FORMER national women’s hockey captain Sherlan Cabralis commended the effort of the TT women’s national hockey team in the Pan American Challenge and believes the team can qualify for the 2022 Women’s Pan American Cup.
TT finished second with one win and two draws in the group phase of the 2021 Women’s Pan Am Challenge being held in Lima, Peru.
TT will play third-placed Paraguay in semifinal two on Friday, at 2 pm (TT time). The teams played to a 2-2 draw when the teams met in the group phase.
The first semifinal will see first-placed Peru tackle fourth-placed Brazil at noon.
The finalists in the Pan Am Challenge will qualify for the 2022 Women’s Pan American Cup.
TT ended the group phase with a 1-1 draw against Brazil, on Wednesday.
TT conceded a goal in the 32nd minute when Mayara Fedrizzi gave Brazil the lead.
TT bounced back and equalised in the 46th minute through Zene Henry.
It was the second consecutive match TT showed resilience to earn a draw.
On Tuesday, TT scored a goal in the closing stages against Paraguay to salvage a draw. On that occasion, Henry was the player who converted.
Cabralis said covid19 would have affected TT’s preparations. “The environment that we are in right now with the pandemic with lack of match fitness (they are battling)…we have not played competitive hockey for two years and it is very difficult to ask a team who has not played competitive hockey for two years to go and compete at an international level.
“Considering the environment they are doing well and they are getting results and that is important.”
Cabralis captained TT to gold at the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Speaking more about the importance of match fitness, Cabralis said, “Match fitness is extremely important and right now they do not have the match fitness, but they are still able to compete and get results so that is very good for the (hockey) programme.”
Cabralis said TT are in with a chance of finishing in the top two and qualifying for the Pan American Cup next year.
“We on par with the competition…everybody is on the same level so it could go any way. Once we stick with our play and really do the things that we are capable of (we could qualify).”
The former national player said the matches are closely contested with no team dominating the opposition.
Cabralis is delighted that the ground at the St James Police Barracks has been renovated as it was instrumental in developing players over the years.