By Aldwyn McGill
Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz sent a warning to their world cup opponents at the International Friendly match against Panama last Sunday night in Jamaica. The game was played at the National Stadium in Kingston and before the largest crowd the Girlz had ever played in Jamaica.
This was a farewell match for local Jamaicans who showed up in great numbers in appreciation of the Reggae Girlz played Jamaica into the history books as the first Caribbean team to reach the finals of a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Reggae Girlz defeated Panama 3-1 and besides making all the Caribbean proud their performance indicated that they are not going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France just to make up the number of teams in the tournament but this team is tournament ready to advance to the knock out stage.
What will they face in France is a different subject but what they did in Kingston was amazing. They fed off the energy of their home crowd and as the marquee forward (11) Khadija “Bunny” Shaw set up the insurance goal after scoring the first two goals.
She opened the game’s scoring in the 28th minute and scored her second in the 49th that put the Reggae Girlz in a commanding 2-0 lead. However, it was the nifty Panamanian striker Natalia Mills who produced one of her many moments of brilliance in the 64th minute to put her team back in contention with a beautiful goal.
Not to be outdone, Khadija Shaw split two Panama defenders down the right flank in the 78th minute before crossing to her Captain Skakira Duncan’s for her to score just inside the 18-yard box for the Reggae Girlz to win the match 3-1.
The Reggae Girlz are now in South Florida where they will be in a short camp before playing a friendly match against Scotland in Edinburgh on May 28. Jamaica is in Group C of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup where they kick off the campaign against Brazil on June 9 at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.
The Girlz then play Italy at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on June 14 and against Australia in their third match at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on June 18. Stay Tune for Caribbean Camera exclusive coverage of Jamaica Reggae Girlz and Canada at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France.