Though Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz were again on the losing end against Brazil, Head coach Hubert Busby says they will use the lessons from the two-match outing as a stepping stone, as they gradually rekindled their competitive fire ahead of major tournaments.

Much like Saturday’s first encounter, the Girlz were again blanked 4-0, as Jheniffer (64th, 79th), Cristiane (7th), and Marta (84th) did the damage at the Fonte Nova Arena, in Salvador, on Tuesday.  

Still, the Jamaicans gave Busby his heart’s desire as they produced a much-improved performance at both ends of the park, but they were just not clinical enough to get on the scoresheet. However, to their credit, the Girlz did have a goal controversially ruled out for an offside, while Kayla McKenna slammed another effort into the upright.

While not happy about the scoreline, Busby lauded his team for the improved showing, which he believes represents a step in the right direction, especially with this being the first competitive tour together for the core players of last year’s World Cup team, in almost nine months.

“One of the things that we spoke about from the last match was improving our performance and I definitely was pleased with how we came and approached this game. Obviously not the result that we want because we come into every match to win and to get a result. But overall, the challenge was for the team to compete and show a better performance, and they did that,” Busby said.

Hubert Busby

“It's been an honour for us to be here in front of fantastic and passionate crowds and it's only going to put us in good stead, especially with some of our younger players who have come into a very hostile environment and learned what it's like to play at international level. So overall, you know, the two games aren't the results we want, but as part of the experience, it was exactly what we needed to start a new World Cup cycle,” he added.

Like Busby, attacking midfielder Atlanta Primus stressed the importance of regaining their competitive spirit and overall cohesiveness as a unit, and she is also of the view that Tuesday’s performance was a strong reminder of their capabilities.

“Obviously, it was important to come out and put a performance in. We haven't been together for a while, but I think to come and compete against one of the world's best is what we want to put ourselves back out there again. So, I think it was a good challenge for us and I think, moving forwards, these are the games you want to be involved in,” Primus reasoned.

“These are the games that are going to challenge us the most and set us up for the next World Cup, so, it's a challenge. Again, not the results we wanted, but credit to the girls, we worked hard, we put in a performance and I think today (Tuesday) was a lot better than we played on Saturday. So, yeah, credit to the girls and we keep building from here,” she stated.

Finally, Busby pointed to the strides made in Jamaica’s women’s football programme since they made their first World Cup appearance in France in 2019, as he believes the invitation from Brazil for the two-match friendly series is testament to that growth and development.

The now 42nd-ranked Girlz first engaged Brazil in 2019 and lost 3-0. However, they rebounded at last year’s global showpiece in Australia to not only hold the number 10-ranked South Americans to a goalless stalemate, but more importantly, made an historic appearance in the knockout round.

“When you think about where we are coming from 2019 to now, and think about the idea of Brazil inviting us to play in these matches, it's a huge testament to the programme and for us to be playing in these games is great. That wouldn't have happened four years ago, so it's a testament to how far we've come, but I know the group and the federation isn't satisfied just yet because we want to go even further,” Busby declared.

“It's very important that we play these games and we want to play tier one games and top teams in the top ten and top 20, because that's the only way you're going to grow. You know, you might not get the results you want, but it's always a measuring stick of which to find out where you are and how far you need to go to be the best,” the former national goalkeeper ended.

Though slighted disappointed with the outcome of their opening loss to Brazil, Jamaica’s Head coach Hubert Busby took heart from aspects of his senior Reggae Girlz performance, which he is hoping they can build on to prove even more competitive in the second contest on Tuesday.

Out for the first time together in almost nine months, the core group of players that held Brazil to a goalless stalemate at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup, expectedly lacked cohesiveness and were simply outclassed by the South Americans, who romped to a 4-0 win in Saturday’s first encounter at the Arena de Pernambuco in Recife.

The iconic Marta led her team with a brace in the 64th and 90th minutes, while Adriana (26th), and a 38th-minute own-goal by Chantelle Swaby, propelled Brazil to a comfortable win.

However, with the proverbial rust now shaken, Busby, who didn’t have experienced defender Allyson Swaby and winger Jody Brown available for the first game, is anticipating a more fluid showing in the second encounter, with or without the duo as uncertainty surrounds their fitness for the decisive contest at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.

Kickoff is 5:00pm Jamaica time.