Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team interim head coach Kenwyne Jones has promised a more balanced team this week, as he leads his troops to the Dominican Republic tomorrow for international friendlies on 26 and 29 November.
Jones steered the Women Soca Warriors to successive draws against Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium last month. And he will get some more preparation time this week at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, as Trinidad and Tobago prepare for the 2022 Concacaf W Championship.
The Women Warriors are grouped with Nicaragua, Guyana, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the W Championship qualifiers and Jones thinks their current itinerary serves them well for their opening outing against Nicaragua on 17 February.
“Having another Latin-speaking football team to play against is going to mimic (Nicaragua) who we are going to play first in the group,” said Jones, at a virtual press conference this afternoon, “and this we see as a really good opportunity to not only get some new players in the squad but to also test our tactical remit.”
Jones said he was offered the chance to play friendlies against Mexico and Costa Rica but felt ‘it was way too soon for us to be playing them’ at this stage in his squad’s preparation.
The former England Premier League striker and Men’s National Senior Team captain has been in charge for barely a month—since the abrupt departure of former head coach James Thomas and the absurdly short-lived tenure of National Futsal Team head coach Constantine Konstin.
Jones’ contract ends at the end of November and he said his fate beyond that lies in the hands of the Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee. However, he is planning for the future as best as possible with the Women Warriors.
Today, the rookie coach announced nine new players added to his 22-member squad while he suggested that the Women’s Team has a pool of 70 players while the coaching staff considers half that number to be worthy of international consideration.
He highlighted Canada-born defender Chelsi Jadoo, who plays professionally in Portugal, as well as the United States-based quartet of full-back Chrissy Mitchell, midfielder Asha James and attackers Kedie Johnson and Kaydeen Jack as positive additions since they have all played competitive football recently.
“It helps us to not only have a stronger squad but a more balanced squad as well,” said Jones. “There are names you may possibly see in the future that are unknown to the public of Trinidad and Tobago, but we have been doing our homework and actively scouting people.
“[…] I think the public can be really excited by a few names that we will be introducing to the squad in the near future.
“[…] We have so far a pool of 70 players and we are going through the list. We have a strong feeling of about 35 right now and we are going to mix and match to see which players give us a better balance.”
At present, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) does not have a Women’s National Under-20 Team staff in place although the junior Women Warriors are due to start their own qualifying series next year between 25 March and 22 April.
Jones would not be drawn on whether he would like to double up with the Women’s National Senior and Under-20 Team jobs, as Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve has done.
“I can’t focus on that in this present time, I can only focus on the two games lying ahead,” said Jones. “At this present time, I am interested in the senior job because that is what I am doing at the moment. I can only focus on the team that is going to travel to Santo Domingo [this week]—that is the team I have in front of me.”
Trinidad and Tobago Team: Kimika Forbes, Tenesha Palmer, Akyla Walcott; Jaasiel Forde, Victoria Swift, Lauryn Hutchinson, Rhea Belgrave, Collette Morgan, Chelsi Jadoo; Naomie Guerra, Karyn Forbes, Chrissy Mitchell, Liana Hinds, Kedie Johnson, Kaydeen Jack, Tsianne Leander, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Chelcy Ralph, Asha James; Kennya Cordner, Raenah Campbell, Dennecia Prince.
Technical staff: Kenwyne Jones (head coach), Charlie Mitchell (assistant coach), James Baird (goalkeeper coach), Atiba Downes (strength and conditioning coach), Dr Anyl Gopeesingh (team doctor), Aqiyla Gomez (physiotherapist), Terry Johnson-Jeremiah (equipment manager), Alexandria Olton (psychologist), Kylla Charles (medical masseuse), Joanne Daniel (manager).