Trinidad and Tobago women's football team coach Richard Hood has named a 29-member provisional squad for the Concacaf women's Gold Cup qualifier versus Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on December 5.
Trinidad and Tobago currently sit at the foot of the three-team League A group with a solitary point, with Mexico (six points) and Puerto Rico (four points) in first and second spots respectively.
The top team in each of the three League A groups will qualify for the group stage of the February-March 2024 Concacaf women’s Gold Cup tournament – the first-ever staging of the competition.
The three runners-up in the League A groups will play the three winners of the respective League B groups for a spot in the Gold Cup group stage.
With the solitary group game left against Mexico, TT's chances of qualifying for the Gold Cup are thin, as they must defeat the group leaders and also hope for the Mexicans to defeat Puerto Rico by a big margin in their penultimate match on Friday. TT's goal differential is -7, while Puerto Rico's goal difference is zero.
Hood pointed to "incremental improvements" after TT's last match away to Puerto Rico on October 31.
The Trinidad and Tobago women got their first point in the qualifiers with a gutsy performance in a goalless stalemate. Rookie Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Simone Eligon was rewarded for her fine display in the two matches against Puerto Rico last month, as she was named to the Concacaf Nations League A Best XI for the October window.
Eligon, 23, is one of four goalkeepers named in Hood's provisional squad.
The squad is led by veteran and team captain Karyn Forbes and includes attackers such as Asha James and Maria-Frances Serrant. Hood has also included the schoolgirl trio of J'Eleisha Alexander, Orielle Martin and her namesake Talia Martin.
Both Alexander and Talia Martin are members of the Scarborough Secondary team which advanced to this year's Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Big 5 final and claimed the Tobago girls' intercol title. Scarborough will play Five Rivers in the Big 5 final on Thursday in Black Rock, Tobago.
Club Sando star forward Alexcia Ali, the scorer of TT's only goal in the qualifiers thus far, has been ruled out of the upcoming match, as she has been suspended.
Hood and TT will be hoping for better fortunes versus Mexico in the second group meeting between the teams, as the Mexicans stormed to a resounding 6-0 win in Pachuca in September.
TT's clash with Mexico will be preceded by a League B, group C match-up between St Vincent and Grenadines and Barbados from 4 pm.
TT's game will kick off at 7 pm.
TT's provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Malika Dedier, Simone Eligon, K'lil Keshwar, Akyla Walcott.
Defenders: Jonelle Cato, Tamara Johnson, Shauna Lee Govia, Chrissy Mitchell, Crystal Molineaux, Abbigail Moos, Lorall Romain, Victoria Swift, Christa Waterman, Britney Williams.
Midfielders: Arie Bhagan, Sarah De Gannes, Karyn Forbes, Naomie Guerra, Zoe Maxwell, Renee Mike, Chelcy Ralph, Cherina Steele.
Forwards: J'Eleisha Alexander, Asha James, Tsaianne Leander, Orielle Martin, Talia Martin, Tori Paul, Maria-Frances Serrant.