Girlz homecoming for September, JFF to use US1.8m for development
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts said arrangements are being made to commemorate next month, the Reggae Girlz historic campaign in the Women's World Cup, with general secretary Dennis Chung outlining plans for the funds that have been designated for the JFF from the competition.
The Jamaica-based contingent was expected to arrive on Thursday, but runways issues at Sangster International Airport delayed their flights until Friday.
Ricketts, at a press conference at the JFF offices on Thursday, said that plans are being formulated for next month to honour the World Cup round of 16 qualification by the Reggae Girlz as they get ready for their Olympic Games qualifying first-leg tie with Canada on September 22.
Ricketts said the organisers, who include Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, wanted to wait until all the players were together, with several currently travelling back to their home bases.
"Most of the girls are domiciled overseas. Four of them are coming back to Jamaica. We will be having discussions with Minister Grange in this regard. We are looking to when they all are here in September to plan some form of a homecoming," Ricketts said.
"As it is now, it is a challenge because most of them would be going to their respective places of abode, but we will definitely be putting plans in place for when they are here for the qualifiers in September."
Ricketts also said there will be plans for the Jamaica-based contingent to meet them at the airport.
Meanwhile, FIFA is expected to pay out US$1.8 million (approximately $270,000,000) to the JFF for the Reggae Girlz finish, money that Chung said will be used for local development.
"We look at total football development and what is needed to carry football forward. There needs to be a lot of emphasis on the girls and girls' development which we have been working on. We have a talent development scheme.
"I hear people saying we need to set up this development league, and it just doesn't work like that. What we are doing is getting people to play football. Once we have people playing football from an early age, we will see the development because it makes no sense setting up a league and you have no participants," Chung said.
He pointed out the just-concluded Jamaica Women's Premier League season and the difficulties they encountered completing the competition.
"It was tough to push through. Sometimes people (clubs) just weren't available to play, and that's because we don't have enough women playing football in Jamaica from an early age. That is what we are trying to encourage," Chung said.