The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team will be led by technical director Kendall Walkes when they face Mexico from 11.30 am tomorrow in Brazil, after interim head coach Anthony Creece returned home.
The “Women Soca Warriors” were already without head coach Randy Waldrum and assistant Ben Waldrum, who were unable to get visas due to the late invitation from the tournament organisers.
Creece’s departure means that the Trinidad and Tobago women are without all three of their designated coaches.
Creece, who oversaw the Women Warriors’ 3-0 loss to Mexico on Wednesday in their final match of the Natal Female International Tournament, insisted that the four-nation tournament has been a bonus for the squad.
“Kendall Walkes will be in charge of the team because I had to return home due to a prior commitment,” Creece told the TTFA Media on Friday.
Trinidad and Tobago meet Mexico in tomorrow’s third place play off while hosts Brazil and Canada contest the final.
The Women Warriors were without their entire midfield trio of Maylee Attin-Johnson, Janine Francois and Karyn Forbes against Mexico, due to injury, while defender Afiyah Matthias has already returned home for an unspecified reason.
The Trinidad and Tobago women have only one goalkeeper in Brazil, Tenesha Palmer, after first choice custodian Kimika Forbes remained in the United States due to school responsibilities.
“We played a very tough game and it was unfortunate that the result was not better (against Mexico),” said Creece. “Our team was missing four players including key starters through injury. We were doing quite well and they were ahead 1-0. But our legs gave up in the last 10 minutes and we went on to concede two goals late in the match.
“But although the group is already banged up, I think this has been a real proper learning experience for the players and we will now switch our attention to preparing for the Olympic qualifiers in February.”
Incidentally, the Women Warriors head coach, Waldrum, warned about the possibility of picking up injuries due to the inadequate physical preparation for his team before a tour that comprised two games against Mexico and one each against the United States, Brazil and Canada inside of 11 days.
Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-0 defeat to Mexico followed 6-0 and 4-0 losses to the United States and Canada respectively while, with a weakened team, they were routed 11-0 by Brazil.
Just over a year ago, a weary Trinidad and Tobago outfit drew 2-2 with Mexico in the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying series before falling 4-2 on extra time.
Two days earlier, Trinidad and Tobago had lost to Costa Rica after 90 minutes of regulation time, 30 minutes of extra time plus penalties. While Mexico coach Leonardo Cuellar craftily rested his entire midfield and forward line-up—six players in total—in their semifinal match-up against the United States to ensure his troops were fresher when they met the Women Warriors.
Since then, Mexico has had the benefit of a World Cup and Pan American Games while Trinidad and Tobago’s program has stalled. But Waldrum has insisted that he can get his team ready again with a pre-Olympic qualifiers camp next month.
With Creece and the Waldrums missing, Walkes will oversee the Women Warriors, as they try to end their tour on a high against Mexico tomorrow.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad in Brazil)
Players: Tenesha Palmer (GK), Arin King (captain), Patrice Superville, Victoria Swift, Anastasia Prescott, Annalis Cummings, Sharain Cummings, Jenelle Cunningham, Joy Daniel, Renelle Findley, Tamara Johnson, Jo Marie Lewis, Melissa Woo Ling, Khadidra Debesette, Janine Francois, Karyn Forbes, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Ahkeela Mollon, Shenelle Henry, Mariah Shade,
Staff: Kendall Walkes (technical director), Sharon O’Brien (manager), Clayton Ince (goalkeeper coach), Benyam Astorga (trainer), Michael Taylor (physio), Steve Fredericks (equipment manager), Claire George (equipment manager).