Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Soca Princesses meet Tottenham


LOOKING FOR SWEEP: Trinidad and Tobago women footballers, the “Soca Princesses”.

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago’s national women’s football team, the “Soca Princesses”,  will look to finish a three-match tour of England unbeaten with victory today against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies football team who play in the second tier of  English football. 

The Soca Princesses got their second win of the series on Friday, beating Reading FC 4-1 with  27-year-old Maylee Attin Johnson netting  twice and both 29-year-old veteran midfielder Tasha St Louis and  Dernelle Mascal also finding the net. The Soca Princesses began the tour of England on Thursday with a 7-1 win over Queen’s Park Rangers, who until then were unbeaten in preseason matches.

Friday’s opponents, Reading FC,  were last year’s League and Cup double champions of the third tier  Southern  National League in England, and are preparing to compete semi-professionally for the first time in the National Women’s Super League 2 this season. 

Meanwhile, Tottenham finished eighth behind Reading last season. Tobago striker Kennya “Ya Ya’ Cordner was star  of  Thursday’s match against QPR, netting four times.  

 With the team in England is head coach Marlon Charles and T&T technical director Anton Corneal, who said it was the ideal way to begin the tour which T&T is using as preparation for qualification for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. 

“The opening game went very well for us. We were a lot quicker and more skillful than QPR,” Corneal said. “But at the same time it was important that we understand that they are a club team and we are a national team. The exposure to a different environment and atmosphere would  have given us the type of experience we wanted out of this trip from the opening game. One of our strong points is shooting of the ball from outside of the box, which was very good in this game,” Corneal added. 

Trinidad and Tobago are  using the England tour as preparation for upcoming Canada 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. T&T’s current training camp is supported by the Ministry of Sport and follows a similar tour of Costa Rica in 2012 when the Soca Princesses beat several club teams and also split two international matches with Costa Rica, losing the first 1-0 and beating the Costa Ricans 4-0 in the second.

The two tours represent some of the few times the Soca Princesses have had serious preparation prior to competing in international competition. The women have been preparing quietly under Charles since it is believed that 2015 may present T&T with their best chance of qualifying for a FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time. The Concacaf region in which T&T plays, will have at least four teams and possibly a fifth in the 2015 World Cup.

Ranked seventh in the world, Canada automatically qualifies as hosts of the 2015 tournament. Concacaf still has an additional three automatic qualifying spots and a playoff spot due to the expansion of the World Cup from 16 to 24 teams. Since Concacaf women team are generally stronger that South American teams, the fourth finisher in  Concacaf qualifiers can also reach the World Cup via a playoff with the third-placed team from the Central America region.