Cedella Marley has resigned from her role as Global Ambassador for Jamaica’s women's football team effective immediately.

Marley, who was highly regarded by the players as the Reggae Girlz’ ‘fairy godmother,’ made the announcement via a release on Thursday.

Marley, in the statement, pointed to the current state of affairs involving the senior Reggae Girlz World Cup representatives and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) as reasons behind her departure, a decision which comes after 10 years partnering with the country's governing football body, to raise funds for the Reggae Girlz as they qualified for consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019 and 2023.

"I must express my disappointment and growing concern with the turn things have taken in recent months. After the World Cup, I was under the impression that we all were committed to working together to build on that success. However, the ever-widening rift between the JFF and the team is very alarming. Numerous overtures to each of you to voice my concern and try to assist with a resolution, continue to be met with noncommittal, generic response," a part of her statement read.

She said she believes the federation is “neither receptive nor interested" in her "current manner of support.”

Marley explained that after sharing a mutual vision with Captain Horace Burrell, she joined the team with an understanding that she would bring “help and support.” She further expressed that since coming to that understanding, the Bob and Rita Marley Foundations alongside a host of partners have invested some US $2.7 million into the growth and development of the country's women’s football team since 2014.

“We have worked diligently with the federation to build a solid women’s programme. The results of this work speak for themselves as the Reggae Girlz have gone on to literally make history – not once, not twice but repeatedly,” she noted.

Despite her resignation, Marley declared that she would continue to support the Reggae Girlz’ journey via the Football is Freedom initiative.

Meanwhile, JFF Vice-president Raymond Anderson, who will challenge incumbent Michael Ricketts for the presidency next week, believes Marley's resignation speaks clearly to the inability of the current leadership to be trusted. 

"This resignation casts a long shadow of mistrust over the current JFF administration. It is now clear that there has been a deliberate effort to discredit our two-time World Cup-qualifying Reggae Girlz. This squad, a beacon of hope and pride for our nation, has been let down. In just three months, the JFF has managed to undo what took Cedella Marley and everyone involved a decade to build," a release from Anderson's Real Solid Action (RSA) team stated.

"I utterly condemn the manner in which the Reggae Girlz and Ambassador Marley have been treated. The lack of communication, unfulfilled promises, and disregard shown are inexcusable. To see such disregard for the team, the handling of coach Lorne Donaldson, and the dismantling of their structure after ascending to the Round of 16 in the World Cup, is not only a betrayal of trust but a tragic misstep," it added.

Though they failed to register a win in their three fixtures at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert lauded the players for their gallant display in defeat, particularly in the second fixture against Puerto Rico.

The Reggae Girlz outfit, which comprised mostly Under-20 players, lost 2-5 to host nation El Salvador, followed by a 2-2 stalemate with Puerto Rico, after losing a player to red card early in that contest. They then closed the failed campaign with a 3-7 loss to favourites Mexico on Monday. 

Olufolasade Adamolekun and Mikayla Dayes, two of only a handful of players with senior team experience, got on the score sheet in that encounter. Chris-Ann Chambers, Mireya Grey and Dayes twin sister Malikae Dayes were the others charged with guiding their younger counterparts.

This is due to the fact that Jamaica's more experienced players are currently in Amsterdam, preparing to grace the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this month.

While admitting that the players had immense scope for improvements, Gilbert took nothing away from their effort throughout.

"We are disappointed we didn't get one in the win column; we had some things that affected us, injuries and red card, especially against Puerto Rico, we played with 10 players but nevertheless the Girlz gave a good account of themselves, and we have to give them credit.

"There are some calls that could have and should have gone our way, hence the result. But there are some things that we have to work on, defensively we have to get tighter and stronger and that comes with getting them together as a unit and getting them organised," Gilbert told SportsMax.tv.

That said, Gilbert pointed out that scheduling didn’t aid their cause, as the games came in quick succession with only a day to rest, recover and fine tune tactics. The difficulties of navigating such a tight schedule, he said, proved challenging for the Girlz to demonstrate consistency in their performances. 

"The inexperience showed along the way because the fixtures were quick, and the turnaround time didn't allow them to recover properly and fix some of the issues and problems we had and that was expected. But notwithstanding that, we managed to score in every game and for me that was a plus, we just have to find a way to stop conceding," Gilbert, who is assistant to Lorne Donaldson's World Cup-bound side, stated.

Still, he took heart from the fact that the experience is invaluable to the development and growth of the young prospects, who are expected to fit into the next senior Reggae Girlz cycle for the Women’s Gold Cup and other tournaments.

"The experience the ladies gained is something we have to build on because you can't pay for what they would have gained from this tournament. Scoring three goals against a quality Mexican team goes to show that they are good offensively but weak defensively," Gilbert shared.

"I said it before that playing at this high level will only benefit the development of the younger players in particular, yes it was tough, but everybody got some playing time which was also important. The younger ones now know what is required to play at this level and the more senior players really guided them through the process, so they will learn from this as they go forward," he ended.

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