Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Women’s Team are completing their final few days of preparations on home soil before departing for Colombia to contest the Central American and Caribbean Games.
T&T, coached by Jamaal Shabazz and including defender Arin King and goalkeeper Kimika Forbes who are back in training having recovered from injuries. will open their Group B account against Mexico at the Estadio Moderno Julio Torres in Barranquilla on July 20th. Two days later they face Nicaragua before closing the group stage against Haiti on July 24th. Group A comprises hosts Colombia, Venezuela, Jamaica and Costa Rica. The group winners and runners up will move onto the semi finals on July 27th with the bronze medal and gold medal matches scheduled for July 30th.
As Shabazz puts the squad their its paces, the spirit in the camp is an upbeat one as T&T also looks ahead to the final CONCACAF Caribbean round of World Cup qualifying in Kingston, Jamaica in August.
Experienced midfielder Karyn Forbes recognises the value of the upcoming matches in Colombia.
“We are working really hard at the moment especially on fitness and organization. The mood is really great and it’s just for us to keep our heads down and stay focused,” Forbes told TTFA Media following a session at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium.
“We need to be a bit more focused going into these games simply because of the fact that we are going to play Mexico, Haiti and Nicaragua which are all organised teams. We also have some new players in the squad including the return of my sister Kimika (Forbes) and Arin King as well as other players like Liana Hinds coming back in. We know these opponents and their capabilities, so we will be taking each game at step at a time and trying to ensure we are as solid as possible,” she added.
The return of King and Forbes who missed the early part of CONCACAF Caribbean World Cup qualifiers is a much welcomed boost to the team according to Forbes.
“Having them back in the team gives us more stability from the back come up. Arin brings her experience from Canada and Kimika from Colombia. It’s about having everyone helping the team in the best way possible. The mood now is really good. We are trying to push the younger players seeing they are part of the next generation coming forward. When my era moves out of the football, they have to take up the mantle and help the country as best as they can,” Forbes said.
Under 20 team player Natisha John is also anticipating the chance to stake a claim with the senior team.
“It has been a great experience so far. It’s fun being a younger player and the older ones motivate players like myself a lot. They are always behind us to push more. And then being one of the younger ones means I have to push myself more to keep up with the rest,” John said. “As a team communication is key for us. We try to have fun as much as possible but we are serious when it comes to preparation and games.
“I think we have it in us to bring it home when we get to Jamaica and secure a spot in the CONCACAF Finals. We know the Caribbean teams tend to come strongly at us so we know we have to bring our A-game. This CAC Games will also present with a good opportunity to get some match time before we travel to Jamaica for the qualifiers,” John said.