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T&T’s Aaliyah Prince, left, on the ball against St Kitts and Nevis in the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Zone Qualifiers, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva,on Sunday. PHOTO BY DANIEL PRENTICE/CA-images
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Com­ing off its first loss in the CON­CA­CAF Women’s Olympic Qual­i­fiers on Sun­day, T&T women's foot­ballers will look to bounce back against a tough op­po­nent in the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic on Tues­day at the Ato Boldon Sta­di­um in Bal­main, Cou­va from 5 pm.

It will not be an easy task against the on­ly oth­er un­beat­en team in Group A but the Stephen De Four-coached na­tion­al team has no plans to give up with­out a fight.

"We are go­ing to come out our hard­est and fight them. We are not go­ing to go there and lay down, we are go­ing to fin­ish the tour­na­ment strong," said De Four in the post-match con­fer­ence fol­low­ing T&T's 4-1 de­feat to St Kitts and Nevis on Sun­day at the Cou­va venue.

"It's not the re­sult we want­ed. We start­ed the game very slow. We got caught with some easy goals at the be­gin­ning of the game. When you go three goals down quick­ly, it's very dif­fi­cult to get out of it."

The na­tion­al team went down three goals in the first half. The sec­ond half saw a much im­proved de­fen­sive play from the host team, who was able to pull a goal back thanks to Den­ni­cia Prince but lead­ing play­er for St Kitts and Nevis, Phoeni­tia Browne sealed the deal with her third item of the match. The oth­er goal was scored by El­lie Stokes.

"St Kitts played a very good game. The strik­er on top was a very good play­er she held up the ball well. We just did not start as fast as I want­ed them to start at the be­gin­ning of the game and that ba­si­cal­ly cost us the game," said De Four.

"Our sec­ond half was a much bet­ter show­ing. We came out with a lit­tle more en­er­gy which we didn't have in the first half. They took the game to St Kitts in the sec­ond half.

"This is one game one this is foot­ball it hap­pens. We can't stop and we are not go­ing to stop are go­ing to keep this pro­gramme mov­ing."

De Four will be look­ing to his play­ers, who are be­ing led by cap­tain Karyn Forbes, to car­ry-over this lev­el of play in­to their match and ex­e­cute the game-plan this af­ter­noon from the kick-off.

They are all ful­ly aware of the ad­just­ments that must be made so as not to suf­fer a sim­i­lar fate against the pre­vi­ous leader of the group, who slipped to the sec­ond spot on goal-dif­fer­ence four com­pared to the new head of the five-team ta­ble, St Kitts and Nevis' eight. Both teams are on sev­en-points.

T&T, who is cur­rent­ly third place in the stand­ings with six points, is still in with a chance to seal one of three re­gion­al qual­i­fy­ing spots for CON­CA­CAF but there must be an im­prove­ment on both ends of the field.

"I think we have a good re­silient team here, the mix with the se­niors and younger play­ers," said De Four. "We're go­ing to come out and fin­ish the tour­na­ment strong. Nev­er let up!"

To­day's match­es

St Kitts and Nevis vs An­tigua and Bar­bu­da, 2.30 pm

T&T vs Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, 5 pm

Stand­ings

Place Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 St Kitts/Nevis 3 2 1 0 10 2 8 7
2 Dom Re­pub­lic 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
3 T&T 3 2 0 1 9 4 5 6
4 An­tigua/Bar­bu­da 3 1 0 2 2 8 -6 3
5 Aru­ba 4 0 0 4 2 13 -11 0

RELATED NEWS

De Four promises T&T fight in elimination match
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).


Concacaf Women Olympic Qualifying Championship

STEPHAN DE FOUR, coach of the T&T women football team, promises that his squad will put up a fight against the Dominican Republic today, in their final match of the Concacaf Women Olympic Qualifying Championship Caribbean Zone Group A.

T&T were spanked 4-1 by St Kitts/Nevis, on Sunday, in the latter game of a double-header, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Antigua/Barbuda pipped Aruba 2-1 in the earlier meeting.

St Kitts/Nevis, who lead the group with seven points (and a goal difference of plus-eight) will meet Antigua/Barbuda (fourth placed with three points) in the first of back-to-back games at Couva today, from 2.30 pm, with TT (six points) opposing the Dominican Republic (seven points) from 5 pm.

A St Kitts/Nevis victory will guarantee them top spot in Group A and a place in the 2020 Concacaf Women Olympic Qualifying Championship (venue and dates are yet to be determined).

T&T will have to beat the Dominican Republic and hope that St Kitts/Nevis fail to defeat Antigua/Barbuda in order to finish first in this group.

In Sunday’s match, St Kitts/Nevis broke the deadlock in the sixth minute courtesy Ellie Stokes, who collected a pass from midfield, held off her marker and slotted a right-footed shot to the right of goalkeeper Kimika Forbes.

Centre forward Phoenitia Browne extended the lead in the 13th, with a penalty to the left of Forbes after a handle-ball infringement.

Ten minutes later, Browne netted St Kitts/Nevis’ third, with an opportunistic strike from the left which went in, via the body of Forbes.

Dennesia Prince pulled one back for T&T in the 59th, with a right-footed strike, from the edge of the penalty box, which rebounded off the bar and landed over the goalline.

But Browne ensured that there was no way back for the hosts when she completed her hat-trick in the 84th, after chipping a right-footed effort over the advancing Forbes.

Looking ahead to today’s match against the Dominican Republic, De Four said, “We’re going to come out and fight it. We’re not going to just lay down.”

During the post-game media conference on Sunday, De Four said, “We have a good resilient group. I told them we’re finishing the tournament strong.”

Asked what will be next for the team if they fail to progress today, De Four responded, “This is a building phase for us. We just have to keep getting players involved, get more games and keep the players together.”

De Four lamented the lack of intensity by the T&T team during the early stages of Sunday’s match.

“It’s not the result we wanted,” said De Four, who was appointed T&T women coach in June. “We started the game very slow.

“It’s a team that’s rebuilding so we’re trying to give every player a chance to play,” he added. “We have a lot of youngsters in the team, mixed with senior players. We got caught with some easy goals in the beginning and, to go three goals down that easily, it’s very difficult to get out of it.”

T&T defeated Aruba in their first match 3-0 last Monday and Antigua/Barbuda 5-0 on Wednesday.

Deborah Baclawski, the St Kitts/Nevis coach, commented, “I’m very proud of the team for their discipline. We knew that T&T would be a tough opponent. We watched their first two games and we knew that they would bring everything to us. I’m proud of our team for their organisation and perseverance.”

Concerning today’s contest against Antigua/Barbuda, Baclawski said, “I have to keep reminding them that they have a game (today). We have to make sure that we remain focused.”