National Under-20 Women's coach Richard Hood is set to make a few changes to his defensive structure ahead of Wednesday's difficult quarterfinal encounter with Mexico at the Olympico Felix Sanchez, from 6 pm in the Dominican Republic.
on Monday Hood, the Police FC coach admitted that his team is vulnerable in defence and changes will be made. But he was reluctant to say what the changes will be, for fear of not giving anything away to his opponents.
The Soca Princesses had a well-deserved day-off yesterday after a herculean effort enabled them a quarterfinal berth at the expense of their Puerto Rican counterparts 5-4 from the penalty spot on Sunday.
Hood was yesterday high in praises for his girls, saying they have achieved the objective set out for them by the T&T Football Association, which was to qualify for the quarterfinal phase. However, he now wants the girls to take it a bit further by moving on to the semifinal stage.
"We are confident that we can make it to the semis. I know it's going to be a monumental task against the Mexicans because the girls worked really hard against the Puerto Ricans and now they will have to produce a similar performance to get past the Mexicans. It will be a test of their physical and mental toughness if we are to progress," Hood explained.
The Mexicans have scored 21 goals in their four matches to date; consisting of a 12-1 win against Grenada: 3-0 against Guyana: 4-0 against Nicaragua and 2-1 against the Puerto Ricans. And now they will fancy their chances against T&T, whom they have had more favourable results against in the past.
According to Hood "We have a basic idea of how the Mexicans play, but today I will do a detailed study of the Mexicans for our next practice session, to determine how we will prepare for Wednesday's game. We know the Mexicans like to work on cross balls, so this is an area we will have to work on."
The Soca Princesses whipped St Kitts/Nevis 6-0 in their opening match and shut-out the Cayman Islands 2-0 in the second, before being crushed 0-7 by emerging regional giants Haiti last week. Hood, however, said from their matches he realises they have to work on their defence.
"I cannot say if the defence will be strengthened in numbers, but I know there will be changes in the defence. We will also have to work on making the transition from defence into attack."
From the Soca Princesses' two group wins, they finished second in the Group F behind the Haitians, who had an unblemished record going into the knock-out phase.
Also tomorrow (Wednesday), Jamaica's Reggae Girlz will be up against the host (Dominican Republic) from 1 pm while CONCACAF giants USA will have a date with Canada at 3 pm, both matches carded for the Estadio Panamericano.
In the other match, Haiti will take on Guyana from 4 pm, while the T&T/Mexico encounter will be the last game on the day.
Reaping the fruits we have planted.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
SUSAN JOSEPH- Warrick, president of the T&T Women’s League Football (WoLF), is pleased with the performances of the national team, who advanced to the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championships quarterfinals.
On Sunday, at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, T&T defeated Puerto Rico 5-4, via kicks from the penalty spot, in their second-round contest, after the scores were locked at 3-3 at the end of 120 minutes of regulation and extra times.
The T&T team, coached by Richard Hood, will turn their attention towards Wednesday’s fixture against Mexico.
Hood, who began his reign as team coach in January, spent most of his time assessing players, and scouting at the North American-based ones, before finalising his team for this tournament in mid-February.
Joseph-Warrick, who is also a TT Football Association (TTFA) vice-president, commented on Monday, “I am very happy and pleased because we are moving forward, just exactly what we (TTFA) wanted to have happened.
“We went out of our way, made sure the girls had a camp where they could have synchronised with each other…. the international and the local girls,” she continued. “The coaches were able to see them, (also) blend the team, mix the girls and get things going. We are now reaping the fruits of what we have planted. I must say hats off to the technical team.”
With regards to the Puerto Rico encounter, Joseph-Warrick said, “(Sunday’s) game was totally intense, it was nice to see the girls hold their own. It shows that the girls have the grit to go forward. I’ve expressed my gratitude to them and we’re getting ready to face Mexico on Wednesday.”
The national women’s programme has been going through problems over the past five years.
Will this team now serve as an inspiration for the revival of women’s football in T&T?
“Yes,” Joseph-Warrick replied. “I will add that this is the planning-ahead that the current TTFA is now striving, because we have the (Under) 17s and (Under) 15s who are currently in training. All will be given the opportunity to produce the best teams moving forward.”
In an article on the TTFA website, Hood said, “Of course I’m happy with the result. We have crossed the hurdle to get into the quarter-finals which was our main objective coming into the tournament.
“We achieved the main objective, the objective of the technical committee which was getting to the quarter-finals. My main objective was to get into the semi finals and we are still on course for that.
“The girls work hard and I’m happy about that,” Hood continued. “I am proud of the resilience shown. But we really could have worked smarter and I would have liked to see us stick to what we were supposed to do throughout. But I’m happy with the result.
“We have achieved the goal of getting to the quarter-finals. Now we look towards preparing well for that quarter-final and look to see what we can do against who would be the favourites, the Mexicans. They are a quality team and of course we have our work cut out.
“I don’t think it is impossible. At this stage of the tournament anything is possible. And if we prepare well and we recover well, have our plan and stick to our plan then anything is possible in the quarter finals.”
Team manager Maylee Attin-Johnson, the former T&T women’s captain, was impressed by the character shown by the squad.
“As poorly as we played, what I was most proud of about the young ladies was their resilience and determination to never give up and to fight through a gruelling 90-plus minutes to come out of and still have the lead and confidence to score all five kicks.”
She continued, “For us and what I know about tournament football is not about how good you look or how good you perform, but it’s just about getting the job done and we were able to do that today and now we look forward to the game on Wednesday.”