T&T's senior women's football team will be joined by three players in the likes of-of central defender Rhea Belgrave, striker Kayla Taylor and defensive midfielder Ayana Russell in a day or so, as the team fine tunes its preparations for its opening match of the CONCACAF Women's Championships against Panama tomorrow at the Sahlen's Stadium in Carry in United States.
The trio is still awaiting their travelling documents. Since the team's arrival in the USA on Monday morning, it had two training sessions that consisted 15 players each, including yesterday.
The women have endured a mountain of challenges that included lengthy battles for monies owed to them for salaries, as well as the uncertainty of which players would be available for the Championship. Technical Director Anton Corneal, who is with the team said the girls have placed all these challenges behind them and are now focused on the task at hand.
The Soca Warriors have been drawn in Group A with giants USA, Mexico and the Panamanians, whom they will face in their opening game. Their next match will be against Mexico on October 7 at the same venue, before a date with the might of the USA on October 10. After round-robin play in Cary, NC and Edinburg, TX, the two group winners, plus the two second-place finishers will advance to the knockout round.
The semifinals, third place match and final will take place at the Toyota Stadium, in Frisco, TX.
The Soca Princesses played their Panamanian counterparts in two international friendly matches earlier this year, losing one and drawing the other 1-1. However, Corneal is eager to add reinforcement to the team's vulnerable areas when the two teams meet again, this time it's for a place in the FIFA World Cup finals in France next year.
"The spirit in the camp has been good. There is the understanding that in spite of the challenges faced, and what they continue to face, that they have to put all this all aside for the qualifiers. And to be honest the women have been through this before, so they are strangers to this situation," Corneal explained yesterday.
Guardian Media Sports understands that in addition to an already challenging situation, the women footballers are now dealing with the death of a player's close relative.
Thu, 4 Oct- T&T v Panama- Sahlen's Stadium, Cary
Sun, 7 Oct- Mexico v T&T- Sahlen's Stadium, Cary
Wed, 10 Oct- T&T v United- Sahlen's Stadium, Cary