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Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team coach Jamaal Shabazz (centre) considers his option during international friendly action against Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 22 March, 2018. (Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz has again tried to tone down expectations of the Women Soca Warriors as they prepare to kick off their France 2019 World Cup campaign.

The qualifying series begins on 5 May when Trinidad and Tobago host Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts/Nevis and the US Virgin Islands in Group C.

All five group winners advance to the final Caribbean qualifying round scheduled for 18-26 August, with the top three finishers going on to the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship from 4-17 October in the United States.

CONCACAF’s top three women’s teams will qualify automatically for the France tournament while the fourth-placed nation will enter an intercontinental play-off.

The Women Warriors have been together for 13 months, under former coach Carolina Morace and then Shabazz, and, during that period, they have played four international friendlies.

However, Shabazz pointed out that the team does not have the player personnel it once did and is unlikely to top its performances in the 2015 qualifying series under coach Randy Waldrum, when they came within one result of the Canada World Cup.

“Where we are now in the women’s game is not where we were in 2014,” Shabazz told TTFA Media. “Therefore, with the utmost respect, we treat this draw and the opponents that we must face. It’s good that we played Panama in these two games and it answered some questions for us with regards to the team and its preparations.

“Of course, we are confident but we will by no means be cocky going forward into this competition. The preparation and approach will reflect that.”

The National Team will get additional warm-up action next month when they host Suriname (25 April), Grenada (27 April) and Guyana (30 April) in the CFU Challenge Series competition at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Trinidad.

The exhibition tournament should help ensure that the Women Warriors are in good shape when the World Cup qualifying series kicks off the following month.

2018 Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers 

Round One
[Host nation named first]

(Group A)

Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Anguilla, Aruba;

(Group B)

Haiti, Martinique, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, Guadeloupe;

(Group C)

Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, US Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada;

(Group D)

Antigua & Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Curaçao;

(Group E)

Guyana, Bermuda, Barbados, Suriname.