The Reggae Girlz have once again been plunged into a climate of uncertainty ahead of the most crucial leg of their World Cup qualifying campaign. This comes after the revelation that the Vin Blaine-led coaching staff has received a vote of no confidence from the Reggae Girlz squad.
One can recall the Girlz being placed under a similar cloud of controversy prior to their historic qualification run in 2019, on that occasion famed Jamaican entrepreneur Cedella Marley had to step in and provide the necessary assistance for the Girlz to complete their campaign.
This time around, the major concerns that have surfaced amongst the current group of players is their lack of trust in Blaine and his coaching staff. The players have even gone as far as to send an eighteen point letter to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) about the issue. The letter, which contained the signature of 20 senior Reggae Girlz players, highlighted among other things, the coaches’ lack of communication, lack of professionalism, the lack of a proper game strategy and tactical sessions. All in all, there is a general feeling amongst the players that Blaine is not the right man to lead the Girlz into the next round of World Cup qualification.
The JFF have since released a statement stating that its technical committee have decided to continue with Vin Blaine at the helm leading the program. But, if the players continue to show a lack of faith in the current coaching team, where does that leave the national senior women’s program and its bid to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup tournament?
The constant turmoil and controversy surrounding both the nation’s senior football teams speaks more to the incompetencies of the football administration than anything else. In fact, it is a mere embarrassment, especially on the international scene, that the JFF refuses to take responsibility for the perpetual issues that plague the nation’s football program.
In addition, the Girlz have also been struck with the declaration by the JFF that there is simply not enough funds to provide even more assistance during their World Cup qualifying campaign. Yes, the same issue the JFF had prior to the country’s debut in France 2019. The administration recently came out in April and requested the assistance of the government with the upcoming cost for the second round of World Cup qualifications which will commence in July. The recent qualifying draw saw the Girlz drawn into the same group as world champions USA, rivals Mexico and neighbours Haiti.
Despite receiving $10 million dollars from the Ministry of Sports earlier this year, Dalton Wint, general secretary of the JFF, said that the cost for the campaign will take much more, somewhere in the region of $100 million.
Being in situations that often lead the team to wonder where their future lies has surely caused the Girlz to feel underappreciated. It is rather unfortunate, as the Reggae Girlz have brought this country more success than any other international football team in the last five years yet their position on the list of priorities for the JFF and the Ministry of Sports seem to always be in question. The players have represented the country well, with many team members labelled as key players for some of the biggest clubs in European football.
Professionally, Jamaica’s women have been brilliant on the field, leading the country into the second round of qualifying without losing a game and scoring twenty-four goals in four games during the process. However, the real work starts in the second round and the team will need as much support and reassurance as possible to ensure that they give maximum effort in what will be their toughest task yet.