Having thunderously gone through qualifying stages and with eyes set on competing among seven other teams for a slot available for CONCACAF nations in the in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz suffered a shock and setback with death of a utility player.
Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke, midfielder who overlaps when the Girls are on attack, was on Thursday, Oct. 31 stabbed to death allegedly by a female friend, in Half-Way Tree, St. Andrew, during a dispute over a cellular phone.
Though mainly a midfielder Clarke, 20, had scored a goal in the Girlz’ 10-1 drubbing of Cuba in the September 30 to October 08 series of matches among Caribbean nations, for three spots in the Olympic Championship where they will take on sides from Central and North America.
The two top teams emerging from the Championships set for January, will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The other Caribbean teams to make it into for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship are Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.
In matches to be played in the USA, they will take on the American hosts, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama.
But after recovering from their present grief, the Jamaican Girlz who steamed through the earlier qualifying team beating all comers by large margins, will have to return to the drawing board and amend plans for their team’s January competitions without ‘Plum Plum’, who a letter-writer to the Jamaica Gleaner described as being “on the cusp of greatness and in the prime of her life.”
Jamaica Football Federation stated, “in the year when our senior Reggae Girlz participated in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the nation celebrated, the country must now mourn the tragic passing of one of its most talented local-based players, Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke.
“Described by those who coached and managed her as quiet and warm, she recently went into a determined drive to improve her skills, her fitness.
Clarke is one of the few players to have represented Jamaica at all levels, Under-15; Under-17; Under-20; plus the senior Reggae Girlz team.
The 20-year-old was also preparing take up a US university scholarship in January.