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Trinidad and Tobago's Chelsi Jadoo (left) challenges Panama's Karla Riley (right) during a CONCACAF Women's Championship match in Monterrey, Mexico, on Monday, July 11th 2022.

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior women’s team and head coach Kenwyne Jones are hurting after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss against Panama which ended their 2023 World Cup qualification journey on Monday.

But Jones said it was not the end of the line for his players, who will need to learn from the experience and come back stronger in future campaigns. He lamented a “moment of miscommunication or indecision” that allowed Panama to get the upper hand in Monday night’s contest in Monterrey, Mexico.

“It was a tough one but I think football is a cruel game...I think that our team were in control of a lot of the game but I think in the first half, that moment of miscommunication or indecision by two of our players coming together there and allowing them that pass outside to be able to get the cross (to eventually score) and from there we were caught reacting,” Jones told the media following the match.

“I think that put us on the backfoot. But in the end, if we were just a little more positive in continuing to move the ball through the midfield and getting in the attack, I think we would have had better chances but it is unfortunate. Of course, not being able to win the game, it hurts. But I think the team needs to take from this experience, learn from it and grow,” he added.

Unlike the other teams in the competition, Jones noted his squad only had an average age of 23 and contained a lot of university-level players.

“The gap between university football and the international level is a huge one. Most of the people we play against are professional players,” the T&T coach observed.

“Hopefully they can continue to grow and more of our players end up playing professionally so that the growth and development or our team and players can continue,” he noted, adding, “In all honesty, in my opinion the campaign could have gone on. I believe we could have won against Panama today.”

Jones continued: “I think we started off really, being able to solve a tactical change they made to their formation. We were dealing with it very well. Of course, when you have moments like this, you are in different emotions but for the team I hope that the building process for them continues to go on.” In terms of the immediate future of the T&T side, Jones said that was up to the administration but he reiterated the need to find and develop players who can go on to the professional level.

“We have to continue to find good players and players we can help mould. We need more players that are on the border of being professionals or are playing professionals. We need to close the gap. We need to get players who are more out there with different experiences and being able to get up to speed of the international game as well,” Jones concluded.

SOURCE: T&T Express