T&T win inaugural CFU under-17 title
Trinidad and Tobago captured the 2013 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s Under-17 title with a hard fought 1-0 victory over host team Haiti, at the Sylvio Cator Stadium, on Sunday night.
The much anticipated final was played in front of 6,800 spectators, who braved the inclement weather to witness tournament history as champions were crowned for the first time.
T&T’s Summer Arjoon was judged Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.
Earlier, Puerto Rico took third place by defeating Bermuda 2-0, Monica Ocasio netting a brace in the 20th and 70th minutes.
In the final, the home team took the attack to the Soca Princesses from the opening whistle, much to the delight of the boisterous crowd.
T&T, on the other hand, started cautiously and paid special attention to Haitian playmaker Isnada Lebrun and the tournament’s leading goal-scorer Batcheba Louis. The Soca Princesses managed to completely mark them out in the first half.
The game’s only goal came in the 40th minute on a play started by midfielder Chevonne John. She maintained her balance after bypassing her marker, and passed the ball to Zoe Swift, who then found an open Arjoon in the penalty area. Arjoon hit past goalkeeper Jonie Gabriel to give T&T the advantage.
Haiti stepped up their attack in the second half, and T&T goalkeeper Nicolette Craig did well to push a well-placed shot from Sherly Jeudy over the upright in the 55th minute.
In response, the Soca Princesses reverted to a fully defensive style of play, operating with one striker and dropping the midfield back to assist the defence in keeping out Louis and her fellow midfielders, who enjoyed operating on the flanks. It was a risky tactic which paid off for T&T coach Marlon Charles, who jumped into the air at the sound of the final whistle.
“The game came down to tactics, and being a goal ahead I wanted to preserve that lead. I had a lot of confidence in my defenders and the way they were cutting out the spaces in the midfield. I cannot say if my plan would have changed had Haiti scored, but they didn’t, so it’s safe to say that it worked. I must also thank Haiti for a good game, and they played well to reach the final.”
Haiti’s coach James Morisset applauded T&T, and said his team will now prepare for the CONCACAF qualifiers.
“We learned a lot from this game, and it has prepared us well for the CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifiers, and who knows, maybe we will meet Trinidad again for a rematch!”