Bob Marley is one of Jamaica’s favourite sons, but it is the late musician’s daughter who is hitting the headlines for her part in the nation’s latest sporting success.
Jamaica have become the first Caribbean team to qualify for a women’s football World Cup and it’s Cedella Marley – the first-born daughter of Bob Marley – who the Reggae Girlz have to thank.
In 2010, their team ceased to exist, only for Marley to come on board four years later as an ambassador and sponsor with the Bob Marley Foundation and help turn their fortunes around.
That turnaround was completed in Texas on Wednesday evening when Jamaica defeated Panama on penalties in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship third-place play-off – a feat that has been described in the Jamaican press as “almost super-human”.
The team’s coach Hue Menzie made special mention of Ms Marley after the game.
“Big up to Cedella Marley for putting her neck on the line for us,” he said.
But the win was far from easy, with the Reggae Girlz twice taking the lead only to have Panama equalise twice.
Ms Marley told BBC after the game that “there were a couple of moments when I had to leave the room [watching the match] because I was going light-headed”.
“I went outside and started to meditate. By the time the last penalty went in, we were all on the floor. Daddy would probably not be surprised when I put my foot into something stuff happens. He’d be like, ‘that’s my girl’.”
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in France from 7 June to 7 July. Australia is one of 18 other nations that have also qualified.