Tue, Sep

Former national Women's football coach Marlon Charles

Former national Women's football coach Marlon Charles is not expecting any surprises when the Women Soca Warriors contest Group F of the CONCACAF/FIFA World Cup Qualifiers starting in November during the FIFA Women's Window.

At the CONCACAF draw on Saturday last, the Women Warriors were drawn in Group F which comprises Dominica, Nicaragua, Guyana and the Turks and Caicos Islands. They need to win the group to progress.

The other groups are- Group A: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Anguilla; Group B: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, Curaçao; Group C: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada, Cayman Islands; Group D: Panama, El Salvador, Barbados, Belize, Aruba; and Group E: Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands.

All the group winners will join the USA and Canada, who are both on a bye into the final eight teams, at the CONCACAF World Championships and World Cup Qualifiers. The women's World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

The T&T team is being coached by Welshman James Thomas and he is being assisted by another Welshman Charlie Mitchell. The team began training more than a month ago and Thomas is planning two live-in camps in September and October respectively, and as many international friendly matches ahead of the start of qualifying action.

Charles told Guardian Media Sports he is not expecting any surprises when the action starts, once the T&T women's team prepares properly.

"I don't expect it to be like the Men's team because we have a number of really good players in the team presently. It's a group that we definitely should get out of easily but my only concern is whether the girls can deal with the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We see how many players from different sports such as tennis etc, have been complaining about mental health. Well, I believe that once the girls can cope with the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, then they will be fine. It will now depend on how well they adapt in the midst of the pandemic," Charles explained.

Apart from COVID-19 and other problems, Charles believes the Guyanese team could be the only bit of concern for the T&T girls, as they have a very strong base of players in Canada and the United States.

"The Guyanese have always been able to source a number of players from Canada particularly, but once our team begins to train and do so properly, we can be a dominant team at any tournament," Charles said further.

The T&T women are expected to open their campaign at home to Nicaragua.

Charles called on the players to not take any team for granted and pointed to what happened with the T&T men's team at the qualifiers.

In the Men's World Cup qualifiers, the TT team failed to emerge from a simple group that comprised Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and St Kitts/Nevis.

Like the women, they needed to finish as the top team but drew with Puerto Rico 1-1 and Bahamas 0-0, and won against Guyana 3-0 and St Kitts/Nevis 2-0.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian