St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, and Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, who has responsibility for the Ministry of Sports, extended their congratulations to the Sugar Girlz national women’s football team, which has advanced to the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship for the first time.

“We are extremely proud of these incredibly skilled and talented young women whose remarkable willpower, fortitude and football prowess have not only served to boost their athletic performance and standing, but also the visibility and prestige of St. Kitts and Nevis on the world stage,” Prime Minister Harris and his Deputy both said yesterday in a joint statement of congratulations. “Their impressive and historic ascent is an incredible testament to our country’s stellar coaching education programme, as well as the teamwork, commitment, engagement and resilience that the gifted young people of St. Kitts and Nevis consistently display on playfields and in schools, churches, communities and the workplace throughout the Federation as they endeavour to build a better and brighter future for our country.”

The team, comprised of 22 players ranging from age 14-29, made its Women’s Olympic Qualifying (WOQ) debut against Canada Wednesday at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas, where Canada claimed a 11-0 victory.

Canada ranks eighth of the 155 teams listed on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, while the Federation ranks 127th.

Yesterday’s game represented the first time a national football team – male or female – from the Federation had advanced to a Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Olympic Qualifying Championship.

The  team is scheduled to play Mexico Feb. 1 and Jamaica on Feb. 4 in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.  Jamaica ranks 51st, while Mexico ranks 26th in the world.

Next month will also mark the first time St. Kitts and Nevis will participate in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship.  The tournament will determine CONCACAF’s qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2020 scheduled for this summer in Costa Rica and Panama.