Sun, May

Cooper: US camp integral for women players.

THE PROPOSED pre-tournament camp will be essential for the national women football team, as they turn their attention towards the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will run from October 4-17 in the United States.

This according to Shawn Cooper, coach of the national women’s team, during a telephone interview yesterday.

On Monday, the TT Football Association (TTFA) announced that Cooper will take charge of the squad during the CONCACAF Championship, which will feature eight teams battling for three automatic places at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

On Tuesday, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe held separate meetings with members of the TTFA and the women’s team, at her St Clair office.

She announced that the Ministry will provide a sum of $430,000, the full amount requested via a TTFA proposal, for the costs of the camp, airfare, hotel accommodation, food and beverage, medical and baggage fees and other items.

“The camp is necessary because the majority of players are outside,” said Cooper. “We need to get the players on the team playing together and, whatever tactical work we have to do, we need the majority of the squad to be doing it.

“The camp is very integral in terms of the progress of the team.”

The TT squad are expected to leave for the US on Tuesday.

Cooper also serves as coach of Presentation San Fernando in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) and Queen’s Park in the TT Super League.

About his additional duties as TT women’s coach, Cooper said, “I just took over and I am trying to do the best that I could do at this point in time, with the cards being dealt.”

During the past week, defenders Lauryn Hutchinson and Arin King took to social media to plead for support for the team ahead of the CONCACAF Championship.

Asked how the players are coping since the Ministry’s decision to foot their bills for the US trip, Cooper replied, “You’ll have to get on to the players and speak with them because I have no idea what they are thinking.”

In Group A, TT will face Panama (October 4), Mexico (October 7) and hosts US (October 10) at the Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina.

Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba and Jamaica will feature in Group B.

Concerning the areas, within the team, that he thinks would require his urgent attention, Cooper said, “When we get to the camp, we will assess what we’ll have to deal with. It’s a tough task.

“As a coach, you’re always have stuff to do.”