Tue, Mar

Trinidad and Tobago's Maria-Frances Serrant on the ball during a 2024 Concacaf Women's Gold Cup qualifier against Puerto Rico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Friday, October 27th 2023.

Key players Maria-Frances Serrant and Chrissy Mitchell will not feature for Trinidad and Tobago in Tuesday night’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifier match away to Puerto Rico, because of visa issues.

Serrant and Mitchell did not travel with the team to Puerto Rico on Saturday for their third group match despite both featuring in Friday’s 2-1 home loss to Puerto Rico, at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The players’ absence was confirmed by T&T Football Association (TTFA) media officer Shaun Fuentes on Monday.

“Full squad didn’t travel. Chrissy Mitchell had no visa and Maria Serrant won’t receive hers in time to get there,” he said via WhatsApp message on Monday.

In Friday’s match, Serrant played the entire game while Mitchell was substituted on in the 85th minute for Asha James.

Serrant also played full-time for their opening group match against Mexico, which T&T lost 6-0, while Mitchell was started by coach Richard Hood, and was then replaced in the 62nd by Naomie Guerra.

Both national team regulars will be missed as the women warriors remain in pursuit of their first point of the Gold Cup qualifiers.

Currently, the winless T&T are third in group A of the three-team League A standings. Mexico (six pts) are unbeaten and Puerto Rico (three pts) second.

After Tuesday’s match, T&T play Mexico in their final group test in early December.

The top finishers in each League A group (three teams) will qualify for the 2024 Women’s Gold Cup group stage.

Furthermore, the second-place finishers in each League A group (three teams) and the first-place finishers in each League B group (three teams) will advance to the Women’s Gold Cup prelims.

This means T&T needs favourable results from the final two matches to possibly qualify for the Gold Cup group stage or the prelims. A loss against Puerto Rico on Tuesday would see them eliminated.

In Friday’s post-match press conference coach Hood said the team might only be able to get in a full session and a half of training before kickoff, since the entire squad is not travelling together.

Three points against the Puerto Ricans, he said, remain top priority.

“We have to go for a victory. If we get a 2-0 victory then we’re right back in it. That is going to be the mindset, to go out there and try to get a victory.”

After Friday’s match, Hood said fitness remains a concern for the team but is optimistic his unit has what it takes to bounce back from the two losses.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday