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“The girls played their heart out!” Shabazz praises U-20’s effort as they bow out after third loss

For the third time in six days, Trinidad and Tobago’s Junior Women Soca Warriors scored first in a first round match during the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship at the Ato Boldon Stadium. That’s the good news.

For the third time in six days, Trinidad and Tobago’s Junior Women Soca Warriors suffered defeat, failing to hold onto a lead in their final Group A encounter against Costa Rica and therefore waving a low-key goodbye to the tournament. That is by no means good news.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Dennecia Prince (right) celebrates the opening goal against Costa Rica during 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 January 2018.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

In front of a significantly smaller crowd than was the case in their first two games, the Jamaal Shabazz-coached women fell 2-1 to a Costa Rican outfit that fielded as many as eight new faces in their starting line-up.

If the tactic worked for Costa Rica, for Haiti, who went with nine changes to their starting line-up, it backfired. They were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Group toppers Canada in the earlier match of the double-header.

Coach Shabazz was proud of his players’ effort but once again bemoaned their inability to convert a lead into victory.

“I think the girls played their heart out tonight and [I’m] very satisfied that they gave of their best,” Shabazz told the media at the post-match briefing. “We know we’ve got to make a better preparation going forward and try to prepare a team that can be more intense in the battles.

“We have to become a nation that when the hard times come, we show more resilience. We’ve got to improve the battles on the training pitch and in doing so, it can transform on the field.

“I think that the girls gave a great account of themselves tonight […] (It was) unfortunate that we had to go down because of a penalty.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper K’lil Keshwar (right) brings down Costa Rica attacker Fabiola Villalobos and concedes a penalty during 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 January 2018.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Within seconds of entering the pitch at the start of the second half, substitute Fabiola Villalobos won and converted a penalty conceded by the once more largely impressive K’lil Keshwar in the T&T goal.

Racing to dispute possession of a ball with Villalobos, Keshwar failed to make any contact with the ball and clattered into the Costa Rican attacker. Villalobos appealed successfully to United States referee Ekaterina Koroleva for a penalty, picked herself up off the ground and calmly put the ball past Keshwar from the spot.

Shabazz is not certain that that is what should have happened.

“I am not one to complain about the referees,” he said, “(but) tonight I wish I was a FIFA referee. […] I feel sorry for my young ladies tonight. […] I think that we have been very unfortunate with some decisions…”

The penalty put the wind in the sails of the Costa Ricans, who went in search of a winner and got it from the feet of tricky attacker Hillary Corrales.

Corrales had started on the bench in the previous match versus Haiti but had come on to score and put a mighty scare into their French–speaking opponents before her side eventually held out for the 3-2 win.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-20 coach Jamaal Shabazz (second from right) talks to fellow technical staff members (from left) Desiree Sarjeant, Marlon Charles and Saran Joseph during practice at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 9 January 2018.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Getting the start against the hosts, though, Corrales merely kicked on from where she had left off, taking full advantage of a laid-back T&T side who were very charitable with acreage on the pitch.

In the 55th minute, capitalising on a deflected header by Sheneika Paul, the unmarked Corrales stole in, beat Keshwar to the ball at the back post and contrived to flick it around the giant keeper, leaving the recovering defenders pressing in vain to clear the attempt off the goal-line.

Alongside captain and Player-of-the-Match Gloriana Villalobos, Corrales had T&T firmly on the backfoot from the first whistle. They were, however, hit with a sucker punch in the 37th minute when, with their first sequence of meaningful possession, the hosts opened the scoring.

Ranae Ward set the overlapping Jaasiel Forde free down the right and she played an incisive lofted pass into the path of hotshot attacker Dennecia Prince. With her first touch, she made a yard of space for herself and then coolly placed the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs.

It was as deft and as clinical a finish as they come.

The item was Prince’s second goal of the tournament and Shabazz certainly sees a bright future for his young attacker if she can maintain her progress.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Dennecia Prince (left) drives the ball across the face of the Canada goal despite the efforts of opposing goalkeeper Lysianne Proux and Caitlin Shaw during CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship action against Trinidad and Tobago at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 20 January 2018.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“She has had some explosive moments,” said Shabazz. “You can see a player that, with a lot more fitness, a higher level of fitness achieved, […] is […] ready to graduate to the senior team.”

