PM, sports minister pledge support to Reggae Girlz
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has assured that the Government will assist the Reggae Girlz in their build-up to the Women's World Cup in France next year.
The team qualified for the FIFA tournament for the first time yesterday evening, after a nail-biting 4-2 penalty kick win over Panama.
Jamaica is the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Women's World Cup.
Speaking on TVJ's All Angles news programme via telephone last night after the game, Holness noted the views that there was an imbalance in the funding for male sports programmes compared to that of women.
"I believe it is something that the Government should look into, and I have given directions that that be done," he said.
When asked by host Dionne Jackson-Miller if the assistance would come in the lead-up to France 2019, Holness said: "We have to do it now. We can't afford for our team to be embarrassed having worked so hard ... so we have to ensure that they are properly funded."
He lauded the team for flying the Jamaican flag high and for "continuing to add value to brand Jamaica".
He also mentioned the Sunshine Girls netball team as he underlined how Jamaica's female athletes have made the country proud.
"They (the netball and football teams) are doing an amazing job and they deserve no less than our best," he said.
Sports Minister Olivia Grange also said it was a glorious day and a historic achievement, lauding the team for achieving the goal, despite overcoming several challenges.
"At my office, we followed every kick ... it was a wonderful and glorious feeling," she said.
Grange admitted there was gender imbalance in sports funding overall, and assured that she was trying to fix that.
She said she made a monetary commitment to the Reggae Girlz during the qualification campaign and vowed to back it up.
"We're going to sit down with the JFF and work out the numbers," she said.
Opposition spokesperson on Sport, Natalie Neita, said: "This qualification is an excellent example that as we celebrate the heroic work of our ancestors this month, the Reggae Girlz have proven that they are among our modern day sporting heroines."