Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Kenwyne Jones was given a boost by his medical staff today as veteran goalkeeper Kimika Forbes and defender Rhea Belgrave were both cleared to face Dominica in 2022 Concacaf W Championship qualifying action from 5pm tomorrow at the National Track and Facility in Leonora, Guyana.
Forbes and Belgrave started in Trinidad and Tobago’s opening group fixture against Nicaragua at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in Port-of-Spain on Thursday. However, neither finished the game owing to physical discomfort, with Belgrave having to be bodily lifted to the dressing room.
In both cases, they were deemed fit to play this weekend and Jones will have to decide whether to reinstate the pair into his starting team.
Despite playing for half the match with 10 players, the Women Soca Warriors defeated Nicaragua 2-1. On paper, Dominica looks an even more straightforward fixture.
Dominica, a tiny island of roughly 72,000 inhabitants, has never defeated the two-island republic in football and fell 4-0 to Guyana on Wednesday—although the ‘Golden Jaguars’ were a player short for much of the game owing to a first-half red card.
Women Warriors captain Karyn Forbes insisted that her troops will not underestimate Dominica, though.
“We will take every game very seriously,” said Ka. Forbes. “[…] We know they have been working on their programme so we cannot be complacent. We have to respect everybody we come up against.”
Forbes played at centre-forward on Thursday in a 4-2-3-1 formation although Jones has often sent his ladies out in 3-4-3 too and could easily switch in Leonora.
One enforced change will be at left-back where regular starter Kédie Johnson is suspended. Jones used Belgrave there after Johnson’s expulsion and then moved right-back Liana Hinds to that flank after Belgrave was stretchered off. Neither player looked entirely comfortable in that role.
In theory, Jones can solve the problem by switching to a back three, with either Lauryn Hutchinson or Shaunalee Govia playing alongside the impressive Victoria Swift and, possibly, Belgrave.
Either the spritely Maria-Frances Serrant, who started as an inverted winger against Nicaragua, or Grambling State University attacker Kaydeen Jack could then be asked to stand in at left wing-back.
There was one change to the travelling squad as Malaika Dedier replaced fellow goalkeeper K’lil Keshwar. No reason was given for the swap.
At present, Guyana lead Trinidad and Tobago by goal difference in Group F, with only the winners advancing to the Concacaf showcase tournament. The Warriors host Guyana in their final group match on 12 April.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: 1.Kimika Forbes (Unattached), 21.Tenesha Palmer (Police FC), 22.Malaika Dedier (St Augustine FC);
Defenders: 7.Liana Hinds, 5.Shaunalee Govia (both unattached), 2.Abishai Guy (Point Fortin), 4.Rhea Belgrave (Police FC), 8.Victoria Swift (Club Leon—Mexico), 19.Meyah Romeo (Detroit City—USA);
Midfielders: 3.Shani Nakhid-Schuster, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (both unattached), 6.Kaydeen Jack (Grambling State University—USA), 9.Amaya Ellis (Johns Hopkins University—USA), 10.Asha James (West Texas A&M University—USA), 12.Chelcy Ralph (Ball State University—USA);
Forwards: 13.Dennecia Prince (Point Fortin), 18.Maria-Frances Serrant (Corban University—USA), 16.Cayla McFarlane (Harvard University—USA), 14.Karyn Forbes (Police FC), 17.Maya Matouk (Police FC).