Ladies won 4-0
Skipper Tanesia Vassell dreams of Olympics
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
St John's, Antigua - Jamaica's women's football captain Tanesia "Rambo" Vassell would love to take on FIFA Player-of-the-Year, the Brazilian Marta, one more time.
But that's unlikely to happen unless Jamaica qualify for next year's Olympic Games in China.
VASSELL ... as long as we perform at our best we should do very well
The team is currently in Antigua as they begin the first phase of their qualification campaign to the games of most people's dream - the Olympics.
Vassell, 26, who plays for Harbour View in the Sherwin Williams Women's League, said she enjoyed the tussle with her idol Marta when they met in the Pan American Games in Brazil recently.
Said Vassell: "I played against her and would love to play her again. I gained a lot of experience when I played against her in the Pan Am Games." That game ended 5-0 in favour of Brazil, which went on to win the Gold medal in their back yard. "She is difficult to play against, but I think we played well," noted Vassell.
Difficult to play against might be an understatement as Marta has just shown her class at the recently concluded FIFA Women's World Cup where Brazil finish as runners-up to Germany, losing 0-2 in the final.
Marta terrorised most of the defences on her way to copping the Golden Boot Award for her table-topping seven goals and was voted the Golden Ball winner for being the best player of the tournament.
Vassell, a former Dunrobin High School student, got involved in the sport seriously after being introduced to then national coach, Vin Blaine, who also coached at Harbour View.
"One of my friends who I used to play with introduced me to Mr Vin (Blaine) ab0out three and half years ago and he liked what he saw," said Vassell.
That vision that Blaine had, led her to the national team last year and by this year she has assumed the role of captain.
Of her Olympic dream, Vassell is confident Jamaica can achieve that feat and qualify for the prestigious Games, something no other Jamaican team has done.
"I think we have a good team and as long as we go out there and perform at our best, we should do very well," she told the Observer.
"We have a good team and I think we have a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics. I know there are the big teams, but I know we can do it," insisted Vassell, with a show of arrogance and confidence that should rub off on her teammates.
Over the years Jamaica has been making significant progress and has been lagging just behind the region's big three of the USA, Canada and Mexico. But Vassell says she won't give up and thinks Jamaica has closed the gap significantly on the big girls and can overcome them.
"Yes, the last time we played against Canada we could have won, but only because we had so many injuries," she reminisced. "I think we could have beaten them."
Vassell, like any normal person, has a lot of dreams and she also dreams of playing in England like most of her male counterparts.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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