“The experience was a great one, I felt honored to be a part, even though the end result was heart breaking,” said Trinidad and Tobago women’s player Khadidra Debesette, as she reminisced about their unsuccessful 2015 World Cup qualifying campaign. “We did our best and disappointment happens but we have to overcome that and try again, and one day Trinidad and Tobago women will achieve that goal.
“It was overwhelming that thousands of “Trinis” and Tobagonians came out to support us. This must continue in having the people (involved).”
Khadidra Debesette is no stranger to the media. She and her twin sister, Khadisha Debesette, are currently two of the youngest players on the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Women’s team.
Khadidra first came to international attention with a goal against Costa Rica during the 2014 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. Aggressive and humble, she regularly drives around four hours from Aripero in southern Trinidad to Port of Spain for football games and practice and is proud and happy to make that sacrifice for her country.
“It’s tiring at times,” she said, “but it’s a commitment in doing what you love.”
At present, she is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Education at the University of Trinidad and Tobago while awaiting confirmation of a Scholarship from the University of West Texas.
Wired868 caught up with the talented “Women Soca Warrior” at the Hasely Crawford Stadium for a one on one:
Name: Khadidra Debesette
Date of Birth: 6 January 1995
Where is your hometown?
Aripero, South Trinidad.
What school do you attend?
University of Trinidad and Tobago, I am currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Education.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
People usually don’t know I am a family oriented person.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I am an easygoing and humble person; I am a lil’ aggressive at times… but in a good way.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Any opportunity I get is (to spend) with my family, hanging out and having fun.
What position do you play?
What’s your favourite team?
I don’t really have a favourite team but I like to see Barcelona play.
Who is your favourite player?
I like Neymar, all the way. I like number 11 and he wears number 11. The speed and (everything), I think we are a lil’ similar. (Smiles)
How did you start playing football?
I started playing football at age nine on the streets of Aripero.
Earliest football memory?
Besides playing in the road, at age 11 I started playing with the under twelve La Brea Boys team. My cousin Teriq Webb, inspired me to play with the boys. My parents were frightened for us but I believe playing with the boys helped me develop my aggression on the field.
What makes you stand out as a player?
Anytime I step out on the field I go hard. Especially when representing my country, I play with my heart and soul.
Who was your most important coach? Why?
I would have to name two coaches. On the national level while playing for the U15 team, Richard Hood was my coach. I saw drastic improvement in my game with his involvement. Then entered Even Pellerud (U17 World Cup coach), who introduced new training and skills that made me a better player.
What pushes you to succeed?
The support from my family and friends pushes me to succeed. Also in football I have a twin sister, Khadisha Debesette, who plays with me (on the national team). Playing with my sister gives me an extra drive.
What is your ambition in the game of football, how far do you intend to take it?
My next step will be a scholarship from the University of West Texas, and you never know how far you can go. (Maybe) play professionally.
Do you think that you will you miss your twin sister, or is she going with you?
She’s coming with me…everything, mostly everything we do together, school, football, home, social events, everything together.
What is your best moment in football so far?
My greatest moment: I scored my first CONCACAF goal last year in January against Costa Rica during the youth tournament when I played for the National U20 squad. It was really a proud moment. Friends and family were proud that my header was the play of the day on all the local stations. It was really a good moment.
What is your target for this season?
Right now we are preparing for the Pan American Games, and we are training hard. As a team we just need to go out and execute what we (learn) in training, and execute it in the tournament to win games. The main goal is to make Trinidad and Tobago proud.
What do you think you need to work on personally for the upcoming competition?
Mostly my conditioning. “Coach Gregs” (Fitness coach Gregory Seale) is doing a good job (helping) with that. Still have to sharpen up (my) technical skills.
How can the WPL improve the national game?
I think they will go hand in hand. The national games would help with exposure (internationally), but are less regular. The professional league will have the advantage of playing regular matches, more playing time to make you a better player.
What was your experience like being part of the World Cup U-17 team in the 2010 tournament?
This experience was tremendous. We give our all, playing with our heart and soul for our country and we created history in winning a World Cup match against Chile. A proud moment! Keeping the faith in getting another opportunity at that level.
What was it like to be part of the Senior Team that almost qualified for the 2015 World Cup?
The experience was a great one, I felt honored to be a part, even though the end result was heart breaking, we did our best and disappointment happens. But we have to overcome that and try again and one day Trinidad and Tobago women will achieve that goal. It was overwhelming that thousands of “Trinis” and Tobagonians came out to support us. This must continue in having the people (involved).
Who are you biggest supporters?
I live with my mom, dad, twin sister and older sister and I have a nice adorable nephew. My mother always shows up to all my games. Always support us, always there. They try their best to make it to every game and that’s what you need, the support and encouragement from your family and friends.
Editor’s Note: Khadidra and Khadisha Debesette will make their WPL debuts for Oilers against Ahkeela Mollon’s Rush from 6 pm on Friday June 24 at the Police Barracks in St James.