The sombre affair of laying to rest the body of Reggae Girl Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke was replaced with the loud bangs of gunshots and the unmistakable stench of fear from mourners who were hindered from doing just that on Sunday.

What started as a day celebrating the life of Clarke, where she was described as a born leader at the Excelsior High School Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica, ended with confusion and pain at the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.

Reports are that on Sunday, there was an altercation during the burial that resulted in the stabbing of an employee at Meadowrest.

It is alleged that gunmen from the nearby community, hearing of the injury to one of their own, broke up the proceedings by firing gunshots into the proceedings.

It is unknown if anybody was shot in the incident as the police are yet to release a report on the incident as investigations continue.

The October 31 death shocked the footballing community in Jamaica, with reports surfacing that the 20-year-old was stabbed during a fight with a friend over a cell phone in Half-Way Tree.

During the memorial service inside the auditorium, Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw asked that Clarke be remembered for being funny, caring and hard working.

“She would have wanted to be with us all, to be here with our happiest smile of our times together,” said Shaw.

“For the memories, I have with her, I can tell you she was a strong person. Plum Plum’s presence will be missed by all, but she will never be forgotten.”

Clarke captained the Waterhouse women’s team for four title-winning seasons, earning a Reggae Girlz debut on September 30 during the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers and even scored her first international goal against Cuba, during a 21-1 drubbing. The defender also scored against St Lucia when the Reggae Girlz beat them 11-0.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, said the loss of life was caused by a lack of understanding.

“It is so sad and painful to have lost someone which such a future,” Ricketts said.

“From her days at primary school, she has exhibited that ability to lead. I want to use this opportunity to ask all of you that we showed love. We [need to] go back to the days when we respect and show love to our friends. One single act of indiscretion has cost the community, the school, and certainly Jamaica, [someone] with such great talent.”

Jamaica’s senior women’s football team continued its impressive showing in Group B of the Caribbean Olympic Qualifying Stage by thrashing St Lucia 11-0 on Sunday night at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Captain Khadija Shaw and Deneisha Blackwood led the Reggae Girlz with three goals apiece.

Shaw handed the Reggae Girlz the lead in the second minute before completing her hattrick in the 16th and 34th minutes.

Blackwood found the back of the net in the 24th, 68th and 78th minutes.

Cheyna Matthews, Dominique Bond Flasza, Tiffany Cameron, Trudi Carter, and Tarania Clarke secured the other goals.

The victory represents the third straight for the Reggae Girlz in the five-team qualifying tournament being staged in Jamaica.

The three games have produced 30 goals for the Reggae Girlz ahead of their final game on Tuesday against the US Virgin Islands.

The Reggae Girlz opened their campaign with a 12-1 victory against Cuba on September 30 followed by a 7-0 triumph against Barbados on October 4.

Jamaica’s mercurial striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is a dream maker. 

Injured Reggae Girlz forward Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw and Kayla McCoy are being assessed on a daily basis with the hope that they will be ready to take the field when Jamaica opens its 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on June 9.

Jamaica on Wednesday named a 22-player squad that will campaign in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that set to kick off on June 7 and conclude on July 7 in France. A 23rd player is to be named by Friday, May 24.

There are a couple of new faces in the squad including Kayla McCoy, the former Duke University forward and Olufolasade Adamolekun, who played in an exhibition game against Nottingham Forest in late 2018. However, the majority of the players who competed at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships in October 2018, have retained their places.

The squad was named less than 72 hours after the Reggae Girlz defeated Panama 3-1 before a crowd of about 10,000 at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, May 19. The Reggae Girlz have not lost a match since they qualified for the World Cup in October 2018 after defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties. The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after regulation and extra time at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.

Since then, Jamaica defeated Chile 1-0 and 3-2 in Jamaica, drew 1-1 with South Africa and Sunday’s comprehensive victory.

In light of the progress shown by the team under the coaching staff of Hue Menzies, Lorne Donaldson and Andrew Price, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts said he was confident in the squad selected.

“The JFF is extremely proud of the achievement of the Girlz who are a true representation of what makes us Jamaicans. We are also proud of the coaching and other supporting staff who together make a fantastic unit,” Ricketts said after the squad was announced.

