Thursday's 3-0 victory by Panama over T&T's women footballers at the CONCACAF Women's Championships did not come as a surprise to many which included former national player and coach Angus Eve, considering the turmoil the sport has been in, and the issues the women faced.
Eve, who is also the coach of Naparima College in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) said yesterday, "Everything was done for the women to fail at this tournament, which was highly unfortunate. Absolutely nothing was done to give the girls a fair chance of progressing at this competition."
The coach whose exploits in the game earned him a stint in the English Second Division pointed to the lack of organisation, formation and structure that could have been seen in the T&T team due to little to no preparation, which according to Eve was expected.
He told Guardian Media Sports that nothing could have been done with a team where there was doubt about players' availability, players' salaries, no training camp, doubt about who was going to coach the team, and whether there were the resources necessary to conduct proper sessions, among many others.
"In short, the players did not lose to Panama because of their ability but rather because of improper preparation," Eve explained.
At the Sahlen's Stadium in Cary, North Carolina, USA, the Soca Princesses playing their first match of the Championships, which is being used as a qualifier for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France next year, conceded a goal in the 12th minute from Marta Cox for a 1-0 half-time advantage, and two other items in the second period from Kenia Rangel in the 68th, and Erika Hernandez late in the match.
The opening loss did not sit well with a number of players, who took to social media to voice their frustrations with the team's lack of preparation including Kimika Forbes, Kennya Cordner, Mariah Shade and Lisa-Jo Ramkisson.
Forbes was quoted saying: "3 friendly matches for the men with 3 months and 1 training with 15 players and 45 mins (minutes) game before our first game in world cup qualifiers...tell me about caring about the women team, men team have just a friendly and he gets his team an entire week before, then you put us in tough situations and expect so much but it is what it is the Lord alone knows but he doesn't like ugly..."
To which Cordner responded: " Sad eh."
The thread continued with Shade agreeing. She said: "My thoughts exactly and they don't even have World Cup Qualifiers. Always treated like this and then they expect us to perform at this stage. Sad, Sad...always sending us with no preparation."
One on the post suggested that the players should "boycott tournaments until TTFA get it right!"
To which Ramkissoon replied: "You know the crazy thing if we boycott TTFA might be happy, you playing you ain't know those ppl (people)."
With the result, the T&T women now face an uphill task to be among the top two teams to advance from an already challenging Group B, that also comprises Mexico and the football giants, the United States. The team is scheduled to take on the Mexicans in its second match on Sunday at the same venue.
Eve said, "I don't think it's beyond the girls to come out of the group but it is going to be very difficult for them to do so."
The T&T team will also be minus Jenelle Cunningham for the remainder of the competition having been ruled out with a torn ACL, and possibly Cordner, who was taken to hospital after suffering a concussion.
Eve said, "When I saw the team play at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Qualifiers in Jamaica, I saw a bunch of really good players. They looked matured and consisted a balanced of well-seasoned players, such as Tasha St Louis and Rhea Belgrave etc. But with all that has happened to them from then to now, I really don't think we did justice to the girls, and they suffered tremendously because of this."
Eve questioned why the TTFA did not appoint a top coach to take the team into the qualifiers, saying: "I think it was known that the country would have qualified out of the Caribbean qualifiers, as we have done consistently over the years. And if that was so, why wasn't there proper planning. Why when Anton Corneal accepted the position of caretaker coach that the football association did not go through the resumes it had and appointed a top coach?
"This would have at least given that coach the opportunity to look at the team and chart a way forward."