T&T Women Soca Warriors will be boosted by the inclusion of four overseas based players when they meet Jamaica in the feature match of a Caribbean Football Union Women’s Olympic Qualifier semifinal at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 7 pm tonight.
Speaking yesterday after his team held a light morning training session at the match venue, T&T assistant coach Anthony Creece, who has been given the responsibility of leading the team through the qualifiers, said midfielder Dernelle Mascall has already linked up with the squad while the trio of Karyn Forbes, her sister Kamika Forbes and utility player Khadidra Debesette were set to arrive late yesterday from their US schools.
The quartet were unavailable for T&T in their two-match Group Two series against St Lucia which ended 14–1 in the Women’s Soca Warriors favour following 6–0 and 8–1 wins at the same Couva venue on Friday and Sunday.
Asked how the late arrival of the four players would hamper the team, Creece, a former national Olympic team player, said he does not see it as being a major problem.
He said: “All the girls are coming off of just concluded seasons with their respective school teams in the USA, and tomorrow morning (today) we will have another light session so they can get into the mix of things ahead of the match.
“The positive thing for us is that the quartet are all senior members of the team and no strangers to the group, so fitting back into the team should not be a problem.”
Looking ahead to the clash with the Jamaicans, who T&T defeated 1-0 in their CFU Final meeting at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on August 26, Creece said it will not be an easy encounter.
“We rested the trio of Janine Francois, Tasha St Louis and Jo-Marie Lewis for the second match against St Lucia and they should all be back to 100 per cent for tonight’s match as well,” said Creece.
St Louis scored as beaver-trick in the first-leg 6-0 win, while Ahkeela Mollon did the same in the second-leg triumph and both will be looked upon to produce again tonight.
The stand-in T&T coach was also hopeful of seeing a much larger crowd than he has seen for the opening two matches.
“It’s going to big match as Jamaica is our main CFU rival, and coming a day after the men’s match with USA. I see no reason why the T&T public cannot continue that show of support by coming out to our match.
“The turn out for the matches against St Lucia was disappointing and for today and Friday, its only $30, so as a team we are hoping that we get the public behind us because it gives the players that extra lift on the field,” said Creece.
Prior to the T&T/Jamaica clash, Puerto Rico and Guyana meet in the first semifinal from 5 pm.
The winners of tonight’s semifinals will meet in Friday’s final at the same venue from 7 pm, and will be preceded by the third place playoff at 5.30 pm.
At the end of tournament, the top three teams will advance to the eight-team Concacaf final round event from February 10-21 in Houston, USA, next year.
From the Concacaf Championship, the top two will qualify to the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.