T&T’s Under-20 women’s football team will meet Jamaica’s under-20 team from 6:30pm today at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, in the first of two friendly matches between the Caribbean rivals.
The second match happens on Saturday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium from 4pm and will cap the TTFA’s contribution to the recognition of CONCACAF’s Women’s Football Day celebration, which will also include the NLCB Elite Youth Development Program Girl’s Under-14 tournament at 9am.
T&T and Jamaica are looking ahead to the CONCACAF women’s tournament in January, for which T&T has qualified automatically as hosts while Jamaica hopes to be one of two remaining teams along with St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti and Dominican Republic progressing from the final Caribbean qualification round which takes place from November 22-26 in St Kitts and Nevis.
Head coach of the T&T team, Jamaal Shabazz, says that the matches against Jamaica are ideal for his unit which he says is not where it needs to be in preparation but can get an accurate measure by taking on their Caribbean rivals.
Shabazz said, “Jamaica are in an advanced stage of their preparation for their final CFU qualifying round to qualify for the CONCACAF round in January. We thought it would be a good opportunity to test the work that we have been doing, and these two games would provide an interesting measurement to see where we are at right now.”
Shabazz took over the team after the sudden departure of Carolina Morace and her staff in July, seven months after being appointed. Since then he oversaw the Under 17 team which failed to move on from the Caribbean round in their quest to qualify the Uruguay 2018 World Cup after a 3-1 loss to Jamaica and two draws against Bermuda and Grenada at their Caribbean tournament in Haiti last month.
Meanwhile, T&T forward Laurel Theodore admitted that the transition from one coach to another has been difficult but is confident that she and her team-mates have adapted well to Shabazz’s coaching and are ready to put on a worthwhile display for the T&T public.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports, Theodore said, “Mentally it was a very rough transition but the girls have already gotten accustomed to the new coach and the team will progress under the circumstances because we really want to make Trinidad and Tobago proud. The girls are a hard working group of girls, sure to work for each other. We play a very beautiful and solid game which is sure to get the crowd involved.”
Jamaica’s U-20 Reggae Girlz coach upbeat as team heads to Trinidad and Tobago
By Sherdon Cowan (Jamaica Observer)
Jamaica's young Reggae Girlz will move one step closer to qualification for the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship as they depart for Trinidad & Tobago for two valuable friendly matches against the hosts.
The delegation will depart the island today at 1:00 pm for the twin-island republic, where they will do battle tomorrow at the Ato Boldon Stadium at 6:30pm and again on Saturday at 4:00 pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
From there the delegation will depart for St Kitts and Nevis on November 20, where they will get down to the meat of the matter in the final phase of Caribbean qualifiers, which will be held November 22-26.
Assistant Coach Xavier Gilbert stressed the importance of the two friendly encounters as they hunt one of two spots in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship to be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago in January next year.
“We had our final camp last weekend and it was good. The fitness has improved somewhat and that is a positive as we head into the qualifiers. The two games against Trinidad should assist in further strengthening the team from a fitness standpoint, and it will also assist in the girls finding the right chemistry and bond,” Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
There will be a few additions to the team, which easily progressed through the first phase of the Caribbean round with 10-0 and 2-1 beatings of Curacao and Bermuda, respectively.
Under-17 striker Olufosade Adamolekun, along with Florida-based Shayla Smart and Maya Swaby-Wallerson, who were both a part of the Under-17 unit which contested the CONCACAF round in Grenada last year, have now been included.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Yazmeen Jamieson will be the only new addition to the set-up to partner Sydney Schneider.
“As you know, quite a number of them attend schools in the States, so this will be the first time we are assembling the full squad since the last tournament. So this (the friendlies) is a positive step forward as we will spend five to six days together before moving into St Kitts.
“So we are looking forward to that and we anticipate that it will bring a lot of good to the team to ensure that they play well in the qualifying tournament to ensure that we are there again in Trinidad in January,” Gilbert noted.
In St Kitts and Nevis, the young Reggae Girlz will square off against the hosts, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Should the Jamaicans advance to the CONCACAF Championship as the Caribbean champions, they would find themselves pitted in Group B alongside defending champions United States and another powerhouse in Mexico along with Central American outfit Nicaragua.
If they progress as the runner-up team, they would be pitted in Group A alongside Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and Canada.
The top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in France.
Squad — Olufosade Adamolekun, Jadyn Matthews, Gabrielle Gayle, Jody Brown, Peterkaye Green, Tarania Clarke, Tateyana Pitter, Sashine Smith, Sherice Clarke, Alyssa Julien, Ebony Clarke, Emily Caza, Erin Mikalsen, Giselle Washington, Marlee Fray, Kevena Reid, Shayla Smart, Sydney Schneider, Maya Swaby-Wallerson, Yazmeen Jamieson.