KINGSTON, Jamaica – The tingle will remain for a very long time and the celebrations will proverbially go long into the night.
But it is a moment worth savoring, for the achievement of Jamaica becoming the first nation from the Caribbean to qualify for a senior Fifa Women’s World Cup measures up to other great Jamaican sporting moments.
Put it up against Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz’s ground-breaking qualification to France ’98, legend Usain Bolt’s world records of 9.58 seconds and 19.19 in the sprints or the country exploits in bobsleigh at the Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988, and the Reggae Girlz’s historic feat will have pride of place.
Jamaica stunned the world when they defeated Panama 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 regulation and extra scoreline in the third-place match of the Concacaf Women’s Championship at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday.
The USA and Canada who contested the championship had qualified for the France World Cup after winning the semi-final contests. The USA retain their regional title by defeating Canada 2-0, also on Wednesday.
“The feeling is unbelievable; we went out and did what we had to do and created history, so I am just speechless right now. I am just pleased that after putting in the hard work we have accomplished what we set out to, and we are now celebrating the reward of our labor,” was how captain Konya Plummer put the momentous occasion into context.
“I would like to say congrats to my teammates, the coaches and everybody involved for what we have done for Jamaica and we hope this will have a big impact on the younger players coming up and even those around the world who are aspiring to achieve big things,” added the defender.
Winger Ashleigh Shim also joined the chorus out emotional outpourings.
“It is an amazing feeling right now; this tournament helped catch the attention we need to be fully supported; we have shown that we have a real product that we can use to market Jamaican football.
“We are grateful to all those who supported us and everyone who played a role in making this tournament successful for us,” said the 25-year-old U.S.A-based player.
Allyson Swaby, whose sister Chantelle is also in the team, is still pinching herself after the fact.
“It hasn't hit me as yet as much as it should, but just being here and being a part of this entire cycle and seeing how we started and how we have improved in just about five months is amazing.
“It is just how much we have overcome and achieved in such a short time, and for me, this is the biggest accomplishment…I was confident that we could do it and here we are now celebrating history,” she noted.
Sashana Campbell, 27, was overcome with emotions at the seismic accomplishment.
“To be honest, it hasn't hit me just yet, it is like I am numb to it…this is everything that I have always dreamt about. It was my number one goal and to see it come to fruition is very huge because it is like the final piece of the puzzle for me in football,” said the Jamaica-based player.