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U-17 women prepare for qualifiers

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-17 qualifiers have been rescheduled to August 20, according to the national women's coach Rajesh Latchoo.

The competition was originally carded to kick-off on July 15, and had to be postponed altogether as a result of deliberations within the CFU over a venue. Now the girls are preparing for an August 20 kick-off in St Kitts.

The postponement and eventual rescheduling caused the under-17 team no end of trouble, as there were players who were also eligible for the under-20 women's team who were about to start their respective qualifiers in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

As a result, Amarya Ellis, Kelsey Henry, Renae Ward and Raenah Campbell were all called up for national under-20 duty where they excelled in their two matches.

"They got playing experience which helped them," Latchoo told the Express yesterday.

"The experience they received from playing at a higher age group level will help the team in St Kitts."

The four players have already returned to the national under-17 set-up, however, some players may not be available because of school commitments abroad.

According to Latchoo, Alexis Fortune, Arianna Campbell and Ayanna Arneaud will return to Canada, while Amarya Ellis had to return to her club in Germany. Latchoo indicated that they are waiting to see if she would be allowed to return for the qualifiers in a fortnight's time.

Despite the setbacks, Latchoo said the team has had a lot of preparation due to the number of matches they played in the Women's League Football (WoLF).

"The WoLF has helped the team tremendously and helped the fringe players to get into the starting XI," he said. According to him, playing in a league where most of the players are already seniors has helped to prepare the team mentally for the qualifying challenge ahead.

The CFU qualifiers will now be played in St Kitts from August 20-27, and will serve as the initial stage for the U-17 Women's World Cup quest.

The final tournament will take place next year in Jordan.