Trinidad and Tobago women’s football team goalkeeper Kimika Forbes believes that next January’s CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s Championship is a once in a lifetime opportunity for TT. She said it is also a chance for this country to promote the women’s game on a big scale.
Forbes is coming off another successful season with Colombian-club Independiente Santa Fe with which she won the Colombian Women’s League. On arriving home a few weeks ago, she immediately got involved in the game locally, serving as assistant coach for the Signal Hill Secondary Girls team during latter stages of the 2017 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) season.
Forbes and her sister Karyn have represented TT at the Under-20 level before graduating to being fixtures on the women’s senior team which is currently gearing towards the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers next year.
But before the women get their turn next year, the Under-20s, led by coach Jamaal Shabazz, will have their time to enter the spotlight when the eight-nation tournament takes place at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, from January 18-28.
“I believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Under-20 girls. It’s a very exciting period in their careers and they are virtually one step away from qualifying for a World Cup. It’s an excellent opportunity for them, with us being the hosts of the final round. I’m really happy for them, but at the same time nervous as well as excited to see how the tournament will play out,” Forbes said on Friday.
“I think there is a lot of talent in local women’s football and the girls have been hard at work under Jamaal (Shabazz). I remember when we were coming up as youth players, the chance to play in the qualifiers was something great to look forward to. Now these girls look up to us as senior players and it is important that we give them the right kind of support. Having us around them is also a form of motivation. I haven’t seen them much recently in terms of matches but I will surely try to get involved in some way before the qualifiers come around,” Forbes added.
The 27-year-old custodian also had some words of encouragement for the TT Under-17 eliminated from qualification last month.
“It will be disappointing but they are still in the early part of their careers and have a lot to look forward to. They need to stay focused and keep their heads up. They must not let the disappointment hang over their heads and many of them will have a second bite at the cherry as Jamaal would say, and may even be able to get into the current Under-20 team,” she said.
Forbes recently signed a contract extension until May 2018 with Santa Fe and will travel with the Colombian side to face Athletico Bilbao’s women’s team in Spain at month’s end.