win in tournament history, but also anchored a back line that has now kept two consecutive clean sheets. Calling the goal the stuff of dreams, she was pleased to be able to provide the spark that was needed.
“It’s something that you dream about when you play in a World Cup. I’m happy that I could do it and happy that I could be a difference-maker today,” Swaby said.
“That was definitely the hardest match that we have played against them (Panama). It’s exciting. It just means that Concacaf is growing.
What it has done is put the Girlz’s destiny in their own hands, needing only a draw against Brazil in their final group game on Wednesday to advance to the knockout round. It is the scenario that Swaby hoped they would be in.
“It keeps our dream of getting out of the group alive. We know we have one more game to fight through and I think we are happy that we are still in a position to compete here now,” Swaby said.
Possession 47% 53%
Shots 20 13
Shots on Target 4 4
Total Passes 332 360
Pass Completion 74% 70%
Yellow Cards 1 2
Red Cards 0 0
Corners 9 7
Jamaica XI: Rebecca Spencer, Allyson Swaby (c), Chantelle Swaby, Deniesha Blackwood, Tiffany Cameron (Tierny Wiltshire 87th), Atlanta Primus (Peyton McNamara 87th minute), Vyan Sampson, Drew Spence, Jody Brown (Solai Washington 80th minute), Trudi Carter (Cheyna Matthews 60th minute, Kayla McKenna (Kameron Simmonds 80th minute)