The Trinidad and Tobago and Canada women’s senior national teams will be competing for a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when next they meet on 14 February 2016.
After today’s dress rehearsal, “Team Canada” might not be particularly worried, as they romped to a 4-0 win over the “Women Soca Warriors” at the Natal Female International Tournament in Brazil.
Canada’s win, coupled with Brazil’s 6-0 trouncing of Mexico, means that Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico will face each other in the final group match on Wednesday as well as the third place play off of the four-team international tournament.
For the Women Warriors, they can arguably point that the scores are moving in the right direction. They lost 11-0 with a makeshift team against Brazil and 6-0 to the United States before this evening’s more palatable scoreline.
And the Trinidad and Tobago women will surely be a stronger bunch by the time the CONCACAF tournament comes around, as they lacked match fitness and training time before the Natal tournament while their high profile absences include three-time TTFA Player of the Year Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, 2014 Caribbean Goalkeeper of the Year Kimika Forbes, veteran playmaker Tasha St Louis and head coach Randy Waldrum.
Trinidad and Tobago have never scored against Canada since the opening CONCACAF Women’s tournament in 1991 and the North American team, ranked 11th in the world by FIFA, took early control of proceedings.
Veteran midfielder Diana Matheson put Canada ahead in the 10th minute while they doubled their score, just a minute into the second half, through Rebecca Quinn.
Canada then made the most of Trinidad and Tobago’s tiring legs to add gloss to the scoreline with two goals in the closing 10 minutes from Nichelle Prince and captain Christine Sinclair.
Sinclair’s strike was her 186th international goal, which made her the joint second highest women’s scorer of all time alongside former United States icon, Mia Hamm.
According to Twitter updates, 21 year old Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Tenesha Palmer was struggling physically and needed treatment on more than occasion.
It meant that stand-in head coach Anthony Creece did not have a healthy goalkeeper available as Forbes’ absence—due to school commitments—left the Women Warriors with just one goalkeeper among their 21-woman squad.
Creece and his squad now have two days to regroup before they tackle Mexico on Wednesday December 16 and again in the third place play off on Sunday December 20.
Mexico eliminated Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 in extra time, on 26 October 2014, to qualify for the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup. Wednesday’s fixture would offer both teams to chance to show their development since.
Although the W/Warriors’ work is likely to start in earnest next month, when Waldrum hopes to have a pre-Olympic tournament camp for the squad.
Trinidad and Tobago: Tenesha Palmer (GK); Jenelle Cunningham, Afiya Matthias, Arin King (captain), Anastasia Prescott, Janine Francois, Karyn Forbes, Ahkeela Mollon, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Khadidra Debesette; Mariah Shade.
Substitutes: Annalis Cummings, Sharain Cummings, Joy Daniel, Renelle Findley, Shenelle Henry, Tamara Johnson, Jo Marie Lewis, Melissa Woo Ling, Patrice Superville, Victoria Swift.
Coach: Anthony Creece
Natal Female International Tournament
(Sunday December 13)
Brazil 6, Mexico 0 at Arena das Dunas, Natal;
Canada 4 (Diana Matheson 10, Rebecca Quinn 46, Nichelle Prince 81, Christine Sinclair 85), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at Arena das Dunas, Natal;
(Wednesday December 16)
Trinidad and Tobago v Mexico, Arena das Dunas, Natal;
Brazil v Canada, Arena das Dunas, Natal;
(Sunday December 20)
Trinidad and Tobago v Mexico, third place play off, Arena das Dunas, Natal;
Brazil v Canada, Final, Arena das Dunas, Natal.