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Sat, Jul

New assistant coach Carlos Edwards, left, looks on as head coach Kenwyne Jones, extreme right, delivers instruction to his players, including Cayla Mc Farlane, second from left, Kadeen Jack, third from left, Amaya Ellis, fourth from left, and Rhea Belgrave ahead of today's World Cup qualifying clash with Nicaragua at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 3 pm.
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National Women's football coach Kenwyne Jones is hoping for a positive start as well as potentially a bright future for his team ahead of Thursday's start of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers where his charges will face Nicaragua at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 3 pm.

T&T is aiming to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as well as the Concacaf qualifiers for the 2024 Summer Olympics in France.

Jones, a former national senior and junior international player, who is not a stranger to World Cup qualifiers said on Wednesday that despite having the weakest preparation among all the teams vying for qualification, his team will be balanced: "Yes we have a young team but I think we have a nice blend of players with experience, players that are in their prime and the young players. For any team that's heading into competitions like this, that is the blend necessary so, I am confident in the team that we have and what we're going to do."

On Tuesday, Amaya Ellis, the daughter of former Queen’s Royal College star player Mark Ellis revealed that the training sessions so far with coach Jones have been going well. “I think that the energy is high and everyone is really getting comfortable with each other on and off the field, so we just have to continue to build that team chemistry,” stated Ellis.

Jones' focus will be to receive maximum points. Jones the former T&T striker came in as a replacement for Welshman James Thomas who left last year to take up a job in the United Kingdom. Since that, it has been a tale of ups and downs heading into the qualifiers where his team will contest Group F. First his charges produced more-than-impressive performances at friendly matches against Panama and the Dominican Republic last year, and recently two of his experienced players Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner were not selected for reasons still untold to the media.

Following the team's final training session on Wednesday, Jones said depending on what happens today, their future in the qualifiers can be a difficult one: " Everyone is excited and focused. For them in this cycle of the World Cup qualification, it is the platform for them to set the tone for what is going to happen in the future. I know we came close in the past but we can't live in the past.

Starting with a win and winning every game guarantees you go through the group and if that is not what's happening, then based on what happens in the first game the future is out of your hands, you're depending on other results.

The most important game for us is the next game which is the game on Thursday, we have to take care of that."

Jones' 22-player squad will comprise Ellis, who was one of nine midfielders inclusive of Shani Nakhid-Schuster, Liana Hinds, team captain Karyn Forbes (Police FC), Kaydeen Jack (Grambling State University—USA), Asha James (West Texas A&M University—USA), Chelcy Ralph (Ball State University—USA), Kedie Johnson (Florida International University—USA), and Maria-Frances Serrant (Corban University—USA), and said ss also expressed excitement about reuniting with some of the players with whom she played at the younger national level.

Today's game will be the first time that local fans will be witnessing a game live since the pandemic. Fans will be allowed to watch the game for free.

Jones said while it will be ideal to have the crowd as the 12th man, that will only be a thing at the side as his team knows what it has to do and intends to do with or without the fans.

Supporters are required to walk with their vaccination cards and IDs to gain entry in the uncovered stands area of the HCS. Unvaccinated children will not be allowed to enter the game venue.

Three days later, T&T takes on Dominica in Guyana while T&T will play Turks and Caicos Islands on April 9, and Guyana on April 12 to close out the round-robin pool campaign. At the end of this stage, only the top team will qualify for the next phase of the competition.

WATCH: Kenwyne Jones, T&T WNT Head Coach, articulates his vision of 2023 World Cup Qualifying.

(T&T Team)

Goalkeepers:

1.Kimika Forbes (Police FC), 21.Tenesha Palmer (Police FC), 22.K’lil Keshwar (St Francis College—USA);

Defenders:

2.Abishai Guy (Point Fortin), 4.Rhea Belgrave (Police FC), 5.Shaunalee Govia (University of Mount Olive), 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (both unattached), 8.Victoria Swift (Club Leon—Mexico), 19.Meyah Romeo (Detroit City—USA);

Midfielders:

3.Shani Nakhid-Schuster, 7.Liana Hinds (both unattached), 14.Karyn Forbes (Police FC), 6.Kaydeen Jack (Grambling State University—USA), 9.Amaya Ellis (Johns Hopkins University—USA), 10.Asha James (West Texas A&M University—USA), 12.Chelcy Ralph (Ball State University—USA), 15.Kedie Johnson (Florida International University—USA), 18.Maria-Frances Serrant (Corban University—USA),

Forwards:

11.Raenah Campbell (Avantes Chalkida WFC—USA), 13.Dennecia Prince (Point Fortin), 16.Cayla McFarlane (Harvard University—USA), 17.Maya Matouk (Police FC).