Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 women exited the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championships on Monday night as the team failed to win a single game during the tournament being held at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Despite TT scoring the opening goals in all three group games against Haiti, Canada and Costa Rica, the hosts were unable to hold on to the advantage in any of the matches.
Speaking with the media after the 2-1 loss against Costa Rica on Monday, head coach of the national U-20 Women’s team, Jamaal Shabazz expressed, “We have got to learn our lesson from this and be very honest with ourselves, and know that we have got to make better preparations going forward, and try to get the team to be more intense in the battles.”
TT women went ahead in the 4th minute, when they faced Haiti last Thursday, via a brilliant left footed effort by Dennecia Prince and even managed a 2-0 lead, in the 11th minute, after Kedie Johnson found the back of the net from a corner kick. The Haitians stared the nightmare for TT’s tournament campaign when their captain, Nerilia Mondesir, scored a hat-trick to inspire the comeback in the first group game for the teams.
The leading goalscorer of the championships thus far Canada’s Jordyn Huitema, followed the Haitian captain and exposed the TT’s defence by scoring a hat-trick of her own when Canada faced TT on Saturday night. TT took the lead of the match, in the third minute, as Aaliyah Prince volleyed home a corner kick and gave the home fans hope that the result would be in favour of the hosts. However, the tale remained the same for the local girls as they slipped to a 4-1 defeat to the Canadians.
TT suffered their final loss on Monday as Costa Rica overturned a 1-0 deficit after the halftime interval. Elaborating on the teams inability to take anything away from being ahead during the games, he noted, “It is not just in football, it is in our entire society. We have to become a nation, where, when the hard times come we have to show more resilience.”
Shabazz expressed the need to schedule more friendly matches and practice games for the team, to match the fitness levels of their opponents, if they want to seriously compete for future tournament qualifications and titles. He continued, “Also, we need to get them playing more international fixtures so they are able to understand the atmosphere at the next level. We have to focus on a higher level of match fitness, got to improve the battles on the training pitch and in doing so it would be transferred onto the field.”
The head coach did not leave the tournament with only a sour feeling as he detailed, “All in all , the positives of having a very disciplined team with the majority of the girls returning to the U-20 squad means this was a learning experience, so blows that do not break the back will certainly strengthen.”
Yesterday, in their Group B encounter, the US’ U-20s women got past Mexico 2-1 to finish on top of their group.