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‘We just have to put on the finishing touches’

Shaw wants Reggae Girlz momentum to help them over Olympic line

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2023 | 12:09 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Reggae Girlz captain Khadija Shaw speaks during her unveiling as a Powerade ambassador during a ceremony at the ROK Hotel in Kingston, yesterday.
Reggae Girlz captain Khadija Shaw speaks during her unveiling as a Powerade ambassador during a ceremony at the ROK Hotel in Kingston, yesterday.

ON THE eve of yet another important assignment for the Reggae Girlz, skipper Khadija Shaw has painted a picture of a squad buzzing with excitement.

The Reggae Girlz are preparing to lock horns with Canada in a two-way tie for a place at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. The first leg is set for the National Stadium tomorrow with the return at Toronto’s BMO Stadium in Canada, set for the September 26.

“I think as a team we’re buzzing, excited, and ready to go. I think on the back of the performances that we gave at the World Cup, we just have to put on the finishing touches and look at where we can improve and grow as a team,” said Shaw.

The Reggae Girlz, who made history when they qualified for the round-of-16 stage at the Women’s FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, have risen to 37th in the world while their opponents Canada, who failed to progress beyond the group stages, have slipped to 10th but are still overwhelming favourites.

Still, Shaw is hopeful that following instructions as a team and doing their best will be good enough to overpower their Canadian opposition.

“Once we can stay compact and do all the right things that the coaching staff wants us to do and give of our best, then we hope our best will be good enough,” she said.

Shaw, the country’s all-time leading goal scorer with 55 goals, said the team sat down and reflected on how they watched the World Cup on television before actually playing there. She hopes the same will hold true for the Olympics.

“It would mean a lot. As a team we would have spoken about not having played at a World Cup and only watching it on television, so I think having this opportunity right at our fingertips is making us rearing to go, buzzing. We’re excited to go,” she said.

Despite the underdog tag, Shaw says there is no nervousness from the team.

“I think, for us, we’re always the underdogs, but we know what we’re capable of. I think we just have to focus on the stuff we can control, stay together as a team, and just keep moving forward.”

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com