Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has announced a schedule of activities to honour the Reggae Girlz' historic qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup finals
The four days of activities will begin on Saturday, December 15 with a motorcade, the minister informed in a release.
“I want them to feel very special,” said Grange, noting that the motorcade will go through the Corporate Area.“It will go into St Catherine. One of the stops will be GC Foster. Two of the girls are from Arnett Gardens, so we're going to do something there. And we want to take them to western Jamaica.
”The celebratory activities include a major praise, worship and thanksgiving concert at Emancipation Park on Sunday, December 16 featuring some of the biggest names in local gospel music including Kevin Downswell, Kukudoo, Sista Pat and Wayne Marshall.
"The concert will be open to the public, and we are asking people to come out and get some blessing, we have an incredible lineup and the public is guaranteed to have a great time," Andrew Clunis, director of marketing and public relations at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, told Loop reporter Claude Mills.
The Reggae Girlz will also be feted at a special reception hosted by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
The Reggae Girlz, the first Caribbean team to qualify for the showpiece event, were on Saturday drawn in Group C alongside number six-ranked Australia, number 10-ranked Brazil, and Italy, ranked at number 16, making a return to the competition for the first time since 1999.
Grange said it was “important that the girls are given a hero's welcome and shown appreciation for their outstanding achievement” of qualifying for the World Cup Finals to be held in France in 2019. “We want to ensure that as many Jamaicans see them and we're asking all Jamaicans to join us in celebrating with them. We want to make sure that they go to France ready to tek it to dem”.
The Reggae Girlz created history on October 17 in the United States by becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The Reggae Girlz achieved the feat by defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties in their third-place playoff match at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.
The historic qualification to the 2019 FIFA World Cup follows the success of the men’s squad, which participated in the World Cup for the first time in France 1998