The National Under 20 Women’s team is getting additional support from members of the Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s team technical staff as they get ready for the upcoming CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s Championship which kicks off on January 18th with a double header at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 5pm.
Men’s Senior Team trainer Saran Joseph and physic Dave Isaac have been drafted in to the Under 20 sessions as head coach Jamaal Shabazz attempts to get his players in the best possible shape for the eight-nation competition which will see the best in regional women’s youth football assembling at the TTFA Home of Football until January 28th. Joseph, already trained to operate the GPS/Heart Rate Monitor system used by the Men’s Senior Team, is overseeing similar operations with the U-20s along with managing their strength and conditioning training. The other members of the current Under 20 staff include Marlon Charles (Assistant Coach), Desiree Sarjeant (Assistant Coach),Glennon Foncette (Goalkeeper Coach), Steve Frederick (Equipment manager), Shakira Thompson (media liaison) and Ricarda Nelson (team manager).
Shabazz has continued to explore all options available with an aim to having the team prepared in the best possible way and TTFA technical director Anton Corneal has also been offering his expertise having also previously worked with the Under 20 Women’s Team when it narrowly missed out on qualification for the Women’s Under 20 World Cup in 2014 by way of a defeat to Costa Rica in the third place playoff.
Player Dennecia Prince, who hails from Point Fortin, said she is particularly excited about the upcoming tournament because of the opportunity to play in front of home support.
“So far the preparations are good and every one has to work hard to gain their picks. I have been in the national team since I was 12 years old at the Under 15 level. I am very excited to be part of the team for the tournament especially because we are at home and I am looking forward to see all my family members and friends come out and support me and the team,” Prince told TTFA Media.
Football has been her main sport since the age of 7.
“I’ve been playing since I was seven. I grew up around boys and I didn’t like football at the start until one of my friends came and asked me to go to training and he continued to beg me until I gave in and I haven’t looked back since,” Prince said. “So for me, this tournament is a chance to really demonstrate how much the game means to me and I want to put on a good show for everyone. Hopefully we can get the support and the results that we need to qualify.”
Prince’s teammate Malaika Dedier, one of the goalkeepers contesting for the number one pick, grew up playing the game with her father and brother as well as friends from church.
“My family in general got me involved in football. On a Sunday afternoon my father and brother would take me to play with my church friends and then I started to take it more seriously when I went into Form One at Bishop’s Anstey,” Dedier said.
“I am very intrigued about this opportunity and our first game on the 18th against Haiti. The team is ready and we are just coming together more and build the team chemistry. We have to stick with each other even when we are making mistakes and continue to encourage each other. I think we will get the support with all the marketing being done and then the talks among family members. We are aiming to work really hard together and come out with the results we need to advance to the World Cup,” Dedier added.
Tickets will be available at a date and venue to be announced next week. Tickets for All Group Stage matches will cost $40 for both covered and uncovered sections at the Ato Boldon Stadium.