While Prince (D) may have been the decisive player in the game, it was her namesake and partner-in-crime Aaliyah Prince and Keshwar who caught the eye of Costa Rica coach Amelia Valverde.

“It’s (T&T) a very balanced team as well as there are many strong players that are the reference of the team,” Valverde told the media after the match. For example, the goalkeeper (Keshwar), she has a very good form and also the number 10 (Aliyah Prince) is very impressive.”

At the end of the narrow 3-2 loss to Haiti on Saturday, Valverde had announced that, in the final game versus T&T, she would be offering playing time to some of her younger players and hoped that they would seize the opportunity to finish the tournament strongly.

At the end of the 90 minutes on Monday, she was pleased with what she had seen.

“We saw that the changes we made were very coherent and the players were able to adjust,” said Valverde. “This game was very tight but we had the goal of knowing that we were not able to qualify (but) we still wanted to win this game. This victory helps us to wash (away) what happened on Saturday.”

Photo: Canada captain Gabrielle Carle (left) leaves cat-spraddled Costa Rica defender Stephanie Blanco for dead during CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy: Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Saturday’s Group A encounter between Marc Collat’s Haiti team and Costa Rica had seen a tenacious, aggressive Haitian team taking the fight to their opponents. Against the Canadians yesterday, however, that description was furthest from the truth.

Fielding only Ruthny Mathurin and Tabita K. Joseph from among the starters in the previous game, Haiti were a mere shadow of their true selves and Canada tore into them from the first whistle.

With experienced captain Gabby Carle restored to her starting berth after being rested versus T&T, the North Americans threatened to run away with the game in the first half as a Shana Flynn hattrick left the Haitians reeling 0-3 down within the first 18 minutes.

Although tournament leading goal-scorer Jordyn Huitema couldn’t get her name on the scoresheet, she was involved in everything good that her team did.

She set up Flynn to tap in the opener on the second attempt. Flynn followed that up with an excellent arching shot into the top corner two minutes later before rounding out her hattrick in the 18th minute.

Photo: Canada striker Jordyn Huitema (right) takes on a Costa Rica defender during CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship action against Trinidad and Tobago at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 18 January 2018.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Collat’s introduction of his 15-year-old starlet Daelle Dumonay in the second half brought some much-needed direction and fight to the Haitians. However, when substitute Tanya Boychuk headed home Canada’s fourth after an error by goalkeeper Naphtaline Clermeus, the result was done and dusted and the final standings settled with Canada at the top.

Collat’s team selection—and, arguably, the manner in which they approached the game—seemed to indicate that Haiti’s clear priority was their semi-final match up against whichever of Mexico or the USA runs out winner in the other group.

The final first round matches come off today. With Canada and Haiti having already qualified for the next round before kick-off yesterday, the Group B sides will now know precisely which of the two they will be up against if they win. It might inspire both teams in the second encounter at 6.30pm when the USA play Mexico.

Before that at 4pm, the heartbroken Jamaican outfit, who were mere minutes away from registering their first point of the tournament versus USA, will face Nicaragua as both teams bid the competition au revoir.

About Amiel Mohammed

Amiel Mohammed
Amiel Mohammed is a sports enthusiast and has worked in communications for Central FC and the Women's Premier League TT. He has also pioneered numerous projects geared towards creating opportunities for the differently abled such as the Differently-Abled Football Camp 2015 and Focus Football Coaching Academy.

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99 comments

  1. ..They actually tabled an explanation why they chose not to canvass the schools yes..

    • The magnitude to which people from the airport to boundaries East and West (where I traversed for my stay) knew nothing about the tournament is astounding for a major tournament. Somebody or people need licks oui! One word “ridiculous”

  2. I agree what Mr Look loy 100%,we transparency from TTFA!!

  3. Our people and their uniqueness I’d our greatest assest.

  4. Yes

    Lack of foresight and planning. Lack of understanding that football can be a product to attract Sports Tourism and is a product we can export.

  5. Any reason we wouldn’t have used the halftime or extended breaks to market the country in some way??. Just felt like a wasted opportunity to get mileage from a tourism or other aspect..

  6. ..Yes but we need to recognize and thank the workers, the ball girls, the emergency response and security services, etc. That done, we need to know the financial details..

