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14
Sat, Dec

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The Women's Professional League (WPL) is due to begin next month. But the local women's football season will kick off today, when the Women's League Football (TT WoLF) will commence as planned.



The defending champions St Ann's Rangers look set to add to their trophy cabinet this year, but not if their challengers have anything to say about it.

Hot on their tail should be Point Fortin Civic Centre, who they edged by one point last season, as well as St Augustine FC, who are becoming an emerging threat.

The Rangers outfit headed by Jason Spence, who copped the Coach of the Year award at the recent launch of the league, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training field, has moved up the ranks rapidly over the last few seasons.

"We are only three years young, so it was a very big achievement for us to come up from the initial first division to win the premier division three years later," Spence told the Express.

The main ingredient for Civic Centre's success was quite simple; home-grown talent.

"What we have are a number of players who I have had from school, most of them from the North Zone of football because I coach St Francois, so that's how I formed the team." Spence said. He didn't single out one particular outstanding player from last year, saying his team's strength was because their collective effort. "The goals were shared among the first team," he said. 

"Some of my players were able to move on to the national Under-20 team, including Jo Marie Lewis, Annalise Cummings and Maya Matouk, while Tenesha Palmer was the second-string goalkeeper to Kimika Forbes in the World Cup qualifiers."

The coach has been active recently as he has mobilised the Under-20 national team, in preparation for competition as well as added two new recruits to Rangers. Despite preferring to rely on his home-grown players however, he has acquired Natasha St Louis and Afia Mathis, both formerly of Real Dimension.

Due to the emergence of the WPL, it is uncertain who would be certain contenders for the league this year Point Fortin have been directly affected by the new professional league. However Spence did identify Point Fortin and St Augustine as his expected challengers.

St Augustine coach Desiree Sarjeant also cited unity as the determining factor in her team's rise. "A lot of our players are past and present pupils from St Augustine Secondary. I don't singularly look out for one player who should make a difference; we try to emphasise that all of us collectively can get us to the pinnacle." she said.

Sarjeant remained grounded as far as her side's chances are concerned. "I'm happy that teams look at us as a threat. We don't see it like that, we just want to go out there and continue working hard." 

St Augustine have been runner-up in the lower division and have finished in the top four in the premier divisions two years in a row. They finished third last year.

The WoLF competition will consist of 19 teams based in three groups, two based in the North and one for South/Central which are to be named after outstanding past women's players.

Fixtures (Today)

Delie De Silva Group

Trincity Nationals v Tobago Chicas (Eddie Hart Grounds, Tacarigua) 4pm

U-17 National Team v St Augustine FC (TBA) 4pm

St Ann's Rangers v Defence Force (Dibe Recreation Ground) 6pm

Tomorrow

Ricarda Nelson Group

Netshakers FC v Queen's Park CC (QPS, St. Francois Ground) 4pm

Diego Martin Central v Real Dimension (Patna Village Ground, Diego Martin) 4pm

St Ann's Rangers B v Malvern FC (TBA) 4pm

Izler Browne Group

Point Fortin Civic v Crowne Trace (TBA) 4pm

MOS Schoolaz v Central FC (TBA) 4pm

Waterloo Starlets v La Brea Angels (TBA) 4pm