Shabazz says Under-20 players not committed
Attempts are being made to convince midfielder Maylee Attin Johnson and Akheela Mollon to return to the T&T Women’s team currently competing for the top spot in Group C of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
National coach Jamaal Shabazz said they have had to do this because of the lack of commitment from the country’s under-20 players which competed unsuccessfully at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship at the same venue a few months ago.
At the post-match press conference after the Soca Princesses hammered USVI 10-0, Shabazz said parents of the Under-20 players are more concerned with them receiving scholarships and focusing on their studies than representing their country at football.
This lack of commitment has led to the overuse of veteran midfielder Tasha St Louis in the team. According to Shabazz, “When I came into this set up in August last year, I never expected that Tasha would be playing such a big role. We know that she is captain and I thought she would have been used sparingly. We did not get the commitment from the Under-20s and the pool isn’t too big, so she still has a lot of minutes to play.”
The T&T women are expected to finish at the top of the group to have any chance of progressing to the Concacaf qualifiers. But Shabazz is taking no team for granted as he believes more is needed if T&T is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in France. Saturday’s win came from a beaver-trick from influential midfielder Mariah Shade and a double from Karyn Forbes. Shabazz said he was pleased to have received maximum points but he will have to move players around due to the number of matches they have to play, and the time to play the matches in. Competition for places in the team has also lifted the intensity of his team’s play.
In their opening matches, the T&T women were dominant, and the scoreline reflected it, despite attempts by USVI to contain them early in the match.
Izler Browne, the USVI coach who was a former national player and coach, said her team’s challenge was over and they can now focus on the coming matches.
US Virgin Islands v Grenada, 4pm
Dominica v T&T, 6.30pm