Football rules again – Ricketts

July 02, 2019
Panama’s Fidel Escobar (left) and Jamaica’s Junior Flemmings battle for the ball during the first half of a Concacaf Gold Cup match on Sunday in Philadelphia. Jamaica won 1-0 to progress to the semi-finals.
Panama’s Fidel Escobar (left) and Jamaica’s Junior Flemmings battle for the ball during the first half of a Concacaf Gold Cup match on Sunday in Philadelphia. Jamaica won 1-0 to progress to the semi-finals.
Havana Solaun celebrates with Khadija Shaw (right) moments after scoring the team’s first goal in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France, on Tuesday, June 18. Jamaica lost 4-1.
Havana Solaun celebrates with Khadija Shaw (right) moments after scoring the team’s first goal in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France, on Tuesday, June 18. Jamaica lost 4-1.
Ricketts
Ricketts
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Michael Ricketts, president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), believes that Jamaica's football is slowly taking its place as the pride of Jamaican sports fans.

One of the most popular sports in the island, football has seen its stock fall among Jamaican sports fans with the world-beating performances of the island's track and field stars and the Reggae Boyz's inconsistencies helping to shift the balance.

However, Ricketts believes the Reggae Girlz's qualification and participation in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and the Reggae Boyz's steady progress in the region over the past five years are factors helping to move football back to the front burner.

"At the Honduras (Concacaf Gold Cup) game a few weeks ago, when the Boyz were walking out on the field, you could hear the people saying, Thank you, JFF for giving us this again," Ricketts told STAR Sports.

Just under 18,000 spectators turned up at the National Stadium to witness Jamaica beat Honduras 3-2 in their opening Concacaf Gold Cup match, the first in the competition to be played in the Caribbean. It was the largest crowd to show up at the National Stadium for a Reggae Boyz match since February 2013 when the team drew 1-1 with Panama in a pivotal World Cup Qualifier.

Ricketts said he expects the support to increase as the Reggae Boyz make another deep run in the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament this year.

"Jamaicans like winners, and we are winning now, so I expect it (support) to get better," he said.

Jamaica beat Panama 1-0 on Sunday to book a spot in the semi-final where they will play the United States tomorrow.

"It will certainly be another positive for this administration if we win the Gold Cup and we have the mental strength, the skills and the players to do this, and we are looking forward to it, but we want to execute well against the United States on Wednesday," Ricketts said.

Jamaica were beaten by Mexico and the USA, respectively, in the last two finals of the competition.

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