National Under 20 Goalkeeper Klil Keshwar, like each of her National Under 20 teammates, all in their late teens have typical Christmas wishes. Some have their eyes on precious items, some will expect lovely surprises and some if not all are hopeful of world peace and more love. But there is one wish that they all have in common. It’s in hope of a reward that they will all be able to celebrate following the Christmas festivities – qualification for the 2019 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in France.
T&T have found themselves in an ideal situation, playing at home from January 18th-28th at the Ato Boldon Stadium at the TTFA Home of Football, a right given to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association by Concacaf. The competition will be stiff nonetheless with traditional powerhouses United States and Canada pressing for a qualifying spot while the likes of Mexico and Costa Rica are expected to be tough opponents.
T&T have never qualified for an Under 20 World Cup or any Women’s World Cup but participated at the 2010 Finals as hosts. So for Keshwar and company, this is a perfect opportunity to write history. T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz has a squad of 28 players in a residential training camp as he fine tunes the preparations for what is expected to be an exciting and extremely competitive tourney.
“My role is important for any game as it depends on a goal to win the game and also to prevent goals from being scored. So if I can keep a clean sheet then it means we have a greater chance of winning the match. I have a very key part to play in the team’s attempt for success,” Keshwar said about her responsibilities in the team.
“I’m very excited for the tournament in January. Just being around teammates and supporters who want the best for us and being able to train and compete and push ourselves to the limit over this period which is also a very significant time of the year… this makes everything even more special.”
Keshwar was keen to point out what she sees as the team’s biggest asset.
“What stands out most in the squad is the love along with the fact that we can learn more about each other and basically we are a family of sisters. There are great jokes and fun times but most of all the hard work that we are able to put in as a team and the love we have as teammates are the biggest parts for me. This is helping us to become better individuals in so many ways,” added the former T&T Under 15 and Under 17 custodian.
“The preparation has been very intense and we have to come out with our best foot forward because we are seeing that the other countries are going all out. And this encourages us because we know that we have to be at our best in order to compete and realise that dream of qualifying for a Women’s World Cup.”
The Bishop Anstey player, who stands at 6’1 said that T&T Senior Women’s team goalkeeper Kimika Forbes is a source of inspiration for her.
“She definitely is a great source of inspiration for me. She is the best goalkeeper in the country right now and I am aiming to be able to surpass her one day. And to be able to be involved in training sessions with her makes me feel special because I look up to her and I have the chance to train with her and become a better goalkeeper,” Keshwar said.
T&T faces Haiti in the second game of a double header on the opening day of competition on January 18th at the Ato Boldon Stadium. The other competing teams in the competition are Jamaica, Costa Rica, Canada, United States, Nicaragua and Mexico. Three countries will qualify for the 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.