(AFP) — Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson appealed for the whole country to get behind women’s football so that the team’s World Cup run, which ended on Tuesday in the last 16, does not go to waste.
The Reggae Girlz lost 1-0 to Colombia in Melbourne but leave with their heads held high after winning a World Cup game for the first time ever during the tournament and drawing with Brazil and France.
It was an unexpected run for a side that arrived in Australia frustrated over a lack of friendly games in the build-up and locked in a row with their federation over pay and conditions.
“Obviously we need some help from mainly the government,” Donaldson said.
“Hopefully now we can all come together and try and figure something out so we don’t do things hodgepodge all the time,” he added.
“We have some decent young players so we need to have some transition and start preparing for the future.”
It has been a long struggle for the Jamaican women to get the resources they need to compete and for many years the team has been helped financially by the efforts of Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella.
Hopes that reaching back-to-back World Cups would bring a new era were in vain and their build-up was far from smooth.
The frustrated players, who were also upset at late payment of match fees, released a statement ahead of the tournament urging a change in approach from their federation.
Donaldson said it was disappointing to be out of the World Cup but added: “The sun is going to come up tomorrow, so have to be ready to go.
“We did a magnificent job, no one expected it, so let’s build on what we started and see what happens in the next tournament.
“I think the girls watching at home, win or lose, I think they got something out of this.
“What I’m saying is I hope everyone now in Jamaica can embrace women’s football and just make sure from the primary school all the way up, they say ‘ok, we want to do this’.”