Jamaica might not have as illustrious a World Cup history as a Germany or a Brazil, but this little country is still very ‘tallawah’ when it comes to setting trends and outdoing our Caribbean counterparts. The Reggae Boyz have done the nation proud in their endeavours, and have put Jamaican football clearly and permanently on the world’s historical landscape. Here are five Jamaica World Cup football facts to remind you that this is a nation of people who don’t just try with all their might, but very often, also mange to succeed at doing what was once deemed impossible.
- Jamaica made its first attempt at World Cup qualification in 1965 under the leadership of Brazilian coach Jorge Penna for the 1966 World Cup finals in England.
- The nation qualified for its first trip to the World Cup on November 17, 1997 when it pulled off a 0-0 draw against Mexico.
- Jamaica was the first English-speaking country from the Caribbean to ever qualify for the FIFA World Cup, which was held in 1998 in France.
- Then Prime Minister PJ Patterson declared a national holiday for the day after Jamaica qualified for the 1998 World Cup. A public holiday declaration of that sort in the island was, and still is, a very rare occurrence, but was readily welcomed by ecstatic Jamaican football lovers.
- Current Reggae Boyz coach, Theodore Whitmore, scored twice in Jamaica’s final game in its 1998 World Cup attempt, securing the nation a 2-1 win over Japan.