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Minister’s interest leads to determined U-20 footballers
The Trinidad and Tobago women’s football fraternity is banking on continued support from the Ministry of Sport and the Sportt Company to help them realise their dreams of qualifying for Women’s World Cup. This was the indication coming following the exit of the Under 20 Women’s team last week at the Concacaf Ffinal round in the Cayman Islands where T&T lost 7-3 to Costa Rica in the third place playoff after defeating Honduras and Cayman Islands and qualifying for the semi-final stage for the first time ever. TTFA technical director Anton Corneal, who has played an active role in the preparations of the T&T U-20 Women’s Team and the Senior Team, expects consistent results to come in the future. “We’ve reached a stage in women’s football which never existed before which is an interest in the game locally and an increasing awareness . And to top it off there has been support from the Ministry of Sport,” Corneal said. “Aside from that period when this country hosted the FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup in 2010, there has not been a concerted effort by the Sport Ministry to financially support Women’s football and that is no longer the case,” Corneal pointed out.
“The Minister of Sport (Anil Roberts) showed a significant amount of interest in the Under 20 Team and the Ministry and Sportt Company made consideration contributions to the cause. We even had the Minister showing up at practice. That to me says something and indicates hope for the Women’s game, “ Corneal added. “The girls were particularly thrilled to have Minister Roberts present on the field during the build up for the competition as it also allowed him to have a first hand experience of their efforts. This spurred them on to want to achieve successful results.”
T&T U20 captain Anique Walker Is also hoping the support continues. “I think the despair of missing out on an Under 20 World Cup may stay with me for the rest of my life but I want to see local women’s football continue to grow and we have a chance for the Senior Team to qualify for the next World Cup. I think the administrators understand the importance of football for women and the Ministry has been there with us. We are looking forward to making them proud with our future efforts,” Walker said.
TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee challenged the Women players to make the best of the opportunities before them. “The TTFA continues to embark upon programs that will aid the development of local football including our various national teams and that involves women’s football,” Tim Kee stated. “We have the grassroots program that will see the kids being taught how to enjoy the game from a young age and also learn more about football in general. We are in the process of placing coaches into positions for the various national teams to ensure there is ongoing training and knowledge being gained throughout the year. “Several of these initiatives will also involve the Sport Ministry and Sportt working hand in hand with us and we are ever appreciative of the partnership with them,” Tim Kee added. T&T are ranked 46th on the FIFA Women’s Ranking table and 5th in Concacaf. The Caribbean Football Union leg of 2015 World Cup qualification is scheduled to begin in April with fixtures to be announced soon. Three teams from Concacaf will qualify automatically for the Finals with the fourth placed team going to a playoff with a South American team. Hosts Canada are automatic participants.