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Women Warriors get encouraging 2016 Olympic qualifying group

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Senior National Team would have been encouraged today as the grouping for CONCACAF’s final qualifying round for the 2016 Olympic Games gave them a fair shot at a semifinal place.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (centre) whips in a cross during their 2015 Pan Am contest with Argentina. The Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina teams played to a 2-2 draw. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (centre) whips in a cross during their 2015 Pan Am contest with Argentina.
The Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina teams played to a 2-2 draw.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The “Women Soca Warriors” face Guatemala in their opening Group B fixture at the BBVA Compass Ground in Houston on 11 February, 2016. They will then tackle Canada on February 14 and Guyana on February 16. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinal round while the two finalists will qualify automatically for the Rio Olympics.

Talented Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon shared her excitement on social media, although there was a note of caution.

“God couldn’t had asked to be placed in a better group,” said Mollon. “Please let us get the preparation we deserve… Rio 2016, I am loving this group…”

The Women Warriors topped the Caribbean qualifying phase last Friday with a 1-0 win over Puerto Rico while Guyana surprised Jamaica to finish third.

But Trinidad and Tobago’s qualifying competition was again overshadowed by administrative issues, as captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner both opted against joining the squad.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Incidentally, Cordner and Attin-Johnson were Trinidad and Tobago’s two scorers last year when the Women Warriors defeated Guatemala 2-1 to advance to the CONCACAF semifinal round during their 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Thus far, Cordner and Attin-Johnson have refused to play under current team manager Sharon O’Brien.

There is uncertainty among the coaching staff too. Texan Randy Waldrum remains the head coach on paper but he was not involved in the Caribbean qualifying phase nor was his council sought by his former assistant and current interim head coach, Anthony Creece.

Whereas the 2015 Women’s World Cup offered CONCACAF four positions—inclusive of the host nation, Canada—and a Play Off spot against South America, the Rio Olympics will be twice as difficult to reach.

Canada are the firm favourites in Group B and, should the Women Warriors finish second, it is likely to mean a meeting with World Cup champions, the United States.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Karyn "Bibi" Forbes (left) celebrates the decisive goal in the Caribbean Olympic qualifying final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. Looking on is Puerto Rico goalkeeper Karly Gustafson. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Karyn “Bibi” Forbes (left) celebrates the decisive goal in the Caribbean Olympic qualifying final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Looking on is Puerto Rico goalkeeper Karly Gustafson.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

For Trinidad and Tobago to get to the 2016 Olympics, this must defeat Guatemala, Guyana and either Canada or the United States.

At the very least, the Woman Warriors will hope to show they have not gone backwards by defeating Guatemala and Guyana.

2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship

(Group A)

USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica

(Group B)

Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana

Photo: Puerto Rico captain Delyaliz Amber (right) beats Trinidad and Tobago flanker Khadidra Debesette to the ball during 2016 Olympic qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Puerto Rico captain Delyaliz Amber (right) beats Trinidad and Tobago flanker Khadidra Debesette to the ball during 2016 Olympic qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

CONCACAF Fixtures

(Wednesday February 10)

Puerto Rico vs Mexico, 5 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

USA vs Costa Rica, 7.30 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(Thursday February 11)

Guatemala vs Trinidad & Tobago, 5 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Canada vs Guyana, 7.30 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Mariah Shade (left) shoots past Guatemala defender Londy Barrious but also just wide of the far corner during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Mariah Shade (left) shoots past Guatemala defender Londy Barrious but also just wide of the far corner during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

(Saturday February 13)

Costa Rica vs Puerto Rico, 12.30 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

Mexico vs USA, 3 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(Sunday February 14)

Guyana vs Guatemala, 12.30 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Trinidad & Tobago vs Canada, 3 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender and 2014 Player of the Year Arin King (left) in action against Guatemala during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Copyright Patrick McDermott/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender and 2014 Player of the Year Arin King (left) in action against Guatemala during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Copyright Patrick McDermott/AFP 2015)

(Monday February 15)

Mexico vs Costa Rica, 5 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

USA vs Puerto Rico, 7.30 pm, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(Tuesday February 16)

Trinidad & Tobago vs Guyana, 5 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Canada vs Guatemala, 7.30 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) saves from United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach in 2015 Women's World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City. (Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) saves from United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach in 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City.
(Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)

(Friday February 19)

1B vs 2A, 4.30 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

1A vs. 2B, 7.30 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

(Sunday February 21)

Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2, 4 pm, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston.

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17 comments

  1. Let’s SUPPORT them from all now, not just when they are at the threshold of qualifying.

  2. Is it that in order for us to qualify we have to beat Guatemala, Guyana and either USA or Mexico (as those two are the expected top teams to come out of the other group) instead of the Guatemala, Guyana and either USA or Canada combination stated in the article? Cause if we beat Canada and assuming USA top their group as well then we face Mexico in the semifinals. Or if we lose to Canada and finish second in the group we can face USA and lose as well in the semis. So in order to make it to the final and guarantee a place in the Olympics they have to beat at least three teams Guatemala, Guyana andn either USA or Mexico. Am I correct?

    • Lasana Liburd

      Well, you are right so far as we cannot take Mexico for granted at all. The Mexico team are superior to us at the moment. I was focusing on the historic big two in CONCACAF.
      Now, I think I am correct to say that we can qualify with wins over Guatemala, Guyana and the United States. Because if we defeat Guatemala and Guyana but lose to Canada, then we will have to face the US in the semifinals.
      If we defeat Canada, we will still need to beat Mexico to go through. I would like to think that if we manage a win against Canada, we can handle Mexico. But it is true that there is a possibility that Mexico will stand in our way as well.
      The most likely (best case) scenario is that we finish second and end up against the US I think. But it will be interesting to see if we can handle Guatemala and even Guyana now. Because I’m not sure our football programme has gone forward.
      Guyana are creating a new team and they will probably in better shape next February. So we will need to be better too.

  3. http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/canadian+women+learn+olympic+qualifying+road+concacaf+soccer/11538003/story.html

    Guyana is coached by Mark Rodrigues, who spent 34 years in the Toronto area before moving to Florida to become executive director of the Greater Tampa Bay Soccer Club. Herdman says Guyana has been recruiting players from around the world.

    “The gap has definitely closed,” he said. “You know that Guyana will have some players that will cause some problems and will be very well organized.”

    Trinidad & Tobago lost to Ecuador 1-0 on a stoppage-time goal in the second leg of a playoff to make the 2015 World Cup. The Soca Princesses lost 1-0 to the U.S. in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, before falling on penalty kicks to Costa Rica in the semifinal. They were beaten by Mexico in the third-place match.

    “I was really impressed with their performances,” said Herdman. “They’re a team that can really on their day cause problems.”

    The Canadians will get a chance to further scout T&T when it plays the U.S. early next month in a pair of friendlies.

  4. I am sure that it must be very difficult for Maylene and Kenya to be on the sidelines so I hope that something gives and they change their minds.

  5. Jamaica should’ve won that game against T&T, just like how Guyana should’ve closed out Puerto Rico. I was NOT impressed by that Trinidad team. And honestly, I don’t see them beating Guyana, especially with the Lady Jags getting some boost.

  6. Jamaica gave T&T a helluva fight. Guyana can’t be underestimated if they beat them. Now, it depends on how much each team improves between now and february.

  7. That GUY team is not really a local team, essentially a Canada B team (some girls play in same club with Arin King) and a few American and British born girls and could have more foreign important come these matches. So a TT team without Maylee and Yaya may have to watch them

  8. Hmmmm hope those issues are resolve in the interest of the team. I also hope that we can see some of the games.