Having concluded their six-day working stay in Mexico and made the over four-hour long flight south-west to Ecuador, arriving in Guayaquil, the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.69 million people, Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s football team have raised the bar on awareness of their mission.
Straightfacedly, it’s winning or drawing Saturday afternoon’s first-leg World Cup playoff qualifier against the Ecuadoreans in their famous home stadium, the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa (Ah tah who al pa) which is located just north of capital city Quito and at an elevation of some 2,782 metres or 9,127-feet above sea level.
Team and staff have a 50-minute flight tomorrow from Guayaquil to Quito.
Understandably, Ecuador, with a third place finish in this past September’s 10-team South American CONMEBOL women’s championship which they hosted, are favourites to capitalise on their home advantage, accustomed to the thin-air atmospheric conditions for which Trinidad and Tobago spiked their own preparations by using 2,250-metre elevated Mexico City as pre-Ecuador training base.
Whatever the first-leg outcome, the teams close out the duel for the last but one spot in next year’s 24-nation FIFA World cup finals on Tuesday, December 2 in Trinidad where the highest point in the tropical country is found on the Northern Range at El Cerro del Aripo, 940 metres or 3,080 ft above sea level.
The TT squad with new additions in Candice Edwards, Jasmine Sampson and Iyesha Olliverre capped their Mexico stay with a workmanlike 6-0 victory over a Marco Soccer Academy eleven in their closing warm-up game in Mexico City on Tuesday prior to their departure for Ecuador.
It was a welcome tune-up for the TT team who was fourth-placed in last month’s CONCACAF Women’s Cup Championship in the United States where a semifinal loss to Costa Rica in extra-time and a third-place playoff defeat by Mexico also in extra-time consigned them to another last-ditch World Cup qualifier
T&T got a first half goal from Tasha St Louis and Ahkeela Mollon counted a double while Candice Edwards, Kennya Cordner and Dernelle Mascall added further items in the second half.
T&T head coach Randy Waldrum said he was satisfied with the run of events during the training camp in Mexico City at the CECAP High Performance centre, which is one of three operation centres used by the Mexican Football Federation.