Thu, Sep

Waldrum pleased with ‘Soca Princesses’ performance

RANDY WALDRUM, coach of the national women football team, is pleased by the squad’s display as they got the better of Antigua/Barbuda 3-0 in their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s Caribbean Cup Final Round Group A battle at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday.

 Mariah Shade netted twice for the hosts, while Tasha St Louis netted the other strike. 

During the post-game media conference, the 57-year-old Waldrum, who also coaches the Houston Dash in his native United States, said, “I’m really pleased with the result. The objective is to qualify for (the Concacaf Finals) and two wins put us in a spot to do that. 

“The way the opposition played by dropping so deep and condensing space, I thought we did a really good job in the second-half of adjusting to some things,” he added. “It was a matter of time, once we broke them open with the second goal, then it opened up things a little bit more.”

Before the kick-off, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) issued a media release stating that striker Kennya “Ya Ya” Cordner was withdrawn from the starting line-up due to chest pains. 

Waldrum explained, “we had three players (that) came after the first game (against St Kitts/Nevis on Wednesday) complaining of some chest pains. Immediately we got a hold of the Federation and we sent the players to the doctors. 

“I spoke several times, not only with the doctors, but with the Federation. Two of the players ended getting some tests done and were cleared. ‘Ya Ya’ got some tests done, wasn’t completely cleared and they want to do some further testing on her, as a safety precaution. 

“The decision that I made was in conjunction with the Federation, that is ‘let’s don’t take any risks, let’s get all the tests done first and then put her on the field’.” 

Captain Maylee Attin-Johnson pointed out, “we got the result that we wanted. We definitely missed Kennya with her speed and tenacity on top.” 

Ironically, Attin-Johnson will miss today’s top-of-the-table clash against Martinique due to suspension, after collecting yellow cards in the previous two matches. 

“Maylee is such a big part of what we do and it’s going to be difficult to play without her. But I think we’ve got a lot of quality players,” said Waldrum. “I’ve all the confidence of the 20 players that we selected. We’ll miss her experience but it will provide an opportunity for a young player to get some time in a crucial game. Martinique are not going to be an easy team.” 

Attin-Johnson stated, “I think Ayanna Russell can play on Sunday (today) and she will definitely be able to take over my (armband) and lead the girls to victory.” 

Asked if some fringe players may play today, Waldrum replied, “we want to look at all the players if we can. We’re trying to get some of the young players some time. 

“Some players right now are maybe not where they needed to be physically and that’s part of the reason why they’re not playing. Others just need to gain a little bit of experience. So I’m going to try to get as much as I can.” 

About her pair of goals, Shade pointed out, “it’s always a good feeling to represent Trinidad and Tobago. We worked hard. In the second-half, we did what the coaches wanted.” Rowan Isaac, coach of the Antigua/Barbuda team, was high in praise for his players’ execution of his defensive strategy. 

“At times it was absolutely brilliant,” he said. “One thing in football, you have to respect your opponent. You have to face the reality that the opponent is much better than you. The reality is we can’t chase the ball, we have to play numbers behind the ball.” 

He continued, “basically that was the strategy, to allow the Trinidadians to play in defence all they want but as soon as they come in, over the half, we pressure the ball. I think we had our strategy right on par. They worked their socks off and they were absolutely magnificent.”