The “Women Soca Warriors” will have a busy Christmas period, as the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has reportedly confirmed the Women’s National Senior Team’s participation at the Natal Female International Football Tournament in Brazil this month.
The Trinidad and Tobago ladies, according to informed sources, were offered the chance, on December 1, to replace Croatia in the four nation competition, after the European nation withdrew suddenly. The other competitors in the competition include Canada, Mexico and hosts, Brazil.
The TTFA’s decision to accept the invitation, which was revealed by the host nation, means that the Women Warriors will not only have two international matches away to the United States on December 4 and 10 in Hawaii and Texas respectively. But they must now also play Brazil (December 9), Canada (December 13) and Mexico (December 16) in the round-robin tournament, which ends with a final and third place play off on December 20.
Thus far, newly appointed TTFA president David John-Williams has been unavailable for comment.
Scheduling is an obvious headache for the TTFA, as the Women’s National Senior Team cannot get to Natal in time to face Brazil on December 9, due to a previous commitment against the United States, who are the FIFA World Cup champions and ranked number 1 in the world.
As a result, according to sources, newly appointed TTFA president David John-Williams brokered an arrangement to send a second string team to face Brazil on December 9 while coach Randy Waldrum and the first choice squad should arrive in Natal on December 12, just hours before they face Canada.
Assistant Anthony Creece, who was ruled out of the US tour due to visa complications, will be in charge of the group that travels to Brazil, until Waldrum gets there.
So, the Women Warriors, who were training with just nine players two weeks ago and are unlikely to be in peak physical condition, are now scheduled to play five internationals against top opponents in the space of 16 days—exclusive of the fixture against Brazil by a make-up T&T team.
At present, the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-20 Team is in Honduras for the 2015 CONCACAF Championship. The two island republic is drawn with Canada, Jamaica and the host nation and the top two teams advance to the semifinal round.
If the T&T squad fail to advance, it is expected that the majority of coach Jason Spence’s players will make up the Women Warriors outfit which faces Brazil.
Brazil are ranked seventh in the world and have qualified for at least the Round of 16 of every FIFA Women’s World Cup since 1999. At present, Trinidad and Tobago are 48th in the world.
The Natal tournament also gives Waldrum a chance to test his charges against Canada, who his team must face again on 14 February 2016.
The Canada women are ranked 11th in the world but, if Trinidad and Tobago upset them next February, the Women Warriors are likely to avoid the United States and face Mexico instead in a semifinal play off to decide a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
FIFA ranks Mexico at 26th in the world.
John-Williams hopes to have the best players available to represent Waldrum and held a clear the air meeting yesterday with former team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and manager Sharon O’Brien.
Attin-Johnson has refused to play under O’Brien but John-Williams is confident that a compromise can be reached. Thus far, Attin-Johnson has not commented on the discussions.