Mon, Jul


National senior women’s football captain, Maylee Attin-Johnson, believes that despite her team missing out on two opportunities to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, the lessons learnt were priceless.

T&T missed out on automatic qualification when going under to Costa Rica by penalties after their 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship semi-final matchup finished 1-1 at the end of extra time. They would later squander a similar opportunity when suffering a 4-2 extra-time defeat at the hands of Mexico in the third-place playoff after holding a 2-1 advantage.

Speaking to the Express following a press conference at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport on Monday, Attin-Johnson said the Costa Rica match was a very tight encounter.

“Penalty kicks are always like Russian Roulette as it can go either way.

“I don’t think it (the loss) was a matter of us not being focused, but after playing for 120 minutes and then having to contend with that was a bit difficult, but we were able to put that behind us and go on to put up a good fight against Mexico.”

Against the Mexicans, however, she believes they allowed themselves to waver a bit.

“In that match I think we allowed the euphoria of the moment when we went up 2-1 to get the better of us. We lost focus and I believe it’s a situation we have since learnt from,” she said.

T&T has one final opportunity to qualify for the World Cup when they face Ecuador in a two-leg playoff with the South Americans hosting the first leg on November 8 and T&T at home in the return leg on December 2.

When questioned on the team’s plans to cope with playing in the above sea-level conditions they will encounter in Ecuador, she responded: “I believe the honourable Minister of Sport is trying to get us out to Mexico by Wednesday (today) so we would be able to train at high altitude for six or seven days and then back to normal atmospheric conditions.

“The aim is to do it in a scientifically-proven way so that we can be acclimatised to above sea level conditions we will have to play under in Ecuador so we’re hoping that plan comes through as soon as possible and we start our preparation from there.

Attin-Johnson said she cannot say for sure if any member of the team had previous experience of playing in South America and as far as she can recall, one previous match in Mexico was their only experience of playing at high altitude.

She said they are going into the games against Ecuador with the motto ‘performance beats old talk any day.'