Jamaica's top women's football administrator Elaine Walker-Brown, says she expects no complacency when they begin their FIFA World Cup 2023 qualifying campaign next month.
The number 51-ranked Jamaicans, who qualified for the Women's 2019 World Cup Finals in France, are scheduled to be at home against 139th-rated Bermuda in their Group C opener on November 24th. That will be followed by an encounter away to Grenada, who are ranked 151st in the world, mere days later.
The other teams in Group C are Dominican Republic and Cayman Islands. Jamaica, ranked fifth in the region, behind world number one United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, are group favorite’s.
“One of the things is that we are not going to take anybody lightly — not because it is against Bermuda, and we went to the last World Cup,” Walker-Brown, chairperson of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Women's Committee, said.
“I recently went to Curacao at an Under-20 qualifier and it was surprising to see how the Caribbean teams are playing.
“Jamaica can't be laid-back and think these teams are the beating sticks we used to have before. Everybody wants to be like Jamaica, so we are not going to underestimate Bermuda or the other teams,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
The Jamaica Women’s qualifying quest overlaps with the senior Jamaica Men’s bid to reach the Men's World Cup Finals in Qatar next year.
But there are concerns surrounding home support for both the Men's and Women's teams, specifically regarding local fans being allowed to attend games against the backdrop of the Jamaican Government's restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The federation recently appealed to the Government to permit fully vaccinated spectators to attend the Jamaica Men’s qualifier against Canada at National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, October 10th.
Walker-Brown, president of the St Catherine Football Association, is hopeful the Women can piggyback on any potentially favorable reply that might come from the Government.
“I'm looking for a positive response from the Government. We would love to see it happen for the Men because... that would be a platform for the Women.
“The wish is that the JFF gets the green light for the Men and that the same will apply for us for November 24th for the Women match versus Bermuda. We want Jamaicans to come and give them that support that they are always excited to have,” she said.