Richard Hood

DOWN TO WORK: Head coach Richard Hood and two members of his

national U-20 women’s team.

Head coach Richard Hood has announced his final Trinidad and Toba­go Women’s Under-20 squad that will contest the Concacaf Under-­­20 Women’s World Cup qua­li­fi­ers in the Dominican Republic la­ter this month.

The tournament will be held between February 22 and March 8.

The final tournament has been expanded from eight to 20 teams, using the same format as the 2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship. The top two teams in the series will qualify for the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama as the region’s representatives, besides Costa Rica and Panama who automatically qualified as co-hosts.

T&T are in Group F with Haiti, St Kitts/Nevis and the Cayman Islands. They face St Kitts/Nevis in their opening match on February 22 at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristóbal. The top three teams from the group will advance to the knockout stage. T&T play Cayman Islands on February 25 and Haiti on February 27.

The team is scheduled to depart for Santo Domingo on Tuesday for a pretournament training camp where several of the North American-based players will join the rest of the contingent.

Hood said he was optimistic of the team’s chances of advancing to the knockout phase.

“The girls have been working hard and the programme has been intensive. We had an opportunity to assess them and what they are capable of. I think we have a nice bunch of players when you add the foreign-based players to the group,” Hood told TTFA Media on Friday.

“We have what I believe would be a very exciting offensive team. Defensively, we would have some work to do because we have four defensive players here and ano­ther four added to the group, so it’s about finding the right combinations as we get out there going into the tournament. That would be my big concern going forward,” he added.

The T&T head coach stressed on the importance of the training camp away from home soil before the tournament.

“The training camp is critical. This is the first time we have been afforded this kind of camp before a tournament since I have been involved in women’s football on the international stage.

“It gives us an opportunity to really prepare well, assess where we are physically, tactically and technically. We have three games before the tournament as well, so it’s beautiful and an ideal situation for us,” he said.

However, looking back at the preparations which commenced in Decem­ber, he added: “It was difficult from the point of view where we met a bunch where the physical levels were really low. We had to take our time as well because we had concerns about injury, and some players were lacking from a technical standpoint as well.

“But I am seeing a lot of improvement physically and technically, and I think the players are having a better understanding of how we want to play and the style of play we want to implement. We are working on this on a daily basis.”

T&T U-20 final squad

Goalkeepers—K’lil Keshwar (St Francis College), Chelsea Ramnauth (Fyzabad Secondary)

Defenders—Shalisha King (Alcorn State), Tsian Fernandez (Pleasantville Secondary), Arnelle Douglas (Brock University), Sydney Boisselle (York University), Lathifa Pascall (Pleasantville Secondary), Nathifa Hackshaw (Rangers FC), Roshun Williams (Waterloo Inst).

Midfielders—Sarah Degannes (Internazionale), Megan Rampersad (Wellington Wave), Aaliyah Pascall (Pleasantville Secondary), Chrissy Mitchell (Mayaro Secondary), Maria Frances-Serrant (Diego Martin Central), Sydni Greaves (Cedar Stars Monmouth Longwood University).

Forwards—Cayla McFarlane (Polytechnic School), Tori Paul (Charlotte Independence), Aaliyah Prince (North Texas Community College), Afiyah Cornwall (Waterloo Inst), Alexia Ali (Pleasantville Secondary).

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