Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz says his players intend to re-assert themselves in the region, as they prepare to kick off their France 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign on Saturday against the United States Virgin Islands.
The Women Soca Warriors tackle the USVI from 6:30pm in the second game of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. Grenada face St Kitts and Nevis from 4pm in the opening match of Group C. Tickets cost TT$30 and are available at the Couva venue on match days.
The senior women are the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s only current reigning champions—having won the Caribbean crown under former coach Randy Waldrum in 2014—and Shabazz hopes they can prove their mettle again.
“This is an opportunity for us to re-establish our past reputation as a force in senior women’s football in the region,” Shabazz told the TTFA Media. “This is the first step in what can be a most interesting journey for the team and the country. We also have a blend of players that crosses a few generational paths.
“The U-17s, U-20s, the Under-23s and veteran seniors are all represented in this squad which we’ve put together for the opening round of the qualifiers.”
Shabazz made just two changes to the team that strolled through last month’s CFU Challenge Series with the injured pair of utility player Liana Hinds and Shenieka Paul replaced by Ottawa Fury attacker Andrea Young and former national youth player Taylor Mims.
After the USVI contest, Trinidad and Tobago will face Dominica (21 May), St Kitts and Nevis (25 May) and Grenada (27 May). The winners of each of the five groups will advance to the Caribbean final round, which starts on 21 July at a venue to be announced.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad)
Goalkeepers: Saundra Baron, Nicolette Craig;
Defenders: Ayana Russell, Anastasia Prescott, Rhea Belgrave, Jenelle Cunningham, Jonelle Cato, Patrice Superville, Shaunalee Govia, Taylor Mims;
Midfielders: Tasha St Louis (captain), Janine Francois, Shanelle Arjoon, Karyn Forbes, Kedie Johnson, Naomie Guerra;
Forwards: Mariah Shade, Andrea Young, Aaliyah Prince, Natasha St Louis.