Wednesday 17 October 2018, 16:00

Reggae Girlz's historic qualification goes beyond football

  • Jamaica qualify for FIFA Women's World Cup for first time in history

  • Become first Caribbean nation to book ticket to world finals

  • Head coach Hue Menzies reacts, rounds up their statistics

17 October 2018: That will be a date which will have a special place of significance in Jamaican football history forever. The Reggae Girlz became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on that date, defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties after an extra-time 2-2 draw in the match for third place at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the region’s qualifying tournament for France 2019.

Casual observers may have seen the spot-kick decider and the resulting celebrations from the women in the yellow jerseys and perhaps thought it was just another team winning a penalty shoot-out. But it was far more than that.

Let Jamaica head coach Hue Menzies give some context to the moment.

“I'm telling you the amount of sacrifices we've made - the staff, the players - for the country, we're going to change the culture back home,” Menzies said. “How they perceive women, it's changed.

“It’s a big sacrifice. And you know what? Those 20 girls decided they were going to make the change. It’s amazing right now. Not too many words can be said.

“This is way more than football,” Menzies continued. “Big up to Cedella Marley for putting the neck on the line for us. The thank-yous can’t stop. The sacrifices will still keep plugging, the adversities will always be there, but I’m telling you it’s a lot more than football. This is just a statement. We’re going to go back home and celebrate. There’s not a whole lot of space on that island, but we’re going to find every inch to celebrate on because it’s history.”

Jamaica’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship in stats

  • Scored the third-most amount of total goals (12)

  • Received just two yellow cards all tournament

  • Tallied the third-most amount of total assists (9)

  • Khadija Shaw, Konya Plummer, Deneisha Blackwood and Chinyelu Asher started and played all five games

  • Jody Brown was the team’s top scorer (4) and won the tournament’s young player award

  • Plummer led the tournament in interceptions (13)

Did you know?

The Reggae Girlz will be playing in their first-ever world finals in France next year, the same country where the Jamaican men's national team competed in their first-ever FIFA World Cup™ in 1998.