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  1. ITV Report

Jamaica's women's football team hopeful of success in their first ever World Cup

Jamaica's women's football team are set for their first World Cup tournament, as the competition kicks off in France this weekend.

Known as the Reggae Girlz, the small island nation team will play football giants Brazil on Sunday afternoon.

It's the first time a team from the Caribbean has reached the tournament, a mere 20 years after Jamaica's only appearance in the men's competition.

Getting to the World Cup hasn't been an easy ride for the team.

In the past 10 years, the squad has been disbanded twice and had its funding cut.

But a saving grace came when the family of one of Jamaica's best known exports, Bob Marley, started supporting the team financially - ensuring its ongoing role on the country's pitches.

Jamaica are now hopeful of success in France despite being the lowest ranked team in the tournament.

The team's star striker, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, said: "Playing soccer in Jamaica you grow up as a child wanting to be in a position to say you've made it to the World Cup.

"For me personally to say we've qualified for the World Cup and I'm going to the World Cup is a great feeling but it's humbling at the same time."

She said her family motivates her to keep pushing forward: "When you have someone pushing and encouraging you, you can take on the world then."

She added: "We're a small country but when we are out there, as I said, you would not know because of how we play and the things we will do out there on the pitch."

The team has only reached the event in France after getting backing from the Marley Trust - set up by the estate of Bob Marley after his death.

The singer's daughter, Cedella Marley, who now helps run the fund, said she realised she needed to do more to support the team after it was disbanded due to a lack of funding.

She said getting people to support the team hasn't always been easy, saying: "Unfortunately, a lot of people just did not believe in the programme."

She said a lot of people wished her luck but didn't offer any backing to the programme - but that only spurred her on.

The team has a huge fan base at home, drawing in previously unseen numbers for matches in Jamaica.

Whilst their chances of success are not great - competing against some of the best known names in women's football.

Regardless of their success in France, the team will always be heroes in their home nation.

Watch ITV News' Sports Editor Steve Scott's report from Jamaica in On Assignment, broadcast on ITV at 10.45pm on Tuesday 4th June.