• GEORGE TOWN
Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Princesses advanced to the CONCACAF Final Round of Qualification in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships for the first time after outplaying hosts Cayman Island 4-0 on Sunday at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
T&T next face Mexico tonight for top honours in the group. They will contest the semi-finals next week where a win will automatically qualify them for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. If they fall short in the “semis,” they can still qualify by winning the third place playoff.
Head coach Izler Brown was elated to her team reach the semi-finals, the first time in the history of T&T’s participation in Concacaf qualification.
“I’m really happy for them. They played with heart and they got the first part of the job done which was to advance beyond the group phase,” Browne told TTFA Media.
“I think the girls played hard and the inclusion of the foreign-based players was a plus or us as their contributions were significant. They fitted in well and combined really good with the home-based players.
“The team is taking it one game at a time. We will refocus now on our next task which will be finishing the group stage on a positive note against Mexico and then look ahead to the semi-finals,” Browne added
Sunday Brown’s charges were off to a flying start, scoring in the second minute before some fans had a chance to settle into their seats.
Patrice Campbell dribbled down the left and delivered a pass that snaked through the box to Shanisa Camejo, whose right-footed shot beat goalkeeper Kristina Seymour.
Fifteen minutes later, the visitors increased their lead after Cayman Islands conceded an own goal from a pass into the box that a Caymanian defender was able to get a foot on. The ball, however, rebounded off teammate Jetena Bodden and looped over Seymour into the net.
Five minutes before the break, T&T went ahead 3-0 after Campbell took a right-sided corner kick that Khadidra Debesette was able to head just inside the left post.
The Caribbean runners-up struck early in the second half to score their fourth goal after the Caymans had difficulty clearing out of their own penalty area.
Brianna Ryce eventually ended up with the ball on the right and sent it towards goal for Anique Walker to covert.
The win guaranteed that the Soca Princesses and Mexico will progress from Group B with a game to spare, while Honduras and Cayman have been eliminated from contention.
Though both sides have six points from two games, the Mexicans have a hold on the group’s top spot thanks to superior difference (+15 to +6).
T&T, who have not conceded a goal in three straight CONCACAF Under-20 games dating back to 2010, had never emerged from the competition’s group stage in five previous attempts.
Trinidad and Tobago lineup: Tenesha Palmer (GK), Khadisha Debesette, Shanelle Warrick, Daniella Findley, Liana Hines, Brianna Ryce, Khadidra Debesette, Patrice Campbell, Shanisa Camejo, Shenelle Henry, Anique Walker .
Substitutes: Emma Abdul, Donika Murray , Tsaianne Leander