An 18-player Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Under 17 Team will depart Port of Spain on Wednesday morning bound for St Kitts/Nevis where they will contest the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) 2015 Women’s Under 17 preliminary World Cup qualifiers.
The squad, under head coach Rajesh Latchoo, will face Dominica on Saturday in their opening game of a double header at the Elquemedo T Willet Park from 5:30pm. T&T will also face British Virgin Islands on Monday in the first game of the second double header and will close the group phase against the hosts on August 26th from 8pm.
According to CFU, eight teams will qualify for the CFU Final round in Puerto Rico from November 13th-19th. The teams are hosts Puerto Rico which gets automatic qualification and will be joined by the winners from each of the three first round groups as well as the Best Runner-up in the four team groups, the 2nd Best Runner-up in the four group teams and Best Runner-up in the three team groups.
Four teams will enter the Knock-Out stage of the semi-finals and the two finalists will join hosts Grenada to compete in the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship. Three CONCACAF teams will qualify for the 2016 FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan next year September.
Latchoo said the T&T team will be looking to top the group.
“We are focused on the task and the team is quite positive heading into this tournament,” Latchoo told TTFA Media.
“Despite the lack of warm up games, this squad has been together for fifteen months and this has played a big part in our readiness and shape. The players know each other very well. They have been working together for an extensive period and there is a strong bond. “
He added: “We haven’t had a tremendous amount of sessions but the parents have also played their part in ensuring the players were always available and able to take part in the sessions. We were able to put in a lot of work over the period.”
Latchoo said the participating in the Carapichaima Youth League and the WOLF League has been beneficial to the preparation of the team which include players from the Under 15 team which finished third at the 2014 CONCACAF U-15 Girls championship.
“The participation in these competitions has made up to some extent for the lack of international warm up games. Jinelle James also assisted in getting us to play the Venezuela Under 17 team and other visiting colleges from the US while we had a chance to play against a Caribbean All Star team from the Women’s Premier League. These games provided tough, intense sessions for us especially as some of the players were about 5 years older than our girls,” Latchoo added.
Going into the tournament, he noted, “We will not take any of the oppositions lightly because anything can happen especially when you are on the road. But we are confident in our chances and we’ll take each game on merit and aim to finish on top of the group.”