National senior women’s football team head coach Hubert Busby says that he is targeting a late November camp for the Reggae Girlz, with the goal of having an international friendly in December. This, however, relies on the COVID-19 pandemic situation not worsening.
The team has been inactive for seven months because of the pandemic and the consequent cancellation of international windows in the summer. Their last competitive fixture was February 4, when they played St Kitts and Nevis in the final group match of the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament held in the United States.
With the recent news of the cancellation of proposed senior men’s matches in the October international window, Busby is hopeful that the Girlz will assemble in November for camp, accepting that October is no longer viable.
“I think October is a write-off for both men and women,” Busby told The Gleaner. “That seems to be Concacaf’s stance on it, and, obviously, you have to agree. I do think that the end of November and the one in December is a possibility, but again, it’s all very difficult, especially with our players being based in Europe.”
While international games are at a standstill for some continents, the majority of players have resumed their club obligations in the United States and Europe. However, Busby says that assembling the group will pose challenges as clubs will be reluctant to release overseas-based players, specifically those from European clubs, because of travel restrictions.
“A lot of their clubs, unless they go for winter break, don’t really want to release them because when they go back, they’ll have to sit out two weeks before they come back into the group,” he said. “And so, that’s why you only see European teams have friendlies, or train, because the restrictions are a lot lighter than what is going on in the Americas right now.”
Busby said that he has been in constant contact with the team and has updated the players on developments and plans on going forward. While acknowledging that the health crisis is out of their hands, he says that their health is paramount.
“The most important thing is that we want our players to be safe,” he said. “So I think it’s important that we just kind of see where things are at. But if we can get something in that November or December window, then that would be great.”
According to the revised FIFA calendar, the next available international window for women’s football would be between November 23 and December 1, the final window of 2020.