THE Trinidad and Tobago’s women’s football fraternity is banking on continued support from the Ministry of Sport and the Sportt Company to help them realise their dream of qualifying for Women’s World Cups.
This was clearly indicated following the exit of the Under 20 Women’s team last week at the CONCACAF Final round in the Cayman Islands. The Soca Princesses were beaten 7-3 by Costa Rica in the crucial encounter despite leading 3-1 in the first half of the third place play-off.
Only a day before the TT ladies were clobbered 6-0 in a semi-final encounter before being reduced to tears in a match that they really should have won. Their climb to the semi-final of the Under-20 World Cup Qualifiers came after impressive victories over the Honduras 2-0 and the home team- Cayman Islands 4-0.
TTFA technical director Anton Corneal, who has played an active role in the preparation of the T&T U-20 Women’s team as well as the senior national team, said he is expecting consistently good results from the team in the future.
According to Corneal “We’ve reached a stage in women’s football which never existed before which is an interest in the game locally and an increasing awareness . And to top it off there has been support from the Ministry of Sport,” Corneal said.
“Aside from that period when this country hosted the FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup in 2010, there has not been a concerted effort by the Sport Ministry to financially support Women’s football and that is no longer the case,” Corneal pointed out.
“The Minister of Sport (Anil Roberts) showed a significant amount of interest in the Under-20 Team and the Ministry and Sportt Company made considerable contributions to the cause. We even had the Minister showing up at practice. That to me says something and indicates hope for the Women’s game,” Corneal added.
“The girls were particularly thrilled to have Minister Roberts present on the field during the build up for the competition as it also allowed him to have a first hand experience of their efforts. This spurred them on to want to achieve successful results.”
Meanwhile captain of the team Anique Walker has called for her troops to be supported continuously.
The inspirational skipper who along with her teammates were brought to tears on their return home last week said, “I think the despair of missing out on an Under 20 World Cup may stay with me for the rest of my life but I want to see local women’s football continue to grow and we have a chance for the Senior Team to qualify for the next World Cup.”
She added “I think the administrators understand the importance of football for women and the Ministry has been there with us. We are looking forward to making them proud with our future efforts,” Walker said.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee challenged the women to make the best of the opportunities before them.
“The TTFA continues to embark upon programmes that will aid the development of local football including our various national teams and that involves women’s football,” Tim Kee stated.
“We have the grassroots programme that will see the kids being taught how to enjoy the game from a young age and also learn more about football in general. We are in the process of placing coaches into positions for the various national teams to ensure there is ongoing training and knowledge being gained throughout the year.
Several of these initiatives will also involve the Sport Ministry and Sportt working hand in hand with us and we are ever appreciative of the partnership with them,” Tim Kee added.
T&T are ranked 46th on the FIFA Women’s Ranking table and 5th in Concacaf. The Caribbean Football Union leg of 2015 World Cup qualification is scheduled to begin in April with fixtures to be announced soon.
Three teams from Concacaf will qualify automatically for the Finals with the fourth placed team going to a playoff with a South American team. Hosts Canada are automatic participants.