Jamaica has extra reason to celebrate after success at Women’s World Cup

Jamaica Fifa Women's World Cup

Jamaica’s Deneisha Blackwood and Jamaica’s Tiernny Wiltshire celebrate after drawing a 0-0 tie during the Women’s World Cup Group F soccer match between Jamaica and Brazil in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Victoria Adkins)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica’s “Reggae Girlz” gave their small island nation even more reason to celebrate its upcoming Independence Day on Sunday after the national football team drew with Brazil 0-0 to advance to the last 16 of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

The country’s sports minister, Olivia Grange, described Wednesday’s performance as “undoubtedly the proudest moment so far in Jamaica’s football history.”

But some supporters also criticized the lack of support for the team before the tournament with family, friends and fans having to help cover expenses by crowdfunding.

Grange reacted minutes after Jamaica ended Brazil’s hopes at the World Cup.

“I could not help shedding a few tears. Tears of joy,” Grange said on Instagram. “These have been magnificent performances by the Reggae Girlz for Jamaica in this World Cup. Words can hardly describe how well they have done.”

Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, posted “HISTORIC!” on Facebook, adding “Jamaica! Best in the world.”

Scores of Jamaicans could be seen tracking the progress of the Reggae Girlz on their phones. A small group of people huddled in a section of Half Way Tree in the capital Kingston, and celebrated at the final whistle.

“They gone through?” a man asked as he hurriedly made his way to work while a motorist waved the Jamaican flag with pride from a BMW while proceeding through morning traffic.

Jamaica’s football governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation, also reacted with “literal tears in our eyes.”

“History is being made right in front (of) our eyes,” the JFF said.

In the middle of the celebrations, some fans took the opportunity to criticize the lack of financial support, and called for the team to be properly financed.

In June, the Reggae Girlz released a statement on social media expressing their “utmost disappointment with the Jamaica Football Federation.”

A typical online comment Wednesday praised the team’s success while adding “but no thanks to their federation.”

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