THE TRINIDAD and Tobago women’s hockey team will leave for Peru on Wednesday for the Pan American Challenge in Lima, Peru from September 26 to October 2.
TT, Paraguay, Brazil and hosts Peru will be vying for two qualifying spots for the Pan American Cup (a World Cup qualifier), which will be staged in Santiago, Chile from January 12-26, 2022.
TT coach Anthony Marcano said on Tuesday, “Everybody is looking to win. At the end of the day, this is the first step to get into the Pan Am Games again. This is what it’s really about.”
The national women’s team had a few training sessions at the hockey astroturf, at the Police Barracks in St James.
According to Marcano, “We’re doing the best with the opportunities that we have, we can’t do (anything) else.”
He added, “It’s (a pandemic), we have to take that into consideration. The actual field that we would have preferred to train in, is not available, that would be (the National Hockey Centre) in Tacarigua.
“The government indicated that national teams preparing for competitions could train. Our problem was a facility. We were training in Diego Martin (Recreation Ground).”
Concerning any practice games in Peru, Marcano said, “We wouldn’t play (any) practice games. We just have to train as best as we could, get familiar with the surface and deal with (things) from there.”
The team has a blend of experience and youth.
Among the experienced players in the crop are Teresa Lezama, Avion Ashton, Amie Olton, Brianna Govia and Brittney Hingh, while Mia Otero, Naomi Sampson and Nicole Whiteman have made the step from the Under-21 team who featured in last month’s Pan Am Championships in Chile.
“Continuing on the development of the sport for women, I think it’s only fair we utilise those coming out of the Under-21s, and utilising them in (this) environment here, before the tournament.,” said Marcano.
The TT team will leave on Wednesday in two groups – one at 4.15 am and the other at 7.45 am.
Players (clubs in brackets): Teresa Lezama, Daniella Martin, Daniella Cabralis (Malvern Sports Club), Naomi Sampson, Sarah Sampson, Gabrielle Thompson, Zene Henry, Avion Ashton (Paragon), Mia Otero, Amie Olton, Brianna Govia, Brittney Hingh, Savannah de Freitas, Shaniah de Freitas (Magnolia), Arresia Sandy (Paradise), Tahirah Wynne, Nicole Whiteman (Notre Dame), Giann Anya Sealey, Amanda George (Ventures).
Technical Staff: Anthony Marcano (coach), Ellis Chance (assistant coach), Christabella George-Ford (manager), Dr. Jude McKnight (doctor), Kevin MacIntyre (physiotherapist), Dennora George (nutrition and rehabilitation therapist).
SCHEDULE (TT times) –
September 26: TT vs Peru, 2 pm.
September 28: TT vs Paraguay, noon.
September 29: TT vs Brazil, noon.
October 1: Semi Finals.
October 2: Third-place playoff and Final.