Reggae Girlz should be celebrated

October 19, 2018
Jamaica's Allyson Swaby (right) and teammates Chantelle Swaby (second right), Khadija Shaw (center), Jody Brown (left), Trudi Carter (second left) and Giselle Washington celebrate a goal during their 4-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago at the Concacaf Caribbean Women's Qualifiers at the National Stadium in August.

Watching Jamaica's Reggae Girlz singing the first verse of the national anthem in wild celebration on Wednesday night brought tears to my eyes. There they were, women from different backgrounds, different circumstances, coming together to create history.

It was the first time that a Jamaican women's football team has been able to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup. Twenty years after the Reggae Boyz qualified for their first and only World Cup appearance in France in 1998, our women are following suit.

Personally, I could not be more proud of what these women have achieved, especially considering how difficult the journey was. Lack of funding and absence of local fan support and other issues could have discouraged these women from passionately pursuing their goals.

Had it not been for Cedella Marley and her family, perhaps we would have been here today wondering what might have been. Instead, we are celebrating another historic achievement in the life of this great country.




The success of the Reggae Girlz is more than that, however. Their success on Wednesday night, defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties after twice conceding leads, is the epitome of what is possible when we come together to achieve a common goal for the betterment of us all.

In a country so often divided among political, social and economic lines, Wednesday night showed us that rich, poor and middle-class Jamaicans all have the same ambitions. We all want to lead better lives, a dream that constantly eludes us because we spend more time despising each other rather than finding ways to work together.

In a week when Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had a statue unveiled in her honour, there were people being critical of the statue rather than understanding its significance. The athlete herself expressed pride of having a statue in her honour, cementing her legacy as a great Jamaican sprinter and one of the best of all time. Yet, instead of celebrating with her, some found something to complain about. Something to divide us.

The Reggae Girlz showed us that it does not have to be that way.

From Negril to Morant Point, I am certain every Jamaican was proud of what was achieved two nights ago, a great feat accomplished against greater odds. We have it within ourselves to emulate that, but first we need to come together.

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