TRINIDAD AND Tobago Under-20 women's football team coach Richard Hood announced his 20-member squad that will contest the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers in the Dominican Republic from February 22 to March 8.
The final tournament is expanded from eight to 20 teams, using the same format as the 2019 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship. The top two teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama as the CONCACAF representatives, besides Costa Rica and Panama who automatically qualified as co-hosts.
TT are in Group F with Haiti, St Kitts/Nevis and Cayman Islands. They face St Kitts/Nevis in their opening match on February 22 at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristóbal. TT will then face Cayman Islands on February 25 and Haiti on February 27. The top three teams from the group will advance to the knockout stage.
The TT team are scheduled to leave for Santo Domingo on Tuesday for a pre-tournament training camp where some of the North American-based players will join the rest of the contingent.
Hood said he was optimistic of the team’s chances of advancing into the knockout phase.
“The girls have been working hard and the programme has been intensive. We had an opportunity to assess them and what they are capable of. I think we have a nice bunch of players when you add the foreign-based players to the group,” Hood said on Friday.
“We have what I believe would be a very exciting offensive team. Defensively we would have some work to do because we have four defensive players here and another four added to the group so it’s about finding the right combinations as we get out there going into the tournament. That would be my big concern going forward,” he added.
The TT coach stressed on the importance of the training camp away from home soil before the tournament.
“The training camp is critical. This is the first time we have been afforded this kind of camp before a tournament since I have been involved in women’s football on the international stage. It gives us an opportunity to really prepare well, assess where we are physically, tactically and technically. We have three games before the tournament as well so it’s beautiful and an ideal situation for us,” he said.
Looking back at the preparations which commenced in December, he said, “It was difficult from the point of view where we met a bunch where the physical levels were really low. We had to take our time as well because we had concerns about injury and some players were lacking from a technical standpoint as well. But I am seeing a lot of improvement physically and technically and I think the players are having a better understanding of how we want to play and the style of play we want to implement. We are working on this on a daily basis."
TT Squad –
Goalkeepers: K’lil Keshwar, Chelsea Ramnauth.
Defenders: Shalisha King, Tsian Fernandez, Arnelle Douglas, Sydney Boisselle, Lathifa Pascall, Nathifa Hackshaw, Roshun Williams.
Midfielders: Sarah De Gannes, Megan Rampersad, Aaliyah Pascall, Chrissy Mitchell, Maria Frances-Serrant, Sydni Greaves.
Forwards: Cayla McFarlane, Tori Paul, Aaliyah Prince, Afiyah Cornwall, Alexia Ali.