National Under-17 Women’s coach Richard Hood is disappointed by the decision of CONCACAF to cancel the qualifiers for the U-17 competition.
The competition was scheduled to take place April 18 to May 3 in Toluca, Mexico, but a release from CONCACAF on Wednesday stated the Regional football governing body, CONCACAF decided that the regional qualifiers for its Women’s U-17 competitions had been cancelled.
This cancellation follows a decision by FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, on Tuesday to cancel the Women’s U-20 and Women’s U-17 World Cups.
Hood who had been given the responsibility of both the country’s U-17 and U-20 teams said he was disappointed because the tournament was an opportunity lost to aid in the development of the young talented girls.
“I was really looking forward to taking this bunch of talented girls into the tournament where they would have gotten the international experience that they are lacking. For most of these girls, it will be their first international outing, and it is where you can measure where you are and what you need to do to compete at the international level,” Hood said.
Eight Caribbean Football Union (CFU) inclusive of Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and T&T were scheduled to be involved in the Women’s U-17 competition, but the disruption caused to life by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the competition.
Hood called on the administrators of the sport in T&T to devise a system to ensure the young women footballers are exposed to international competition on a consistent basis, saying it is the only way to better the women’s game.
According to Hood, who earlier this year, took the U-20 women to the quarterfinals of the World Cup Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic: “The time has come to stop picking women’s and girls’ teams months before major international competitions. If we really care about the women’s game then more emphasis should be placed there, where constant training can take place, along with regular international matches.”
The former Police FC coach said he is not sure what will happen next with the U-17s and with T&T football, but he looks forward to working with the young girls again, saying: “We have very talented women’s footballers in T&T but you have to know what to do with them.”
Yesterday’s release said the impact of COVID-19 has been significant on the football calendar.
“With further uncertainty regarding options for dates in 2021 and concern over international travel of minors in the current environment, it is particularly challenging to reschedule youth competitions.
“Following FIFA’s communication that it has cancelled the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in India in 2020, CONCACAF has decided that the regional qualifiers for this event will not take place.”
CONCACAF said it also noted FIFA’s decision that the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, originally scheduled to be played this year in Costa Rica and Panama, will not now go ahead.
“The Confederation, however, welcomes FIFA’s decision to award to Costa Rica the 2022 edition of this World Cup,” he said. “The Costa Rican Federation will prove an excellent host for the competition.”
FIFA said their decisions were made after consulting with all stakeholders – including the host member associations, participating member associations and confederations – to continuously monitor the situation in relation to the pandemic, in particular with regard to any potential impact on the overall welfare and safety of age-group players and participants.