U-20 Women get Feb Concacaf assignment, but NC yet to activate single nat’nl youth team in 20 mths

Gems at Lajoya

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-20 Team are scheduled to return to action next February when the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship kicks off in the Dominican Republic.

However, the Women’s National Under-20 Team are among a string of teams which have remained dormant since the Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee took control of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) on 27 March 2020.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Chrissy Mitchell (centre) prepares to boot away the ball while Puerto Rico attacker Malina Pardo (left) looks on during Concacaf U-20 Championship Round of 16 action in the Dominican Republic on 1 March 2020.
(Copyright MexSport/Concacaf)

In June 2020, the Trinidad and Tobago Government gave permission for national teams to resume training—although Covid-19 restrictions still forbid domestic football competition. But only the Men’s and Women’s Senior Teams have held so much as a training session under the normalisation committee.

At present, the only national youth team that has a designated head coach is the Men’s National Under-20 Team, which shares Angus Eve with the senior team. And Eve is yet to hold his first official training session with the U-20s.

While Eve’s U-20 Men don’t see competitive action until July 2022, their female counterparts face their first qualifier for the 2022 Fifa Women’s Under-20 World Cup in roughly three months’ time.

Trinidad and Tobago are grouped with Canada, El Salvador, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Only the bottom placed are eliminated, with the remaining three nations advancing to the knockout round of 16 phase.

Photo: Robert Hadad is co-CEO of Hadco and board member at the International School in POS.
Hadad was appointed head of Fifa’s normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago on 27 March 2020.
(Copyright Gary Jordan Photography ©2017)

The eventual tournament champion, runner-up and third-place finisher will qualify for the August World Cup in Costa Rica alongside the host nation.

Wired868 asked Hadad, TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed, and technical director Dion La Foucade the following questions:

“When will the normalisation committee select a Women’s National Under-20 Team coaching staff? Does the normalisation committee plan to participate in the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship? Does the normalisation committee have a structured plan for participation in football competitions at all, or does it make it up as they go along?”

Neither Hadad, Mohammed nor La Foucade responded up until the time of publication.

Trinidad and Tobago were quarterfinalists at the 2022 Women’s U-20 Championship where they lost to eventual runner-up, Mexico. Richard Hood coached the junior Women Soca Warriors at that competition, although he was twice snubbed for jobs under the current administration.

Photo: Coach Richard Hood led Trinidad and Tobago to the quarterfinals of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship.
His contract expired at the end of the competition.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

At present, there are no national teams in training under the normalisation committee. However, the Women’s National Senior Team is due to resume practice in December as the senior women prepare for the Concacaf W Championship qualifying series from next February against Nicaragua (16 February), Dominica (20 February), Turks and Caicos Islands (9 April), and Guyana (12 April).

Kenwyne Jones acted as interim women’s head coach last month but the normalisation committee promised to announce a full-time appointment by the end of November.

The Men’s National Senior Team have not played since their 1-1 draw against Guatemala on 18 July at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and are now in their third Fifa international match window without a game.

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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