Govia completes comeback win for youthful T&T Women over Aruba

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team overturned an early deficit to defeat Aruba 2-1 tonight in their first outing of the Queen’s Friendly Tournament in Curaçao.

Aruba captain Soraya Vierhoeve put the Dutch-speaking islanders ahead with a rasping drive from the edge of the area, after just four minutes. But the Women Soca Warriors responded almost immediately through forward Tori Paul.

Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tori Paul (left) tries to hold off El Salvador midfielder Isabella Recinos during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
Photo: Concacaf

And in the second half, defender Shaunalee Govia got the winner off a corner kick as the twin island republic completed the comeback.

Trinidad and Tobago’s trip to Curaçao, Wired868 understands, was funded by money from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) High Performance programme.

And, as a result, Women’s National Senior Team head coach Richard Hood travelled with a healthy number of teenaged players as well as TTFA director of youth football and Women’s U-17 National Team head coach, Rajesh Latchoo.

In all, Hood took 14 teenagers to Curaçao—although he started just four today: goalkeeper Mikaela Yearwood, full backs Kanika Rodriguez and Kaitlyn Darwent, and midfielder Orielle Martin.

Trinidad and Tobago attacking midfielder Orielle Martin (centre) glides past two St Vincent and the Grenadines opponents during the Jewels of the Caribbean U-17 tournament at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 20 December 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Yearwood’s first meaningful act of the match was to pick the ball out of her net.

There were just three minutes and 39 seconds on the clock when Aruba midfielders Aisse Gumbs and Krislaine Kelly traded passes through an apprehensive T&T midfielder before teeing up Vierhoeve.

And the Aruba captain’s left-footed finish from the edge of the area was too accurate for Yearwood.

Trinidad and Tobago responded within seconds, although there was a huge slice of luck involved.

Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Mikaela Yearwood (left) prepares to clear the ball during Jewels of the Caribbean U-17 action against St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 20 December 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Inexplicably, the Aruban goalkeeper failed to survey her surroundings before passing the ball across her box. And Paul pounced to pick off the pass and hit home.

The Women Warriors, with Ke’die Johnson rampant down the left flank, grew stronger as the game went on, and a second goal seemed more a matter of when and not if.

Flanker Alexcia Ali skied a shot from six yards in the 61st minute, while substitute Talia Martin missed a free header five minutes later—both off left side crosses.

Trinidad and Tobago attacker Alexcia Ali (left) blasts her team level against Puerto Rico during a W Gold Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 27 October 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Ironically, Trinidad and Tobago’s winner came off more shoddy Aruban defending, as, off an inswinging Paul corner kick, Govia was able to take the ball on her thigh and have a rushed practice swing before she prodded home the winner.

It was enough to cap off a decent collective display by the Women Warriors—although Hood would lament a late injury to promising right back, Rodriguez.

Trinidad and Tobago play their second game of their tour tomorrow when they tackle Curaçao from 7pm at the same venue.

Right back Kanika Rodriguez (left) tries to play the ball past opposing attacker Eva Nicholas during RBNYFL All-Star action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field on 4 May 2024.
Rodriguez made her National Senior Team against Aruba on 29 May 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

(Squad)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-1-4-1): 21.Mikaela Yearwood (GK); 15.Kanika Rodriguez (5.Anastasia O’Brien 78), 8.Victoria Swift (captain), 2.Shaunalee Govia, 4.Kaitlyn Darwent (3.Ariana Borneo 68); 6.Chrissy Mitchell; 7.Alexcia Ali (12.Cherina Steele 78), 10.Asha James, 14.Orielle Martin (19.Talia Martin 59), 20.Ke’die Johnson; 9.Tori Paul.

Unused substitutes: 1.Maya Figgener (GK), 11.Rasheda Archer, 13.Sonia Lamarre, 16.Hackeemar Goodridge, 17.Mariah Williams, 18.Tayeann Wylie.

Coach: Richard Hood

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