IDENTICAL twin Maria and Marissa Mohammed are eager to don the national colours at the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Final Round Qualification in Mexico from January 18-27.

Eight teams will be vying for three spots in the 2006 FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Championship in Russia.

The Trinidad and Tobago squad, under coach Jamaal Shabazz, is in a tough Group "A" with hosts Mexico, defending CONCACAF champ Canada and Panama, while the United States, El Salvador, Jamaica and Suriname are in Group "B".

The Mohammed twins were included in a 20-member TT team following a favourable impression they made on the technical staff during a week-long tour of Venezuela in December.

Maria plays both goalkeeping and defensive roles while Marissa is a midfielder for the University of Tampa, Florida, where both are "freshmen" majoring in business marketing.

Born on February 20 1987, the pair earned Dean and Verizon Scholarships at the Tampa institute.

They reside in Stafford, Virginia with their brothers and parents Anthony (originally from Dow Village, San Fernando) and Patricia (from Gasparillo). The pair is excited about the prospect of representing the "red, white and black".

"It feels great to finally come and support our country," said Maria. "Even though I was born in the United States, I was able to come back here and get my passport. And now I play for Trinidad which is great."

"It feels great. When we were younger, it was kind of a joke (that) we never made or played for the US so we’ll come back play for our parents’ country, which is Trinidad. So it’s good come back and actually do that," Marissa said. Currently, Maria is nursing a back injury but she’s hoping to be fit and help the team qualify.

"I was playing in defence at the beginning but I’ll likely play in the goal, I’m not sure yet," she said concerning her role in the squad.

She has nothing but praise for her teammates, who have quickly welcomed the pair. "It feels good," she said. "I like the girls, they’re real nice and the team is cool. We’ll see what we can do."

The sisters were introduced to the game by their father and brothers, but, it was at the University of Tampa that they made a name for themselves, with Maria playing all 18 matches (with 17 starts) in the 2005 season while Marissa started in 13 matches.

Maria had the added incentive of reaching the First Team All Region.

They have adapted to the climatic conditions here in Trinidad. "The conditions are great," noted Maria. "The weather is nice and my family has been great to me and so is the team."

At the end of their football careers, according to Marissa, they want to own a business together.

The pair is similar in looks and characteristics, as they both enjoy studying, watching television and relaxing on their spare time. They both work part-time at the school’s arcade, but, in the next two weeks, their attention will be switched to the field of play, as Trinidad and Tobago aim for a spot in another 2006 World Cup.