“Based on the makeup, capabilities and ambassadorial spirit of the players and staff, the Federation is absolutely confident that the country will be represented with pride.

“We must also point out that none of this would have happened without the commitment and sacrifice of those Girlz, who battled for us in the qualifiers but will not be a part of the group for France, we express sincere thanks to those Girlz also.”

The JFF president also paid tribute to the sponsors who have come on board with the JFF to make the trip to France possible.

“The JFF expresses thanks to our loyal sponsors, football fans, the government and the media for the outpouring of support,” said Ricketts, who also had a special word for the young female footballers who are inspired by this achievement and the pioneers who started the movement in the country.

The 22-member squad includes: Allyson Swaby, Ashleigh Shim, Chinyelu Asher, Chantal Hudson-Marks, Deniesha Blackwood, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Khadija Shaw, Lauren Silver, Marlo Sweatman, Nicole McClure, Sashana Campbell, Konya Plummer, Toriana Patterson, Trudi Carter, Yazmeen Jamieson, Chantel Swaby, Kayla McCoy, Chenya Matthews, Tiffany Cameron, Jody Brown, Sydney Schneider and Olufolasade Adamolekun.

Jamaica talismanic striker Khadijah Shaw found the back of the net in typically routine fashion as the national team registered a 2-0 win over Panama at the National Stadium on Sunday.

The match-up served as part of a final set of preparations ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.  It was nonetheless, a closely contested affair in a blossoming rivalry between the teams.  Shaw, however, proved to be the early difference between the teams when she found the back of the net in the 29th minute.  The forward doubled the lead soon after the resumption, but Panama pulled one back through Natalia Mills in the 68th minute.  It proved to be a mere consolation, however, as Shakira Duncan rounded out a well-deserved win for the home team with a goal in the 80th minute.  The Jamaicans will open their campaign against Brazil on June 9, before facing Australia and Italy.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts has offered congratulatory messages to members of the World-Cup bound Reggae Girlz squad who graduated from university this week.

Khadija Shaw (Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Tennessee), Deneisha Blackwood (Bachelor of  Science, Sports Management from the University of West Florida) and Chanel Hudson-Marks (Bachelor of Science, Marketing Management from the University of Memphis), attended graduation ceremonies on Thursday.

Ricketts was full of praise and pride for the recent graduates who, incidentally are among the 24-member squad named to play against Panama at the National Stadium in Kingston on May 19.

"On behalf of the people of Jamaica and football fans, in particular, I wish to extend the most sincere congratulations to Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, Deneisha Blackwood and Chanel Hudson-Marks,” Ricketts said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“These degrees by members of the senior Reggae Girlz were achieved in four years in the main alongside a period of excellence in football as they played for college, club and country whilst studying.

"If there is any doubt in the minds of any young Jamaican girl that you cannot successfully combine playing sports at the highest level and achieving your best academically, you can look at the lives of these Senior Reggae Girlz who will in less than a month participate on the highest stage of world football."

Ricketts said the JFF offers its congratulations to these women as shining examples of hard work, discipline, achievement and excellence.  The JFF, he said, is confident that all the others in school will rise to the occasion and accomplish their dreams.

He encouraged football fans to show their real pride in the Reggae Girlz by turning out in their thousands on Sunday, May 19 at 6:00 pm at the National Stadium when the team plays Panama in their last international friendly on home soil before the FIFA Women's World Cup.

A brace from talismanic Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw helped Jamaica to a 3-2 win over Chile in the second of two friendlies between the teams at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in St James on Sunday. 

Khadija Shaw should be over the moon. Way over the moon.  

But instead, the Jamaica Reggae Girlz striker has opted to remain grounded with her latest accolade as she was named The Guardian newspaper’s Footballer of the Year.  

By nature, Shaw is a quiet, unassuming and supremely humble individual, so her low-key reaction to the prestigious award by the respected British daily surprised only a few.  

“This is just like any other award for me though every award is very important, but I just want to continue looking at the positives and continue to work hard,” Shaw said from her Jamaican heartland of Spanish Town.  

