14 Sep 2010
- Written by Kern De Freitas (T&T Express)
- Hits: 1446
They may be out of the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup 2010, but Trinidad and Tobago coach Even Pellerud is "proud" of the Soca Princesses' progression from zeroes to heroines.
Pellerud admitted after the crucial Group A match against North Korea, on Sunday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, that when he took over the team in January last year, he was not optimistic about their chances at the competition.
But with the hard work of his technical staff and the players themselves almost two years later, he was filled with pride at seeing his team play competitive football against defending champions North Korea and African giants, the "Flamingoes" of Nigeria.
"We're disappointed with the result, because we really believed we could beat Korea DPR," Pellerud revealed after the 1-0 defeat for the home team.
"We made the worst possible start to the game because of a tactical error in defending a free kick, and that made it an uphill struggle for us," the Norwegian tactician said.
Pellerud was not happy, though, with his team's attacking effort.
"We were very good in defence and very well organised but I was a little disappointed with the way things went up front. We didn't play well in and around the Korean area and we can be more creative than we were today."
At a thank you dinner at their home base at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, after Sunday's match, Pellerud expressed the hope that despite T&T's first round exit, the women's football programme will continue to grow.
"I hope the TTFF (Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation) takes advantage of what we have while the interest in the game is high," Pellerud stated.
"It would be disappointing if they do not. The World Cup 2012 will be in Vietnam, I believe, it is only two years away."
T&T captain Lauren Schmidt was also "disappointed" to lose and exit the tournament. She was, however, pleased with the hard work and unity of the Soca Princesses.
Even Korean coach Ri Song Gun was impressed with Trinidad and Tobago's effort after a "tougher" 90 minutes for his team than he foresaw.
"It was a much tougher game than we expected," said Song Gun through an interpreter at the post-match press conference. "We thought it would be a lot easier, but obviously we underestimated Trinidad and Tobago in our preparations, because they are a very strong team and have a lot of quality."