Saturday, February 24, 2018

‘Viola’ sign off tour on high


STARLETS: Venezuela’s two young strikers, Deyna Castellanos, left, and Gabriela Garcia, who shared the adidas ‘Golden Boot’ at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica last March.

Mark Fraser

THE Venezuelan national women’s football team ended a four-match tour of Trinidad and Tobago with a third victory, when beating an All Star team from the local Women League 2-0 on Wednesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

 It was a second victory for the “Viola” over the All Stars,  having won the opening match 9-0 last Friday, when getting four goals (9th, 43rd, 50th & 57th) from  17-year-old Gabriel Garcia, the joint Golden boot winner at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 women’s World Cup, with six goals. Yenifer Gimenez ( 1st & 59th) and Milagro Mendoza (36th) also scored that day. 

The Venezuelans also split a pair of international friendlies with the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national team, losing the opener 5-0 last Sunday, then rebounding with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.  

On Wednesday night it was a more compact display for the All-Stars, despite again conceding an early fifth minute goal from emerging Venezuelan star Deyna Castellano, the 15 year-old joint top-scorer with Garcia at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 women’s World Cup. Loudres Moreno netted a second in the 29th, as the Venezuelans comfortably saw off the local girls. 

Apart from football, the young Venezuelan women’s national footballers were treated to a reception last Saturday by Ambassador Coromoto Godoy at the Venezuela Embassy. The Venezuelans are preparing for the South America Copa America tournament in September, a qualifier for the 2015 FIFA World Cup.  

The Copa offers South America two guaranteed World Cup qualifying spots, and the chance of a third, via a playoff against a team from the CONCACAF zone, of which Trinidad and Tobago is a member. An additional four Pan Am Games spots are at stake. 

 Much of the Venezuelan team is drawn from the 2014 South American U-20 Women’s Championship where they beat Uruguay (4-1) and Chile (3-1), but failed to advance out of a tough group when losing to Brazil (3-2) and Colombia (2-0). 

The same bunch was kept together for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and  became the first South American team to reach the final four, losing their semi-final 4-1 to champions Japan. Venezuela drew the third-place match 4-4 with Italy, before  lost a penalty shootout to Italy. The national team contain  as many as seven members of the successful Venezuelan under-17 team.