Reggae Girlz tackle Canada in search of history
Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson is not taking Canada lightly despite the defending women's Olympic Games football winners performing well below expectations at last summer's FIFA Women's World Cup.
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz, who reached the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup, tackle Canada in the first of two Olympic Games playoff qualifying matches on Friday at the National Stadium starting at 7 p.m.
"Canada are the defending champions of the Olympics, have good footballers, and we know all those girls. They are good players, have been on the world stage for a long time, have one bad outing, and everyone is trying to cast them away, but it's still Canada. They have good footballers," Donaldson highlighted.
He believes it will be up to the Reggae Girlz to keep pace with their more accomplished opponents and that they must come away with a positive result to give them a chance in Tuesday's return leg in Canada.
"We have to come in and try to match them. We accomplished a lot, just having been to a World Cup, but haven't done anything. We can do better and start proving we can do better.
"It is important to get the win. That's the objective to get a good result. That's what it's all about, and we will come out and give everything. We have to try and get a positive result and go to Canada and leave it on the table," Donaldson said.
An aggregate victory for the Reggae Girlz over Canada would be the first time Jamaica's men or women qualify for football at the Olympic Games. Donaldson said the players are aware that history beckons.
"They understand what it is all about. The approach will be different from the World Cup, obviously, because we are not playing in a group situation. We are playing two playoff matches.
"The mental state of these girls will be alright. I won't worry about their mental state. They know what's at stake.
"I trust all the girls we bring in. They understand. They are a tight group and will come out and make the country proud," he said.