Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 Women footballers got the better of their Jamaican counterparts 1-0 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on Saturday November 18th to complete two wins in two matches as they continued their preparations for the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, scheduled for January 18-28, 2018 in T&T.
Like in their opening game last week, the Soca Princesses got a single strike, this time from the boot of their captain Dennecia Prince in the 3rd minute which they held on to until the final whistle, but not without surviving a major scare in the dying moments of the game as goalkeeper Klil Keshwar had to pull off a diving save to preserve the scoreline.
T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz said there were lots of positives to take from the match such as the players’ ability to mesh in-spite of the fact they the locals were only recently joined by several foreign based players. He said after just one week with the team he was encouraged by what they saw from the incoming players, but believed a lot more work is needed to be done on combination plays and fitness.
Shabazz who took over the coaching duties from Italian Carolina Morace, said he could not make predictions on the team’s readiness for the tournament in January but feels he would be in a better position to do so after the camp next month at which time he will have the opportunity to work with both the overseas based players who joined the team last week, along with the locals.
“When you think about when the tournament will be held and that we have had just one week with the girls, but yet we were able to beat the Jamaicans twice, it can only be encouraging for us.” Shabazz explained.
The Soca Princesses have been drawn in Group A of the tournament with Costa Rica and Canada as well as an undetermined Caribbean team. They need to be among the top three teams from two groups of four teams each, to qualify for the 2018 Women’s Under 20 World Cup in France in August.
T&T Starting XI – Klil Keshwar, Crystal Molineaux, Natisha John, Dennecia Prince (captain), Aaliyah Prince, Ranae Ward, Lauren Duffy, Sydney Boiselle, Alexis Fortune, Brittney Williams, Cecily Stoute.
Subs: Kenedie St Mary, Amaya Ellis, Renah Campbell, Megan Rampersad, Laurelle Theodore, Jaasiel Forde, Shenieka Paul, Kedie Johnson, Chelcy Ralph, Malaika Dedier
Jamaica Starting XI – Sashine Smith, Maya, Swaby-Wallerson, Kevena Reid, Marlee Fray, Nevillegale Able, Erin Mikalsen, Yazmeen Jamieson, Tateyana Pitter, Emily Caza, Alyssa Julien, Shayla Smart
Subs: Peterkaye Green, Gabrielle Gayle, Sherice Clarke, Tarania Clarke, Chavelle Henry, Jaydn Matthews, Ebony Clarke, Alufoloshade Adomoluken.
Theodore’s strike gives T&T 1-0 win in first friendly with Jamaica
Laurelle Theodore’s wonder goal was enough to propel T&T’s Under-20 women’s football team to a 1-0 win over Jamaica’s Under-20 team on Thursday November 16th at the TTFA Home of Football Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Chelcy Ralph zipped in a curling free-kick from the right, which Theodore connected with on the volley, to smash an unstoppable left-footed shot past Erin Mikalsen in goal for the young Reggae Girls.
Playing down the result in the friendly match, head coach Jamaal Shabazz said, “This was a very useful exercise today, we are happy for the result but the game itself showed up a lot of things that we’ve got to work on. We need to work more on team play, playing together, more combinations, more passing and moving. But I am very encouraged by the efforts and aggression of the players.”
“We are far from where we need to be come January. There is this fallacy in the school teams, where one school only has two or three players, that they are stars in the school but in the international game they are not stars.”
The former T&T women’s senior team coach noted that the Jamaicans displayed their usual grit and determination but still did not test his team in the way he might have expected.
In a first half dominated by the home team, Jamaica limited themselves to shots from distance as the T&T defence found life relatively easy against the Caribbean rivals.
Theodore, the former St Augustine Secondary School student, wearing the number nine shirt, had earlier struck the Jamaicans’ upright with a left-footed volley from about 20 yards out and also managed to create a clear cut chance for her captain and attacking partner, Dennecia Prince, releasing the latter down the right flank, but with only Mikalsen to beat in goal, Prince’s final shot, though well hit, was straight at the custodian.
Prince was causing problems again in the 19th minute and drew the foul from Emily Caza which would lead to T&T’s goal.
Shabazz and his young team cringed at the start of the second period when Prince was scythed down by Nevillegail Able about 30 yards from goal after collecting the ball on the turn. Able was shown a caution for the reckless challenge while Prince was later stretchered off the field after attempting to play on.
In that period, T&T continued to create chances, none better than when Theodore played in Ralph but the latter saw her fierce drive from inside the penalty area, crash off the crossbar and back into play.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s second match against Jamaica at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium from 4pm Shabazz said, “We will have at least seven foreign based players coming in. While for this game we used more of the local players, after Saturday we will be in a better position to make a judgement of how we go forward in terms of player personnel.”
Shabazz noted that there were still many areas this team needed to improve on before they are tournament ready for the CONCACAF leg of World Cup qualifiers in January.