Jamaica News: Jamaica’s senior national women’s football team, the Reggae Girlz, was feted in fine style by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during a reception he hosted in the team’s honour at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday (December 17).
The women, who made history in October this year by qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, entered the ballroom to much fanfare and applause from the huge audience that turned out to celebrate their achievement with them.
They were treated to lively performances by the ASHE Performing Arts Company and Orisha Sound.
The evening was topped off by the high-energy performance of popular dancehall entertainer, Ding Dong, who incited the Girlz to get up and dance.
Prime Minister Holness, with the team’s image displayed on three large screens on the stage behind him, spoke with admiration as he thanked them for bringing pride to the nation.
Mr. Holness said he especially admired the team spirit among the women, who all get along as sisters.
“That is the first step towards victory – when you can work together in unity, as one cohesive group,” he said.
Reliving the moments leading up to the Girlz making history, the Prime Minister recalled that when the Jamaican team was down two goals, “that would be enough to send home any team of people made of lesser stuff,” but the Girlz persevered.
“What gave us the edge is that energy, that passion, and above all else, that discipline to stay together, train, work hard, and do what is necessary on the field to win,” he said.
He reminded that the country’s size should be seen as an advantage because Jamaica has always performed “way above its weight class”.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the football team could win the World Cup competition, which takes place in France next year.
Mr. Holness also acknowledged the “great work” of Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation in being the critical sponsor of the Reggae Girlz.
“That kind of philanthropic assistance should always be acknowledged, and I encourage other Jamaicans of means to come on board and join this effort,” he said, noting that he would be holding discussions with head coach of the Reggae Girlz, Hue Menzies; and President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, regarding his own personal contribution.
In the meantime, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the Reggae Girlz’ qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a major achievement – not just for them but for women across the country.
“Because of the Reggae Girlz, young women are confident to dream – dream big dreams – and know that dreams do come true. This achievement provides us with an opportunity to change the game for women and girls everywhere – not only in sports but in every area of life,” she said.
She noted that this is the high point of the four-day-long celebrations for the Girlz, which also saw them being presented with the Keys to Montego Bay, Spanish Town and Kingston during civic ceremonies. They are to be presented with the keys to St. Ann’s Bay this evening.
A praise, worship and thanksgiving concert was also held for the Girlz at Emancipation Park on December 16. They also participated in a motorcade beginning at G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine and ending at the Tony Spaulding Complex in St Andrew.
“We want to acknowledge and pay maximum respect to these high achievers and to tell their stories in the hope that they will help to make a difference, just by their presence, just by being yourselves and just by achieving excellence,” Miss Grange said.
Jamaica defeated Panama in the recent CONCACAF Women’s Championship to become the first Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Source: JIS News