by Rogelio Adonican Osorio
Panamanian Women's soccer is moving at a slow pace, with a league that is almost non-existent, without the big spotlight, there is no professional structure and they do not receive the support that the male football, who attended this year's first World Cup, have.
Panama in the Concacaf World Cup, was made known and made noise before the eyes of great powers of women's soccer, confirming that in the Central American country heroic sports presentations are thanks to spontaneity.
The Panamanian women's team worked and keeps walking in silence, there are no stars, there are no players with showings in important leagues, there is only the will of a group of women wanting to have a space in that world atmosphere that has been breathed in Panama since October of last year.
The girls, coached by the Argentine Víctor Suárez, still have in their hands the first appearance of the Central American women's “roja” in a world-wide appointment, now it will depend on the support, won by tooth and nail, that they give them for their playoff against Argentina, especially that it increases the one that the Panamanian Soccer Federation gives them.
Between the names of Marta Cox and Karla Riley, two experienced women's soccer players, but only 21 years old, new names are highlighted.
Riley, despite that long journey in women's soccer, was in the five matches as a starter, along with Aldrith Quintero and Yomira Pinzón, aged 16 and 21, respectively.
Along with Cox and Riley, in the World Cup, other hands were raised, saying: "here we are".
Yenith Bailey, 17 years old, was the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
This girl is one of the revelations of Panamanian soccer, which cannot be pared with Mexico and Costa Rica.
Bailey showed desire and courage when facing high-profile opponents, earning the respect of US striker Cali Lloyd and three-time Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo, as well as receiving offers to play and study abroad after finishing high school in Panama.
Bailey's performance against the US and Mexico left evidence that women's soccer has players with export quality, independently that in Panama it is one of the categories far from the center of attention of the Panamanian Soccer Federation (Fepafut).
Natalia Mills is another Panamanian player who made it clear that they have the skill to compete in these games.
Mills, 25, is fundamental in the match projection in the Panamanians depth, besides having goals and to center balls so that the forwards do their job.
Lineth Cedeño (17 years old), Aldrid Quintero, Hilary Jaén (16 years old) and Sheila Díaz (13 years old) are new faces in this Panamanian women's soccer team, they are girls that Suárez dared to make debut in a tournament, where soccer players with long careers played.
Precisely Cedeño was the highest scorer of Panama, with two goals. The new leading forward scored against Mexico and Jamaica.
The other goals were shared between Marta Cox, Erika Hernández and Kenya Rangel: Rangel against Trinidad and Tobago, Karla Riley against Mexico and Natalia Mills against Jamaica.
Suárez had in his hands a group of players from 13 to 29 years.
Within the World Cup list the oldest one is the substitute goalkeeper Farissa Córdoba, who is 29 years old.
This is an example that the Argentine looks to the horizon, recognizes the potential of his players and works thinking about the generational change of Panamanian women's soccer.
"Our goal is to play a good role, we are leading a new group, with some players coming from the previous processes, the main idea is to make a good group, good process and leave a good image of Panama in the qualifying tournament the World Cup," the coach cautiously said.
For the moment, without much fuss and resources, Suárez and the scarlet Panamanians achieved this goal: "make a good group, good process and leave a good image of Panama."
From the goalies: Yenith Bailey and Farissa Córdoba, the defenders: Yomira Pinzón, Katherine Castillo, Maryorie Pérez, Onelys Alvarado, Hilary Jaén, Rebeca Espinosa, María Murillo and Sheyla Díaz, including the midfielders: Kenia Rangel, Natalia Mills, Marta Cox Laurie Batista, Aldrith Quintero and María Montenegro.
Even the attackers, Karla Riley, Erika Hernández, Anuvis Angulo and Lineth Cedeño, the Panamanian team without high profile figures, were just that: a team.
This women's team has new challenges, in addition to the playoff matches against Argentina (between November 5 and 13), the girls qualified for the 2019 Pan-American Games Lima as the best team in Central America in the Concacaf World Cup.