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Trinidad and Tobago Women line up before facing Guyana at Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, Tobago on April 12th 2022

While he has seen improvement in the Trinidad and Tobago senior women’s football team since taking over as head coach, Kenwyne Jones assessed that they will have to “step it up a couple of notches” as they head into the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship which is the final stage of qualification for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

For the CONCACAF W Championship, the T&T women were drawn in a Group B alongside Canada, Costa Rica and Panama while Group A consists of the United States, Mexico, Jamaica and Haiti.

Jones, speaking to the media during a virtual media conference on Thursday, outlined some of his plans in the build-up to the W Championship, which includes practice matches and getting acclimatised to the high altitude of Mexico.

“We know it is World Cup qualification and every match is important. We’ve gotten to stages before where we fell at the final hurdle and hopefully, we’ll be able to go over this hurdle come this tournament, but it starts with the first step and the first training here and it starts with how we go about our training every day to get better, fitter and stronger,” said Jones.

“I think over the six months I have been with the team, they have grown from strength to strength and I applaud that...going into this tournament a lot of things will have to (be) step(ped) up in terms of the support for the team and preparations,” he emphasised.

Asked about the composition of the team for the upcoming assignment, Jones said they will get a chance to see a few more players in training over the next two months and expects the competition for places in the starting line-up to become tighter.

“I think the pool of players are already settled. Whether or not players were available at the times we wanted them to be a part of the camps and qualification games was another story. But we are going to have a few other players who are part of the pool that we are going to see over the next two months or so, before the tournament, and hopefully that will further add to the level of the squad and the competitiveness and then give us a good headache going into the tournament,” the T&T coach explained.

In terms of the team’s preparations, Jones said practice matches will be crucial but will depend on when all the players will be available to come together as a team.

“I think the way we will be able to step up preparations before this tournament is based on when we can get all the players in,” he noted. “I know quite a few of the college players are graduating at the end of the month, so they will filter in sometime in early May. The pro players, a few of them are finishing in early May as well, so we will be able to get the players in as early as possible.

Jones continued: “We have been planning for the long time in terms of what we need to do and how we need to prepare and the sort of things we need to add. Hopefully, with collaboration with the federation, we will be able to have a couple matches. I know locally once we have the squad together, we will have a few training matches and maybe a couple of matches before we go off the Mexico.”

“The thought process is to be in the same altitude probably 10-12 days prior to our first match so we can get acclimatised to the conditions. Then we will go into the tournament with all our analysis of the teams…so I don’t have any worries about what our preparations will be,” Jones added.

SOURCE: T&T Express