Blaine: Jamaica WU17 success would send message

Vin Blaine (pictured), technical coordinator of the women's program for the Jamaica Football Federation, believes that a positive message would be sent throughout Caribbean if the Reggae Girlz can earn a berth at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. 


MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- The technical coordinator of Jamaica’s women’s football program believes that possible qualification of his team to the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica would be a victory for the regional game.

Vin Blaine argued that the glory of such a success would resonate beyond the shores of Jamaica, and would be a catalyst for the game’s female version in the Caribbean, which is still considered a work in progress when compared to the wider CONCACAF.

“Apart from the fact that it (qualifying for World Cup) would mean the world to me as I have been with this program for so long, it would mean more than just a victory for us, but for the women’s game in the entire Caribbean region,” Blaine said.  “If we get to the World Cup we would be sending a message to the smaller countries like Antigua, Barbados, St Kitts, Grenada and even Trinidad that with hard work and organization that they can do it also.”

The Group A winning Jamaicans are one match away from booking a priceless and historic spot to the world tournament.  They meet powerhouse Canada in a CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship semifinal showdown at the Montego Bay Sports Complex’s Catherine Hall Stadium on Thursday.

Group B champion USA will face Group A runner-up Mexico in the curtain-raiser of a doubleheader.

Blaine, who is also assistant coach of Jamaica’s senior men’s team, noted that victory on Thursday would be an enormous achievement when weighed against the odds.

“We are a small country, so to qualify will be a massive thing when you look at the number of players available to countries like Mexico and the USA,” he commented.  “In some cases it’s more than the population of Jamaica.

“So you can see the kind of odds we are up against…so you realize how big it would be for us to reach the World Cup, and not by hosting it, but to go to a World Cup by going through the qualifying rounds, topping our zone, going to the semi-final and winning that and going to the World Cup.”

The veteran coach points out that the pride of the Jamaican people, coupled with the hunger for success will fuel the Young Reggae Girlz on their day of decision as they sit on the periphery of history.

“We are a proud country and we are trying to instill that into the girls, and as we always say, ‘wi likkle but we tallawah’ (we are little, but have depth),” expressed Blaine.

With the momentum of support building for the side, Blaine noted that his girls are enjoying the outpouring from a football-mad Montego Bay community, and, as a result, their confidence has seen a noticeable lift since the first game.

“I would say that they are getting more confident by the game because they are still an inexperienced team and they are getting the experience as they go along,” he said.  “They have now come to the realization that they can do it and that they can compete with the best teams in the confederation.

“And that’s all I want from them, not to say they are better than these bigger teams, but to show confidence that they can to do it.”

In their group matches, the Jamaicans posted win over El Salvador (2-0) and Haiti (3-0), and drew with Mexico (1-1) to top a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group for the first time.