They have reached the final leg of an historic first World Cup qualification, and the Trinidad and Tobago’s senior women’s footballers are begging for financial assistance.
In six weeks’ time, they play the final round of qualifying for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Football pundits are confident this campaign represents T&T’s best chance to qualify for the first time for the World Cup. Yet, no good corporate citizen has as yet stepped forward to assist the team.
Needs range from a six-week training camp, to warm-up matches, to proper nutrition and water.
“Sometimes it’s not even financial (help needed). It’s Nestle (for instance) giving us some protein drinks after training sessions. Water, Gatorade, those things,” said the captain Maylee Attin-Johnson.
“They have to be blind to not see that we are moving to qualify. I hope they help us. I hope they hear us now,” Atttin-Johnson added. “With or without the support, we are going to qualify. ”
The Soca Princesses captain hopes that beating Jamaica 1-0 and winning the first-ever Women’s Caribbean Cup two nights ago — a historic event in its own right- stirs the passions of the local business community.
So far, some help has come from abroad. The kit the women wear is sponsored by JOMA, a Spanish clothing manufacturer, while even the head coach, American Randy Waldrum, has made an investment in the Soca Princesses.
A highly-rated coach with 279 wins and two national titles with US school Notre Dame at college level, Waldrum should be on vacation now, having just last week ended a tough season as head coach of the Houston Dash, a professional women’s club playing at the highest level in the United States. Instead, he coached T&T free of charge.
“Eight teams and three-and-a-half (qualifying) spots. I think this is the best opportunity in the next ten years (for Trinidad and Tobago) to qualify,” stated Waldrum, who as recent as 2013 , coached the United States women’s Under-23 team.
“I can’t think of a more deserving group than this group. They are talented, passionate and committed,” Waldrum added. “Many of them spent ten, 12 years of their lives to have this one dream come through and I want to be a small part of it.”
Waldrum further echoed the need for help before the final qualifiers.
“We desperately need the six weeks to be together as much as we can. That is why the local community who supported us so great tonight can help us. We need help funding it and we need all the help we can to generate the resources we need to go six weeks, Waldrum said. ”I appreciate the fans’ support tonight. I have so many nice comments from the fans congratulating us on the job we’ve done. Everybody’s happy with what they have seen.”