Coach of the Trinidad and Tobago national women’s Under-20 football team Jamaal Shabazz, says his team wants to bring the nation together when the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships are held at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, from January 18-28.
TT are aiming for a top three finish in the eight-team tournament to qualify for the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France in August. TT will line up in Group A of the CONCACAF Championships alongside Haiti, Canada and Costa Rica. Group B will feature USA, Nicaragua, Mexico and Jamaica. TT will play their opening match against Haiti from 6.30 pm on Jan 18. All the matches will be held at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Shabazz said the national Under-20 women’s team can bring the nation closer, just like in 2005 when TT came together when the national men’s senior team qualified for the 2006 World Cup.
Shabazz said, “I was not the coach (of the 2006 team), but I felt a special feeling for us because I felt that as a club coach, we all had a hand in this process, in this qualification, and this is what I want to bring our nation too.”'
Shabazz urged the TT public to support the team. “I want to urge the nation to come out and support and if you can’t come, send your children. Let them be part of a process, let them see that it is important to give support.”
Defender Natisha John, who was one of 22 players announced on the final TT squad yesterday, believes in the talent of the Under-20 team heading into the CONACAF Championships. “I am privileged and ecstatic to be a part of this team and representing Trinidad and Tobago in the world CONCACAF competition. We are going to make this a milestone in Trinidad and Tobago’s history, because personally, over the years that I have played for the various youth national teams, I believe that this group of players has the most potential to make a statement in this tournament.”
President of the TT Football Association (TTFA) David John-Williams also called on the public to support the team. “This is not about the TTFA. It is not the TTFA going to the World Cup, it’s a country going to the World Cup and it is important that we all get on board to support this effort. We are at home which is a huge advantage,” John-Williams said.
Goalkeepers: Malaika Dedier, Klil Keshwar
Defenders: Alexis Kirton, Natisha John, Jaasiel Forde, Crystal Mollineaux, Brittney Williams, Cecily Stoute, Shaunalee Govia, Amaya Ellis, Nathifa Hackshaw
Midfielders: Megan Rampersad, Ranae Ward, Shenika Paul, Alexis Fortune, Kedie Johnson, Kelsey Henry, Chelcy Ralph, Asha James
Forwards: Laurelle Theodore, Dennecia Prince, Aaliyah Prince.