The Reggae Girlz defeated Panama’s women’s national team on Wednesday in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. The Panamanian team is scheduled to play Argentina next month and still has a chance to qualify for the cup.
Reaching the FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be held next year in France, was not only a first for Jamaica. The Reggae Girlz became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the tournament, FIFA said.
The Reggae Boyz, Jamaica’s men’s national team, famously qualified for the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 1998, which was also in France.
The Reggae Girlz’s journey to the World Cup has been a long but inspiring one.
In 2014, Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley and Rita Marley, became an ambassador for the team to help the Reggae Girlz drum up financial support.
Marley has been supporting the team via the Bob Marley Foundation, leading efforts to fund players’ travel so they could access training and practice matches, she told Complex Sports in 2014. The Jamaica Football Federation launched an online crowdfunding campaign at the time to help fund the women’s training. The Bob Marley Foundation also partnered with the Alacran Foundation, another sponsor of the team.
Marley, a recording artist and CEO of Bob Marley Group of Companies, has long been an outspoken supporter of women’s programs in Jamaica.
In August, Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies expressed appreciation for the support the team receives from Marley and her family’s foundation.
“That support from the Bob Marley Foundation has been so important to us,” Menzies told FIFA.com. “Bob Marley loved football, of course. Cedella has continued that passion and she really wants to help women’s football develop in Jamaica.”
Marley shared her excitement over the team’s win on Twitter.
“The journey has just begun,” she wrote.