Jason Spence, coach of the T&T Under-20 Women Soca Warriors, which booked a spot in the eight-team Concacaf Finals last Sunday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is calling for more support for the team ahead of the next phase of qualifiers in December.
The T&T Renee Mike-captained Under-20 women got the better of Puerto Rico 4-3 on penalty-kicks following a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation and extra-time in their Caribbean Football Union third place playoff at the Sylvio Cator Stadium.
With the win, the Under-20 Women Soca Warriors joined eventual champions, Haiti and runner-up Jamaica as the CFU qualifiers for the December 3-13 Concacaf eight-team tournament from which three teams will advance to the 2016 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
Prior to the win over Puerto Rico in the playoff, the T&T Under-20 women, minus eight regulars from their first round series in St Vincent and The Grenadines due to injuries and schools commitments, whipped Curacao 4-1 and then drew with both St Vincent and The Grenadines (1-1) and Jamaica (2-2) for the second spot in the group behind the “Reggae Girlz”, before a 2-0 semifinal loss to Haiti.
Speaking after his team’s final match on Friday last, Spence said: “The girls have certainly showed their character with the limited resources and certainly deserved the qualification spot.”
In the CFU First Round Group Four qualifiers, T&T had wins over St Vincent and The Grenadines (2-0) and Dominica (6-0), but for the next phase in Haiti Spence had to do without the services of Zoe Swift, Chelcy Ralph, Corel Carmichael, Eden Charles, Ranae Ward and USA-based Amaya Ellis, the daughter of former Queen’s Royal College standout Mark Ellis due to injury or school commitments.
In their place, Spence drafted in Kedie Johnson, Jaasiel Forde, Shenieka Paul, Ranelle Pascall, Jordan Van Reeken and Demeisha Bailey and looking ahead, the T&T coach says he expects the team to get stronger.
“We now have a wider pool of players to choose from as the players who were involved in the CFU first round qualifiers in St Vincent and The Grenadines in July, and missed this phase will be coming back with the team when training resumes.
“We will have a couple days off and get back on the training pitch on October 31, to begin our preparations for the finals in Honduras which of course is going to be a tougher phase.
“The girls know it’s lots of hard work ahead to prepare for the Concacaf finals and they are certainly up to it.”
The T&T coach also praised All Sports Promotions, boss Anthony Harford who he said was very instrumental in helping the team to get to Haiti.
“As a team we have stepped up and shown our appreciation to Harford by qualifying for the Concacaf finals and for the next phase we will take a lot more, so I really hope that the powers that be will step in and insure we are given what’s needed to really compete at the next level.
“This includes, weekend camps, easy access to quality training venues, bus transport to and from the sessions as well as meals, and certainly quality practice matches,” ended Spence.