Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team caretaker coach Anton Corneal has added notable reinforcements to his squad for the Jamaica 2018 Caribbean Championship with the US-based pair of experienced full back Lauryn Hutchinson and nippy attacker Kayla Taylor both included in his 20-member squad.
Canada-based attacker Melissa Baynes is another new addition for the Women Soca Warriors while Corneal will also have the services of defender Rhea Belgrave, who was initially expected to miss the tournament.
Trinidad and Tobago, who are the defending Women’s champions, open their campaign against Cuba on Saturday in the five nation tournament, which also includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda and hosts Jamaica.
Only the top three nations advance to October’s Concacaf Championship, which serves as the qualifying series for the 2019 France World Cup.
Late flight bookings meant that the Trinidad and Tobago team travelled to Kingston in three groups with the final bunch of players due to arrive today. So Corneal will have just one session with his full squad before tomorrow’s outing.
“It’s a bit of a challenge but we’ll do our utmost best to work with what is there for us and go into the game in the best possible frame of mind,” Corneal told TTFA Media. “There were challenges with flights, availability of players and, of course, the injuries. It is difficult to have a tactical session going into the first game, so we are depending on videos of our opponents and preparing a suitable plan to exploit their weaknesses.”
The CFU’s top three nations will meet hosts USA, Canada and Mexico in the Concacaf Championship along with Central America’s top two teams.
Concacaf’s eight participants will be sorted into two groups of four with the group winners and second-place finishers advancing to the semifinals.
The semifinal winners qualify automatically for the championship final and the FIFA Women’s World Cup while the losers will dispute the tournament’s third place match for the last direct available ticket to the World Cup.
The fourth place finisher will head to a home-and-away intercontinental playoff, with the third-place finisher of CONMEBOL’s 2018 Women’s Copa America. The winner of the playoff will qualify to the World Cup.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad)
Goalkeepers: Kimika Forbes, Saundra Baron;
Defenders: Jenelle Cunningham, Jonelle Cato, Arin King, Patrice Superville, Natisha John, Naomie Guerra, Lauryn Hutchinson, Rhea Belgrave;
Midfielders: Karyn Forbes, Janine Francois, Liana Hinds, Kayla Taylor, Ayana Russell, Melissa Baynes;
Forwards: Tasha St Louis, Kennya Cordner, Natasha St Louis, Aaliyah Prince.
(T&T’s Schedule in Jamaica)
T&T vs Cuba, 25 August, National Stadium
T&T vs Antigua/Barbuda, 29 August, National Stadium
T&T vs Jamaica, 31 August, National Stadium
T&T vs Bermuda, 2 September, National Stadium.