EXPERIENCED footballers Kenya Cordner and Arin King will be joining the Trinidad and Tobago women’s team in June, in time for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19 to August 3.
This according to Jamaal Shabazz, T&T women’s football team coach, in an interview earlier this week.
The national women’s squad are preparing for the start of their qualifying campaign, for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
T&T will be hosting Group C, in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship qualifiers, from May 19-27. Matches in the group will be contested at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, with T&T meeting the US Virgin Islands (May 19), Dominica (May 21), St Kitts/Nevis (May 25) and Grenada (May 27).
The group winners will move on to the Final Round, from August 25 to September 2, from which three teams will progress to the CONCACAF Championships, in the US, from October 4-17. Wingers Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon, defender Arin King and midfielder Maylee Attin-Johnson have not been in action with the national team, for over a year.
Cordner is currently engaged with Norwegian club IL Sandviken, while King is coming off an injury. Both Mollon and Attin-Johnson are pursuing coaching careers.
“Kenya Cordner is not available until June,” said Shabazz. “She should be available for the CAC Games.
“Mollon has expressed her desire to remain in coaching for now,” added the T&T coach. “King is going to be back in the squad from June as well.”
But central defender Rhea Belgrave has returned to the fray, after recovering from injury.
“Rhea Belgrave is back to full fitness,” said Shabazz. “She was out for the friendly matches (against Panama) and the CFU tournament. Now she’s back for the qualifiers.”
T&T had a 100-per cent record at the recent Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Challenge Series at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, with victories over Suriname (7-1), Grenada (8-1) and Guyana (3-1).
Shabazz, the former Guyana and T&T men’s coach, noted, “We rested one day, after the tournament, and the girls have been hard at it. The competition for places is stiff.”
Experienced US-born wing-back Taylor Mims will be in the training squad, while Canada-born striker Melissa Baynes has been included for the first time.
North America-based midfielders Shinelle Arjoon, Naomie Guerra and Kayla Taylor are also part of the training unit, as well as national Under-17 striker Afiyah Cornwall.
However, Shabazz admitted that the teams will only be fielding 20 players each, despite a heavy schedule of four matches in nine days.
Asked when the T&T team will be announced, Shabazz replied, “A couple days before because we still have players coming in. We want to give everybody a chance.
“But the presence of Rhea, Cornwall and Taylor Mims has increased the intensity in the training,” he ended.