“To be honest, I feel good about it although I didn’t expect this award; but I have been working hard all year and they say once you put in the work, good things will happen and so I am pleased about it,” said the 21-year-old.  

Shaw, who attends the University of Tennessee in the United Sates, was an instrumental figure in Jamaica’s historic qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and led her team to the glorious achievement through the qualifying rounds with an impressive 19 goals, the most by any player.  

It was this accomplishment, plus meeting The Guardian’s rarified criteria that propelled Shaw to become the first female to win the award since its inception in 2016.  

The Guardian award for Footballer of the Year is given to a player who has done something truly remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others, or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty.  

The Jamaican darling of women’s football is only the third recipient of the award and joins the ranks of world superstars Italian Fabio Piscane in 2016 and Spain’s Juan Mata in 2017.  

“When I heard the names of those who have won it before, I feel even more honored as the first female to win, but at the end of the day, I just want to remain humble and hopefully more will come,” Shaw said. 

Even though the award went to the Jamaican forward as individual recognition, she wished to share it with her teammates.  

 “Everything happened because of my teammates, so I just want to continue focusing on the team, and once we continue working hard as a team, hopefully, I won’t be the only one winning awards, but my other teammates will as well, or we get it as a group,” noted Shaw.  

The former St Jago High School star, who has represented Jamaica at every level – Under-15, Under-17, Under-20 and senior – was singled out for the award because of her display of inner-strength in overcoming personal tragedy and how she managed to stay on top of her game through it all. 

Hers is a story of inspiration, and Shaw has embraced her standing as a model of resilience and exemplary conduct. 

Her life story has a deadly twist having lost four of her brothers — three to Jamaica’s high rate of crime and violence and another to a vehicular accident. 

 “Football, to me, is just more than the sport itself, it is to inspire others, so I am willing to do whatever I can to inspire others — whether it be playing on the soccer field or giving motivational speeches. 

 “So just winning these awards can show others that if I can do it, they can do it also,” she noted. 

The Guardian’s Footballer of the Year award adds to her 2018 collection, having already copped the Jamaican Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Sport. Shaw is also a nominee for Sportswoman of the Year, the most prestigious award for Jamaicans who have excelled in the arena of sport.

Hue Menzies, coach of the historic Reggae Girlz, who became the first team from the Caribbean to qualify for a World Cup, and Minister of Sport Olivia Grange, are in agreement that Guardian Newspaper’s Footballer of the Year, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, is a great role model. 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz forward Khadija Shaw has been named as The Guardian Footballer of the year, a recently minted honour given to international players that have overcome adversity.

The 21-year-old was a crucial part of the team’s historic qualification to the 2019 World Cup in France.  Shaw a physical and consistent presence up front for the Jamaicans, scored three goals in the crucial final round.

The UK-based newspaper, however, pointed to challenging circumstances in which she grew up as a crucial part of reasons for the nomination.  According to the report, Shaw who grew up in the Jamaican town of Spanish Town, overcame difficult circumstances that included humble beginnings and the loss of four brothers.  Three of her sibling’s casualties were gang-related.  

 Shaw grew up alongside seven brothers and five sisters.  The forward played for the national team at the under-15, under-17 and under-20 level before eventually moving on to the University of Tennessee.  Shaw admitted that the death of her siblings had been difficult to deal with.

“I wanted to go home,” Shaw told The Guardian.

“I didn’t want to play soccer. And it was just hard because you lost four and then you come back again and lose two nephews. It’s just like: ‘What more to come? I want to go home because I didn’t get to say goodbye to them and now they’re gone.”

 Shaw finished with 13 goals in 14 appearances for Tennessee this season as they reached the last eight of the NCAA tournament for the first time.

2018 NACAC Senior Male Athlete of the Year Fedrick Dacres leads the list of nominees for the RJR Sports Foundation Male Athlete of the Year.

While Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz were beating Nottingham Forest in the United Kingdom on Sunday, their ace striker Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw was voted the 2018 SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Jamaica’s Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has not missed a beat since returning from Jamaica’s historic World Cup campaign last week.

Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup, defeating Panama in a penalty-kick shootout in the third-place match of the 2018 concacaf Women's Championship at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night. 

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