Maylee Attin Johnson, captain of T&T’s women’s national team, says there a fairy tale story will be written on December 2 when this country hosts the second leg of the Fifa Women’s World Cup intercontinental playoff against Ecuador.
Attin Johnson was speaking at a reception hosted both by the Ministry of Sport and the T&T Football Association (TTFA) at the Diplomatic Lounge, Piarco International Airport, immediately upon the team’s arrival from the US, where they came off a fourth placed finish at the Concacaf Women’s Championship a day before. “There is going to be a happy ending to this story. A fairytale one,” she declared.
The fourth place finish assured T&T another attempt at qualifying for the World Cup by virtue of a two-legged meeting with Ecuador, which finished third in Comnebol’s World Cup qualifying tournament. On Monday, Attin Johnson formally addressed an audience which included a number of proud dignitaries from the T&T Football Association (TTFA) including president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips, as well as the Minister of Sport, Rupert Griffith and representatives of TTFA’s corporate sponsors.
Despite her team’s best efforts in difficult circumstances, Attin Johnson admitted that the target set out was not met, but gave an assurance that her team will do everything possible to overcome the South American opponents.
“As I told my teammates, performance beats old talk any day. I think we went out there to complete a mission and we didn’t. But, God has a way where he gave us another opportunity and with opportunity, you can either take full advantage of it, or all it to pass you by.”
I think we’ve had a lot of difficult times throughout out national team stay and we never allowed it to keep us down. And we are on a mission to ensure that our struggles do not become our identity. Come December 2, we would need full support,” she added. Attin Johnson expressed pride in her players, each of whom she said stepped up when called upon, in spite of their own perception that the team lacked depth.
“All the struggles that we endured over the past few weeks, not only off the field, but, you know, we’ve pushed some of the best Concacaf teams to the edge and the most important thing is that we left everything out on the field, so there was no regrets. “Throughout that entire tournament, we haven’t fielded our full team. We had Janine Francois out, Tasha St Louis a shell of herself due to injury, Karyn Forbes, Ayanna Russell...
It’s been difficult, but we have a great coach. He trusts in each and every player and every player he called on, stepped up big time for us. We showed that in this tournament, where we could hold the mighty US to a 1-0 (loss). And, in that game we had a couple opportunities that we could have scored.”
Attin Johnson said her team played with heart, grit and determination but given the circumstances, the players could offer little more. “But most importantly, we still believe. God gave us another opportunity. There is going to be a happy ending to this story. A fairytale one. Come out there on December 2, and give us that support that we need. Hopefully, in these next few days the players who are injured or need to get game fit are able to do so.”
Women Soca Warriors head to Mexico
The “Women Soca Warriors” will attempt to adjust to high altitude conditions, a strength of their Ecuadorian playoff opponents from tomorrow when they depart for Mexico City for a training camp. T&T will meet the South Americans at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa, in Quito, on November 8, from 2 pm (local time) in the first of a two-legged playoff for the last available spot between Concacaf and Comnebol, for next year’s World Cup in Canada.
The camp is expected to help the players cope with the conditions associated with playing at a high altitude including a decrease of oxygen.
The elevation of Mexico City is an estimated 2,250m above sea level and approximately 550m lower than Quito. At the conclusion of the training camp, the team will head straight to Ecuador. The second leg will be hosted by T&T three just over weeks later on December 2 at a venue to be determined.