The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team must top Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos Islands to get into the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, after the twin-island republic was drawn in Group F today.
The Women Soca Warriors are one of six seeded nations for the Concacaf tournament, along with Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama and Haiti. The United States and Canada are automatic qualifiers for the confederation finals, while the six group winners will join them.
Next year’s re-branded ‘W Championship’ takes on a special significance since it serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as well as for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The four semifinalists at the W Championship advance automatically to the 2023 World Cup, while the two third-placed teams from the group stage enter a Fifa Play-off round.
However, only the W Championship winner is guaranteed a place in the Olympics with the second- and third-placed nations entering a play-off.
For the Women Warriors, it might be considered a minor triumph just to get to the Concacaf tournament. Under the guidance of then head coach Stephen De Four, Trinidad and Tobago failed to advance to the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, after a 4-1 loss to St Kitts and Nevis and a goalless draw against the Dominican Republic—despite playing all of their games at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
At present, the national women, who started training last month, are led by Welsh head coach James Thomas.
The Trinidad and Tobago women are ranked eighth in Concacaf and 70th in the world, while the remaining Group F teams are Guyana (10th in Concacaf and 88th in the world), Nicaragua (15/117), Dominica (23/148), and Turks and Caicos (30/167). Turks and Caicos are the lowest ranked women’s team in Concacaf.
The Concacaf W Qualifiers will be played during the Fifa Women’s match windows of November 2021 and April 2022. Each nation is due to play two games at home and two away.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), which is at present run by a Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, opted not to participate in this month’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Boys and Girls Under-15 Challenge Series.
The TTFA is yet to formally explain the decision, although acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed told one media house that Covid-19 restrictions are to blame—despite the fact that the government continues to make exemptions for national sport teams to train.