TRINIDAD AND Tobago must win their final Concacaf W Championships Group B match against Panama on Monday if they are remain within contention of a place at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The Women Warriors take on Panama at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico and need three points to secure an inter-confederation playoff; T&T’s final chance of securing World Cup qualification.
T&T lost their opening two group B matches against Olympic champions Canada 6-0 and Costa Rica 4-0. Their failure to finish among the top two in the group saw them miss out on automatic World Cup qualification.
They now sit in cellar position and are yet to notch a point at the Concacaf tourney. Panama are also winless. However, a third place finish for either team in the group will affirm an inter-confederation playoff for the World Cup.
Panama though, are currently third having conceded less goals against Canada and Costa Rica compared to T&T.
It’s all to play for, said T&T women’s coach Kenwyne Jones in Sunday’s pre-match press conference.
“The game against Panama should be exciting. Both teams have a lot to play for, the chance to get into the playoffs next year. I think there might be some different tactical options happening but we look forward to the game.”
Experienced player Victoria Swift shared similar sentiments and pointed out that the team must give their all at the final hurdle.
The central defender said, “It’s going to be an exciting match, a must-win, in order for us to still have a chance to qualify. I think of us as a unit and a team, we’re excited and ready to work hard against Panama to get that victory.”
The last time both nations met was in October last year for two international friendlies. Both matches ended in drawn results (0-0 and 1-1).
Swift said their prior results against Panama were disappointing but they now have a chance to make amends, and hold on to a final opportunity securing a World Cup berth.
“We’ve had the opportunity to dust ourselves off and focus on the Panama game going forward. Even though we played them two times, we still have to gout there and play hard, play our hearts out to get that victory.
“It’s a learning experience for a lot of the younger players who have not been able to play on such a big stage. Going forward into this match, the mood is very positive and I think at this point all the players are on the same page,” Swift added.
Jones told reporters he is surprised the team is not delivering what he sees in practice, during competition. He deemed it a “mental problem” with some players.
“I’ve never put pressure on the team for results. It was always based on performance and that is something I will continue to do until the team gets to the time where we can look forward to guaranteeing or have the belief that we’re going to win games outright.
“But now it’s based on performance only and doing the things that we are good at and bring it to the game. Hopefully that starts (on Monday). I do think that improvement happens all the time,” he said.
The former national men’s team skipper continued, “You don’t see results of improvement right away sometimes. And I know we’re in a tournament that, of course, we want results to happen so we can get on to the next stage which would help in us being able to continue improving.”
SOURCE: T&T Newsday