Thu, Feb

Kennya Cordner during a training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Tuesday, October 19th 2021.

NATIONAL women’s senior team striker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner has called on teammates to shut out the noise and place full focus on Thursday’s international friendly match against Panama.

The Women Warriors play their first official match in over two years at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva from 3.30pm.

Cordner, who plies her trade in the Norwegian top-flight with IL Sandviken, encouraged her new and long-standing teammates to rally around each other amidst the team’s on-going challenges.

Over the past two weeks, the coach of the senior women’s team changed . After five months in charge, Welshman James Thomas resigned on October 6 for a job in the English women’s league.

Last Wednesday, American and former men’s futsal coach Constantine Konstin was appointed interim head coach but then stepped down owing to personal reasons on Sunday.

Ex-national men’s captain Kenwyne Jones was then appointed interim head coach on Monday and will serve in this capacity until November 30.

In an interview with T&T Football Association media on Wednesday, Cordner urged her teammates to remain focused.

“The challenges will always be there but we as players must know that this has been a long going thing.

“If we want to go forward we need to put these things behind and think football, togetherness and team because if we dwell on things that we cannot control, then it will control us and football will not be played, we need to be focused on what we’re here for and it’s basically football,” she said.

The 32-year-old attacker was pleased to return to the national set up after over two years of inactivity from the T&T team. T&T women played their last match in October 2019 against Dominica Republic and drew goalless.

Cordner however, remained in Norway and continued playing when the league resumed after covid19 restrictions were lifted there. She has scored two goals for her club for this season thus far, the most recent one just 11 days ago.

“I’m pretty much excited after being away for so long. It’s a great feeling to come back to represent the red white and black despite the challenges that we face. I am still happy to be here to go out there and give my best,” she added. In the Concacaf region, Panama are ranked sixth while TT are eighth. On the overall FIFA rankings, Panama are 59th and TT 70th.

Cordner rued the team’s inability to secure at least one practice match ahead of Thursday’s friendly. She said the team will still approach Thursday’s match and show that T&T can still prove to be a good challenge.

The seasoned player said she still has to familiarise herself with some of the newer players on the team but believes the mood in the camp is a positive one.

“There are a lot of new faces for me because I have not been around for a long time. But I’ve grown so much to understand when you’re around something new, it’s to adapt.

“The vibes and energy I’m getting from the girls is a great one. We just have to go out there and do our best. Like Maylee (Attin-Johnson) says, when your legs stop working, play with your heart. We will need heart to go out there and represent the red, white and black,” she added.

Additionally, interim coach Jones said he enjoys the energy and willingness of the squad. Although he has only been in charge for four days, Jones was able to hold a couple training sessions with the squad ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

“What we’re doing is trying to develop a culture within the squad. Now these two games will give them a test and see where we’re at, where we need to improve and also give us the ability to see new players in this type of setting.

He continued, “I’m also very curious to see what will happen for the things and problems we have to face and what we have to solve. How we go about that on a daily basis and how we instill the confidence in this team as we push towards the goal of qualification (Concacaf qualifiers in February 2022).”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday