T&T Under-20 Women Soca Warrior player Maya Matouk is of the firm belief that she and her teammates have not accomplished anything and must remained focused on the task at their feet. And that entails maintaining their team bond and improving as a unit as they move on to the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 Women’s Championship in Haiti in October.
Matouk, a student at University of Tampa, led T&T’s charge in their 6-0 defeat of Dominica in their CFU Under-20 Women’s closing first round fixture at Victoria Park, Kingstown, St Vincent and The Grenadines, on Tuesday night, to see them top Group Four with maximum six points. T&T now moves onto the Finals round-of qualifiers in Haiti from which the top three teams from the eight-team tournament will advance to the Concacaf Finals.
At stake in that final tournament in Honduras in December will be a place in the 2016 Fifa Under 20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. “Even though we accomplished our first objective, going on to the next round is going to require us to stay even more humble and dedicated as we will be facing teams that are stronger,” a confident Matouk said.
“We will take the experience of the past games with us and hope to increase our level of play to be victorious in the next qualifying round. Winning this first round was definitely a confidence boost for all and this will keep our spirits high,” she continued.
Looking back at the game in which she notched a double, the ex-St Ann’s Rangers and IMG Academy player said sticking to the game plan laid out by head coach Jason Spence and proper communication among the players and staff were key factors. “Sticking to the game plan given by coach was definitely the key factor in our performance. We were told to give everything we had when we stepped out on the field and that’s exactly what we did,” she said.
The team was skippered by central defender Renee Mike and included the likes of the talented Amaya Ellis, Chelcy Ralph, Tsaianne Leander who scored a double in the 2-0 win over St Vincent and The Grenadines, Shauna-Lee Govia, Naomie Guerra and goalkeeper Nicolette Craig.
“We stayed focused and humble throughout the qualifiers. Being a team with all teammates fully committed and willing to strive for excellence made our goal easier to achieve. We developed an effective method of communication and this was another important factor that allowed the game to be played smoothly,” Matouk added.
The T&T forward was a member of the T&T Under-17 Women’s Team that won the 2013 Caribbean title in Haiti, beating the hosts 1-0 in the final. She is familiar with the conditions there and has a feel for that stage. “Now we have a few weeks to prepare for the next stage which is going to be tougher and will require more out of us. But I think everyone’s up for it and we’ll be working towards staying on top of our game and pull off the results to keep us going in this campaign,” Matouk said.