Having already tasted some success, the National Under-17 women are working hard at becoming the first Trinidad and Tobago women’s team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.
Recent T&T women teams have come close without such success. Both the senior women and National Under-20 squad fell at the final hurdle, when seeking a World Cup spot.
The Under-20s led Costa Rica and were just five minutes from a World Cup spot, until wilting in the closing stages. Likewise, after coming fourth at the CONCACAF Women Championships in 2014, the Women Soca Warriors missed three chances to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, including a 1-0 aggregate loss to Ecuador, for the final spot in this summer’s Canada 2015 tournament. The T&T National Under-17 women are hoping to go a step further.
“The ultimate goal is to qualify for Jordan 2016, which is the girls World Cup tournament,” stated head-coach Rajesh Lachoo, who recently had 30 young ladies through their paces at Ato Boldon Stadium.
“We are preparing for the CFU (Caribbean Football Union) qualifiers which will be held supposedly in July and ultimately the CONCACAF qualifiers,” he continued. “We have been training since last February (2014), for what was then the CONCACAF Under-15 tournament.”
The current Under-17 girls are a spill over from the team which finished a respectable third to Canada and Haiti at the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 girls tournament, held last year in the (Cayman Islands).
Having put in 175 training sessions, former Joe Public men’s head-coach Lachoo believes the team is stronger than at last year’s CONCACAF tournament. Although finishing third, Lachoo revealed that visa and ticket issues meant he did not carry his best team when finishing third. They have since further strengthened with the addition of an attacking midfielder.
“We have five foreign-based players. They were actually here recently, four of them. They paid for their own tickets and came down,” Lachoo said, USA-born Renah Campbell and Alexis Fortune among them.
“We have played ten practice matches already, and next month we join WoLF (Women League Football) Premier Division competition, so we are probably guaranteed eight games before we go the tournament,” Lachoo said.
Lachoo believes that he has the talent to go to a World Cup, but that the team needs the support of Trinidad and Tobago. With World Cup qualifying soon to begin, Lachoo hope they get better support than when going into last year’s CONCACAF support.
“I hope for the resources, the facilities and all the financial issues settled, and hopefully going forward everything will be in place so that the girls can continue to get the best preparation or even better preparation than we have right now,” he said.