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Trinidad and Tobago Women's starting eleven line up before facing Aruba in a match at Stadion Rignaal 'Jean' Francisca, Willemstad, Curaçao on Wednesday, May 29th 2024.

The country's senior women's football team left Curaçao Tuesday disappointed but happy after being beaten 3-0 by the host nation in the final match of the Caribbean Queen's International Friendly Tournament at the Rignaal Jean Stadium.

After two wins against Aruba and Curaçao last week, coach Richard Hood's charges failed to even fashion a similar performance to pull off at least a win against the same two teams. This, Hood attributes to three main factors- his players' fitness levels, the turf surface that they played on for the first time, and the loss of two key players in his lineup.

On Monday night, the Women Warriors were beaten 3-0, needing just a draw to clinch the tournament win.

Hood in an immediate response said, "We knew that a draw would have been good enough for us to win the tournament but we felt that it was important to try and balance the team in such a way that we could provide offensive threats, and at the same time remain defensively organised at the back. That is why we brought in Chrissy Mitchell at the back because this is the position she played in College and this is the position she played previously."

According to Hood: " With the absence of Kedie Johnson on the left, we thought that Arianna Borneo would be capable of providing some sort of threat on that side because she has a fantastic ability to attack well, but that of course, did not work out. In terms of our midfield, we were very much disorganised. We had two very young, inexperienced players in there, so the pressures of the big occasion and the nervousness probably got to them a bit. But I have to say that Cherina Steele particularly, I was very impressed with her performance. Last night (Monday), she worked hard, I thought she played rather well actually."

Hood, in an almost ball-by-ball commentary of the game, said: "Our game plan was quite simple, to remain defensively solid, we know that the threat would come from the number #11, particularly with her speed, and also the number 10 as well the captain. So the plan was not to allow them to get behind, but obviously, that didn't quite work out from the first minute. From the first attack she got behind and tried to square it back and unfortunately Victoria Swift turned the ball into her own goal."

"That was the worst possible start and it took apart our gameplan, really destroyed it. But I think the girls tried to do what we asked them to do, they tried to stay in it. We urged them to keep playing and I thought that following that early goal, we eventually settled down and started to make things happen. We created a couple of half chances but it was unfortunate that we weren't able to put them in the nets. I thought though that the girls worked hard, they tried their best."

"We conceded a second goal which was a wonder strike from a distance and I know that certainly would have deflated the young ladies, but they kept at it, they kept trying, they kept on creating opportunities but the third goal was the one that destroyed all faith of us getting back into the game and getting a result," Hood explained.

The tournament aimed at allowing the women players some much-needed international friendly experience, as there is no Concacaf or FIFA tournament for them this year, was well received. Hood said following discussions with officials of the two other teams there, it is hoped that the tournament can be brought to T&T for a second leg during the next FIFA Window, or a later window.

Aruba claimed the tournament win with seven points, while Hood's charges were second with two wins in four matches. Curacao secured the bottom position with four points.

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 21.Mikaela Yearwood (GK); 15.Kanika Rodriguez, 8.Victoria Swift (captain), 2.Shaunalee Govia, 6.Chrissy Mitchell; 12.Cherina Steele, 10.Asha James [Red card 74]; 13.Sonia Lamarre (14.Orielle Martin 67), 11.Rasheda Archer (7.Alexcia Ali 40), 3.Ariana Borneo; 9.Tori Paul.

Unused substitutes: 1.Maya Figgener (GK), 4.Kaitlyn Darwent, 5.Anastasia O’Brien, 16.Hackeemar Goodridge, 17.Mariah Williams, 18.Tayeann Wylie.

Suspended: 19.Talia Martin, 20.Kedie Johnson.

Coach: Richard Hood

SOURCE: T&T Guardian