  7. Forget the financial statement, we didn’t make a penny, we just spent, it is the comments from the Head of CONCACAF that show either he watched the tournament with virtual Reality goggles, or on drugs. Where did he see these things, ” “We are grateful to TTFA and the local community for their support and passion for football. The high level of play of all the teams in Trinidad and Tobago has demonstrated real growth in the women’s game across the region, something we at CONCACAF are very proud of,” Montagliani added. TTFA president David John-Williams paid tribute to all those who contributed to the successful staging of the tournament.”.

    No part of T&T looked even remotely interested, using 1 field in the middle of nowhere showed either that we have just 1 stadium or are incompetent, what a PR speech.

  8. ..Our thanks to all who delivered the tournament. Now we want to see the financial statement. And specifically, how much did TTFA spend to stage a tournament (which those who follow things knew) we had absolutely no chance in? This was an exercise in political PR that WE will pay for..

  9. newsday.co.tt/2018/01/27/concacaf-boss-pleased-with-tts-hosting/

  10. We dont appreciate it yuh fat f***!! ……

  11. Eve took a swipe at the administrators of the sport for handing Shabazz the coaching job, while he already had the responsibility of coaching the country’s under-17 and senior national women’s teams.

    According to Eve, “In no other country in the world do you have one coach in charge of multiple teams. I saw Shabazz abroad with the under-17 team and when he was back, he was given the responsibility of the coaching the under-20 team. In addition, he also had the senior women’s team to deal with, so, he just could not win in that under-20 tournament.”

    “I think the administrators of the sport here have let down the team, and by extension the country” Eve said.

    He called for the myth that local coaches are incapable of coaching at an international level to be dismissed totally, saying the time has come for the T&TFA to stop reverting to the same women’s-team coaches year after year. “We all know that Shabazz is an excellent coach, but he cannot do it all. Therefore, it’s time the administrators of the sport give other coaches, other than those who have been in charge of the women’s teams in the past, the opportunity to coach also,” said Eve.
    http://www.guardian.co.tt/sports-lead/2018-01-26/eve-football-administration-let-us-down

    • He’s right for blaming the administration but the part of a talented team, I eh know what he talking about

    • Let the man give it a soft shoe nah. Lol.

    • Ah mean, I understand his political correctness as a coach but when we say things like that, we setting people up for failure

    • Eve talking ah set ah ta ta and as I said no matter if he or any other coach was at the helm the results wudda be the same and yes all the local bootleg coaches isnt and will never be ready for international level including himself untill I see them coaching in the MLS and in the other real professional leagues abroad and like if he himself have never failed at the same youth level Steeeuuuppss. Them really good yes

    • I’ll never say a local coach cannot be successful. However our bigger issue is the lack of development. Now yes, coaching is a part of the equation but it’s really administrative issues that is failing both the players and coaches

    • It is hard to fairly assess local coaches when they aren’t getting the tools. Not impossible. But hard.
      And there have been success stories with local coaches. Bertille St Clair remains only coach to take us to Gold Cup semis and many foreign coaches have tried with even more talented squads than he had then.
      And of course Gally comes to mind too.

    • And yes I agree with you but he always talking ah set ah ta ta since that he was added to the corrupted TTFA black list the same like Papa Gally and some other previous coaches including Coach Terry Fenwick that will never be allowed to coach any national team eh Brent Bennett. Them really goid yes

    • Eve is absolutely correct about one coach handling three national teams. At a point, he may have also been handling his pro league team as well. However, he didn’t hire himself. There is a fine line between wanting to help out and being naive to the time and effort needed to be successful in so many jobs.

    • Yes that is right Mr Live Wire he got us to the youth World Cup ths same as the Don Benhakker but we can never make the second round eh and not even scoring and goals steeuuppss. Them really good yes

    • Ah mean, Angus has been successful at the Pro League and SSFL level, if you are going to give local coaches a chance, IMO he should be given an opportunity. Sadly it seems as though the current administration only sees value in giving opportunities to coaches linked with W Connection or the president of the TTFA in general.

    • How was he successful in the pro league eh did he ever win the league eh and when the owners realized that he just like to bump his gum and was only looking out for his own interest is the boot for him and is the only coach in the league that have coached about 3 to 4 teams and this just shows you that he is ah bootleg coach eh. Them really good yes

  12. Contacted yesterday, John-Williams said he needs to conduct a debriefing with the coaching staff of the Under-20s before commenting.

    “Chief, I prefer not to comment on that until we have a debrief meeting. That’s how I will stop,” he said.

