April 19, 2023 -Michael Ricketts, president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), has bemoaned his governing body’s difficulty in adequately funding the preparation budget of $100 million for the Senior Reggae Girlz ahead of this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The JFF boss used the occasion of the Government of Jamaica’s belated declaration of $20 million towards the program to plead his case for more support for the Girlz who have qualified for their second consecutive World Cup Finals appearance.
On Monday Minister of Sports Olivia Grange announced that starting at the end of this month the Government of Jamaica will provide the Reggae Girlz with a monthly stipend towards their nutritional and training needs leading up to the World Cup Finals scheduled for July 20 through to August 20.
She also peddled the idea that more support could be granted to the program, pending discussions with the leadership of the governing JFF.
“In regard to the support of the Government of Jamaica to the Reggae Girlz, we will be providing a monthly stipend for each member of the squad for their nutrition and other training needs, beginning the end of this month, and this will continue until the World Cup,” Grange announced during the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy tour of the island at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
“And of course, I am looking forward to meeting with the Jamaica Football Federation to see what else we can do. Not making any commitments here, but we’ll talk about it because we certainly want to make sure that the Reggae Girlz have the best chance ever to come home with the trophy,” Grange continued.
The Reggae Girlz, coached by Lorne Donaldson, are drawn in Group F and will oppose France, Brazil and Panama in the preliminary phase and for Ricketts, the minister’s announcement was a step in the right direction, though there remains much ground to be covered.
“It will certainly help because we do have a far way to go and I am sure that she [Grange] has unofficially committed to giving us some more support, so I will talk to the minister and see what further support she has for us,” Ricketts told the media.
“But we are looking forward. It is going to be a struggle but we are very optimistic because we have been getting some new sponsors on board and certainly by the time July 20 comes around, we should be in a better position. But as it is now, we are trying desperately to get sponsors on board and so far it has been working out.”
In plotting the way forward, Ricketts noted that the JFF is in the process of finalizing camps in June and July, with the June camp being used to accommodate two games which will twin as send-off occasions.
“We have had discussions with entities overseas, and we have a camp planned just before we go over to Australia. We have almost finalized those arrangements and most of that has been sponsored, so that certainly would have helped us in a huge way,” Ricketts offered.
“We also want to have two games here in the June window and we are far advanced in those discussions. So we are excited at the prospects, things are looking up and we must acknowledge our sponsors, especially the Marley Foundation. Cedella [Marley] has been good to us and of course, the minister and our corporate sponsors. So good times ahead and we are very optimistic,” he said.