Last update: 10-Dec-2013 12:25 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Lewis to skipper Pan Am hockey women
Paragon’s Alanna Lewis has been re-elected captain of the senior women’s hockey team which will participate at the Fourth Women’s Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina, from September 21-28.
In addition to the 25-year-old Lewis, the team, to be coached by former national goalkeeper Glen “Fido” Francis, features no fewer than 10 other players, who were part of the T&T squad which ended fifth out of six teams in the FIH World League Round Two qualifiers held in Rio de Janeiro in March.
They are Blaire Wynne, Avion Ashton, Teresa Lezama, Zene Henry, Brianna Govia, Elise Olton, Kayla Brathwaite, goalkeeper Jeneille Carrington, Kwylan Jaggassar and Brittney Hingh.
Back then, the world 26th ranked T&T came up against Brazil, Chile, Scotland, Uruguay and USA and ended in fifth spot. However in Argentina, T&T will first do battle with the host country, the three-time reigning champions, who are ranked second in the world, Guyana (56th) and Canada (23rd) in Pool A round-robin play while Pool B consist of USA (10th), Chile (18th), Mexico (31st) and Uruguay (36th).
The winner of this tournament will qualify for next year’s FIH Hockey World Cup to be held in The Hague, Netherlands while the top six teams will qualify for the 2017 Women’s Pan American Cup. Teams placing seventh to eighth will be demoted to the 2015 Women’s Pan American Challenge.
This will mark the third appearance for T&T at the competition after missing out on the 2001 edition held in Kingston, Jamaica where Argentina defeated USA for the gold, the first of three such meetings between both countries in the competition’s history.
The “Calypso Stickwomen” have a best ever finish of fourth, in 2009 in Hamilton, Bermuda after a 2-1 loss to Chile in the bronze medal contest.
The local squad which has three surviving players from 2009 in Lezama, Wynne and goalkeeper Anastasia Netto suffered a 7-0 loss to the Argentines back then, while they were eighth in 2004 in Bridgetown, Barbados with Lewis, Thompson and Wynne part of that team.
Having coached the senior men’s team to a historic Pan American Cup bronze medal in Brampton, Canada, last month with a 3-1 defeat of USA all eyes will be Francis and his team as they look to create some history of their own.
However, speaking yesterday, Francis was cautious about the team’s chances as she said it was a very youthful one with nine players being current members of the national Under-21 squad.
He said, “We are going to the tournament to compete as best as we can without setting any high expectations for ourselves. This is a very young teams and for us this tournament is about development.
The T&T coach was admitted that while his team is in a tough group, it was still possible for his team to get to the semifinals, providing things go in their favour.
“Our group having Argentina and Canada is going to be tough. “We play the Argentines first up and they will be at home so we expect to be put under a lot of pressure. But we then play Guyana who we should beat and then meet Canada in what we expect to be the second placed decider in our group.”
With only a few days left for his team to prepare locally, Francis said apart from practice matches, his players will be continuing to work on their mental and physical aspects of the sport as well.
“The weather in Argentina is expected to be on the cold side and, for some of the girls, it will be a new experience and together will top quality opposition, it can be a problem, but we are doing our best to prepare them mentally for what lies ahead.
“It’s a young crop and with the experience players like Lewis, Blair Wynne and Kristin Thompson we should do a decent job and give a good account of ourselves, but at the same time I don’t intend on putting too much pressure on them with regards to expectations,” said Francis.
Tomorrow, the team is expected to have a motivational session with national Shot Put champion Cleopatra Borel, a multiple CAC and Pan American Games medallist as well as Commonwealth Games, bronze medal winner from 5pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.
Anastasia Netto (GK), Jenielle Carrington (GK), Alanna Lewis (Captain), Blair Wynne (Vice Captain), Avion Ashton, Kwylan Jaggassar, Kristin Thompson, Teresa Lezama, Elise Olton, Amie Olton, Zene Henry, Brianna Govia, Tamia Roach, Kayla Brathwaite, Dana-Lee De Gannes, Amanda George, Brittney Hingh, Tamara De Nobriga.
Technical staff: Glenn Francis (coach), Nicholas Wren (assistant coach), Sharon De Freitas (manager), Nicholas Baldeosingh (IT Specialist), Karielle De Bique (physiotherapist), Kevin Macintyre (massage therapist), Dr. Zynul Khan (doctor), Amanda Johnson (sport psychologist)
Tournament groupings and fixtures
USA vs Mexico, 1.30 pm
Chile vs Uruguay, 4 pm
Canada vs Guyana, 6.30 pm
Argentina vs T&T, 9 pm
Chile vs USA,1 30pm
Mexico vs Uruguay, 4 pm
T&T vs Guyana, 6.30 pm
Canada vs Argentina, 9 pm
Mexico vs Chile, 1.30 pm
USA vs Uruguay, 4 pm
T&T vs Canada, 6.30 pm
Argentina vs Guyana, 9 pm
Third Pool B vs Fourth Pool A, 11.30 am
Third Pool A vs Fourth Pool B, 2 pm
First Pool B vs Second Pool A, 6.30 pm
First Pool A vs Second Pool B, 9 pm
Seventh - Eighth, 11.30 am
Fifth - Sixth, 2 pm
Bronze medal match, 6.30 pm
Final, 9 pm.
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