With Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team in the midst of World Cup qualifying business, another national team, this time the Women’s Under 17 team are deep into preparations for the start of the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup which will be played in Uruguay.
T&T will host Group A of the Caribbean leg of the Concacaf championship as they face US Virgin Islands, Curacao and Grenada from August 23-27. Haiti will host the final Caribbean round.
The winners of each of the five preliminary groups will advance to the final round to join Haiti, where they will be divided into two groups of three teams each, with the top three teams qualifying for the final Concacaf tournament as the CFU representatives.
Currently a T&T squad comprising of 25 players is being overseen by English-born women’s coach Joanne Daniel. The T&T team is also currently participating in the TTFA Women’s League Football (TTWoLF).
“Preparation is going well at the moment, We are working very hard, currently playing in the WoLF League and overall I would say things are progressing nicely although there is always room for improvement,” Daniel told TTFA Media on Saturday.
“Overall I think the players are progressing well. We have a larger squad of 25 at this time which is a bit high at this stage so close to the tournament but at the same time we want to give the players the best opportunity and then end up with the best squad for the competition.”
The T&T Under 17s lost 3-0 to Real Dimension on Saturday, giving a good account against a team that includes some six Senior national team players on its roster.
“We lost 3-0 against a team that is made up of a number of senior national team players, former and present, so for our team of players that are 14,16 or 17 to play and lose 3-0 isn’t bad and I thought there were a lot of positives to take from the match,” Daniel said.
“This team came together in March after being together for six weeks last year so it’s not a huge amount of time to get ready. We are trying to get a lot accomplished in a little amount of time to get them ready. We play in the qualifiers in August and then the next round is in October .
“In the league so far we played teams that finished in the top three last year in our first two games, we lost 2-0 and 3-0 in good matches so I am happy with how we are progressing but still there is work to do.
“I am confident we can do very well in the first rounds. We have very good attacking players, our defensive play and defensive structure I think needs more work and that is what we are focusing on. We have to win the first rounds yes but at the same time we have to be preparing to play the likes of Haiti and Jamaica,” added Daniel who has lived in T&T for the past nine years.
“Our goal naturally is to get to the Concacaf stage and give it our best shot to qualify for the World Cup.”
The team trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and play in the League on Saturdays.
The Under 17 staff is currently Daniel (Coach), Ricarda Nelson (Manager), Glennon Foncette (Goalkeeper Coach) and Natalie Harper (Equipment manager).
A total of 16 teams will play at the World Cup in December 2018 in Uruguay. Fifteen teams will qualify from six separate continental competitions including three from Concacaf.