    Asked why he needed a debrief meeting to respond to the coach who prior, during and after the tournament spoke of a lack of fitness and preparation, John-Williams reiterated, “When we have a debrief meeting about the tournament, then I will make my comments. please appreciate that.”
    http://newsday.co.tt/2018/01/26/ttfa-boss-mumon-poor-preparation-for-u-20s/

  13. Since I been playing football for T&T the football seams like it’s not going anywhere, and I stop play now. They need to invest in these players. I’m sorry to say, women football in Trinidad and Tobago is bad.

  14. Something needs to be done because Maylee alone cannot speak out…. there is a calender of events listed for national teams but what is put in place to compete or making them elite?

  15. WATCH: Maylee Attin-Johnson calls for more investment in local women’s football as she talks about our participation at the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship.


  16. Well at least the Lady Socs Worries scored some goals eh . Them really good yes steeeuupppsss

  17. Look she needs to grow up!!! Simple! You on the national and international stage. We are paying patrons – whether its gates or taxes. We can state our opinions. Its garbage to say that people cannot voice their thoughts. I guess at all levels in TT now censorship is becoming the core objective. I have traveled with MY money all over the world to watch TT football and WI cricket and I will be damned if someone (player or not) can say that I can’t voice my views. Go to hell with that

  18. Would love to see her point out one post where anyone was negative about the players. Read through and most peeps were happy players fought hard and most were sympathetic to their plight. Maybe I missed something.

  19. They have to keep these girls together and focus on their fitness and speed also .

  20. Be careful that Kenya don’t come and say all yuh too negative…..

  21. The coach praising dismal performances throughout the tournament …. Their performance was lacking fitness wise , tactics wise as well . Our defenses were easily picked apart . Team preparation methods should be questioned

  22. Like I said when we succeed we praise them when we fail our disappointments must be equally stated

  23. Typical Trini. Satisfied with failure.

  24. We have a lot of talent but no idea of tactical plays and our engine kept shutting down….little or no midfield

  25. Muh battery almost dead from all this entertainment whole day I watch this when I reach home

  26. WATCH: Comments from players Alexis Fortune, Ranae Ward and Dennicia Prince after Trinidad and Tobago bowed out of the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship at the group stage.


  27. Lasana please remove this editorial from your page.. apparently it’s too negative and offensive to the young ladies and needs more positivity than condemnation…. According to Uncle MANGO ” DEM REALLY GOOD YES”

  28. It was an embarrassment for the host nation to lose all 3 games and prior to the tournament talking about well prepared from Mr Shabazz…. he needs to be accountable for the teams poor performance and the TTFA again has the public dissatisfied with poor preparation. Did we know about this last week, last month, last year? That’s the problem only TTFA know what vision they have the public is clueless to it !!!

  29. Diet,Let them go the games and watch all the players in The final games they are not over.

  30. Your acceptance of their collective performance does not help them! It supports mediocrity !

  31. To be fair, Shabazz did say we need to do a better job on team preparation pretty early in the Q&A.

  32. Contrast Shabazz’s comments with those of the Jamaican coach. “Donaldson Blasts U-20 Team Preparation”
    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20180123/donaldson-blasts-u20-team-preparation

  33. Shabazz and them(TTFA) have no damn SHAME!!

  34. I doh even want to get on de girls cases because they have been let down by the TTFA. They played to their ability, but in the end it was woefully inadequate. Collectively we head must be hard like ah banga seed, because is like we doh learn nutten ahtall about preparing for tournaments, or ongoing development. As a matter of fact, when we do get it right, like the preparation and subsequent qualification of the 2009 Men’s U-20 team, we does forget what we do and start from scratch again. Steups!

  35. Me eh know what game Shabazz was watching nah. Ah know there is a difference between watching through a coach’s eye and a fan’s eye. But come on, Costa Rica’s goal was coming. They created quite a few chances, but their finishing let them down, and sometimes Keshwar would foil their attempts.

  36. plenty talent but poor stamina —

  37. Lasana could just use one story from 25 years ago, the interview will only yield a repeat like an old cable tv station. Why waste time?

  38. after every failed campaign, they always have the identical same excuses….

  39. Support them, cheer them up, but don’t praise mediocrity!

  40. Facebook needs a steups button

  41. “We know we’ve got to make a better preparation going forward and try to prepare a team that can be more intense in the battles.”…hhmm