Both the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s football team and the Boys Under-17 team are coming back home from play in the United States and Haiti respectively, both knowing they have to hit the road again soon to continue their challenges for World Cup finals qualification.
The women’s team, likely recipients of the Government’s 50 thousand dollar bonus promise to each player at their return-home ceremony at Piarco International Airport around 7.30 tonight, are to be Quito, Ecuador-bound for their November 8 clash with Ecuador in the first leg of their away and home tie that sends the winner to the 24-nation Women’s Cup finals, carded for June 6 to July 5 in Canada next year.
The TT women played pluckily throughout their five-match campaign in the 8-team CONCACAF Cup championship, losing 1-nil to the eventual champions the United States, defeating Haiti 1-nil and Guatemala 2-1 in Group play, while losing 3-nil on kicks from the penalty spot to Costa Rica in the semifinal that was tied 1-1 after extra time and 4-2 against Mexico in third-place playoff that also went to 120 minutes yesterday.
One TT player, three-goal scorer Kennya Cordner was chosen on the championships symbolic all-star team. And perhaps just missing out was goalkeeper Kimika Forbes who was heroine in TT’s slender 1-nil defeat by the US but a bit of a villianness by her ejection in the second match against Haiti and follow-up one-match suspension for the Guatemala game.
An issue likely to resurface about team’s business on their return is their reaction to the widely reported pre-tournament scenario of their encampment in the US without the necessary funds which were late in coming by which time their plight, highlighted on social media by coach Randy Waldrum, reaped dividends. Even the Haitian team responded by donating some $1000 US they had derived from their fund-raising sales of T-shirts. The donation was appreciated but not used and returned according the the governing Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
The TT Boys Under 17 team meanwhile saw champions Haiti, 2-0 losing finalist Jamaica, 2-0 third-place winners Cuba and fourth St Lucia first to earn Caribbean Football Union tickets to the February 27 to March 14 CONCACAF Championship finals to be held in Honduras.
Two-nil losers to St Lucia, 3-nil winners over Barbados and beaten 2-nil by Haiti, the TT lads held third place in Group A and saw their minus-two goal differential way better than Guadeloupe’s minus 7 in Group B and TT satisfied the guarantee of the better third-placed finisher getting the fifth slot for the CONCACAF Championship, also their Chile 2015 World Cup finals qualifying tournament.