The Women’s World Cup moves into the final 16 this weekend – beginning tomorrow morning with Spain vs Switzerland at 6am BST. Among the 16: Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz. They beat Panama in their first World Cup win and drew with top 10-ranked France and Brazil, and this will be the first time 43rd-ranked Jamaica has ever moved out of the group stage (men’s team included). It’s not been an easy road for the Girlz. They’ve been very public about a long-running dispute with the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) over poor funding and support. Thanks largely to people like Cedella Marley, the daughter of Bob Marley who has been called the team’s “fairy godmother”, and crowdfunding from fans, the team just managed to make it to this year’s competition. But the lack of national funding – which afflicts a number of the teams competing – is wearing thin. “Governments and everybody, cut the bullcrap, it’s time to step up and support women’s football,” said Lorne Donaldson, the Jamaica manager, before the team faced Brazil. Too right.
Photograph Getty Images