Cedella Marley (front row, third from left) with the Jamaica women’s national team prior to its participation in the 2014 CFU Women’s Caribbean Cup.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica women’s national team is benefitting from its relationship with Cedella Marley, daughter of reggae music icon Bob Marley.
Last week, the Reggae Girlz topped Group 5 in the opening round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s Caribbean Cup, the region’s championship for national teams that is doubling as a qualifying competition for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Marley’s encouragement is being credited as one of the reasons for the recent success.
“The girls love Cedella a lot,” Jamaica head coach Merron Gordon told CONCACAF.com. “Cedella is everything to us, a mother, role model, ambassador and sponsor. She is working very hard and giving back to Jamaica.”
With Marley’s munificent support and Gordon’s strategy the Jamaicans defeated St. Lucia (14-0) and the Dominican Republic (7-0) to secure a place in final round, scheduled to be played in Trinidad & Tobago, August 19-26, 2014.
Gordon was pleased with the team’s offensive output, but is committed to making further enhancements over the next two months.
“We are potent in attack, but there is room for improvement,” he expressed. “We didn’t miss many chances and the girls were focused in the Dominican Republic.”
Leading Jamaica was former University of West Florida star Shakira Duncan, who scored eight goals in the two matches.
The striker’s success came as no surprise to Gordon.
“Shakira is a very talented kid,” beamed the manager. “She is awesome and she will be a better player coming into the final round.”
Jamaica is slated to face Bermuda, Haiti and Puerto Rico in Group A of the CFU competition, which will crown a champion and send four teams to the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in the United States.
According to Gordon, no stone will be left unturned in the side’s preparations.
“We are going to do a lot of strength work because we need to be stronger,” he finished. “We have players as far as England wanting to come and try out for the national team. As long as we see those players and make our selection, we will be a very strong team coming into Trinidad.”