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Waldrum: World Cup Canada 2015 attainable

Published: 
Saturday, August 16, 2014
T&T women’s football captain Maylee Attin-Johnson, second from left, with her team-mates during their training camp in Houston for the Caribbean Football Union qualifiers which starts on Tuesday. T&T opens against St Kitts/Nevis in Group B of the inaugural eight-team competition.

US-born T&T senior women’s football coach Randy Waldrum says qualification to the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada is an attainable goal, one that would provide impetus to women’s football across the region. A career women’s coach with a track record of success at various levels, Waldrum and his T&T team will kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign against St Kitts/Nevis in Group B of the inaugural eight-team Caribbean Football Union Women’s Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Wednesday from 7.15 pm.

Prior to that match, Antigua & Barbuda and Martinique, the two other teams in Pool B, will kick off their campaign. The Soca Princesses, most of whom are currently involved in a training camp with Waldrum which ends on Monday, will next face Antigua & Barbuda on Friday also from 7.15 pm before ending round-robin play against Martinique on August 24 at 6.15 pm. However, the tournament starts on Tuesday with a Pool A double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, involving Jamaica and Puerto Rico from 5 pm, followed by Haiti and Bermuda at 7.15 pm.

When round-robin play ends for both pools, the top teams will meet in the final on August 26 at Mucurapo, while the second-placed teams in each group face off for third. However, more importantly, the top four teams will advance to the Concacaf Women’s Final Round in the USA from October 16–26 ahead of the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada. Already through to the Concacaf Final Round are host USA and Mexico, who both received byes, where they will be joined by four teams from CFU and two from Central America. At the end of the Concacaf qualifiers, both finalists and the third-placed team will qualify automatically to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, while the fourth-placed team will meet the third-placed team from Conmebol (South America) for an additional World Cup berth.

Admission to the CFU matches for each match day is $20, while the final, which will be a double-header, including the third-place playoff, will be $50. With T&T having its best chance to qualify for a senior women’s Fifa competition, a lot of attention has been focused on the women’s team, with Waldrum hoping to make the Caribbean nation leave its mark on the world stage at yet another Fifa event as stated in a recent Fifa.com feature. The Texan native already holds down the head coaching position at NWSL side Houston Dash, following a quarter of a century of involvement in college football—including 15 years at the famed Notre Dame University.

With respect to the team’s training camp in the USA, Waldrum said, “It is a huge step and probably the first time they have made such a financial commitment and I’m really excited about it.”
Asked about the chances of qualify for Canada, Waldrum said, “We have a good group of players and we will try and get as organised as possible and hopefully qualify. Then we would have six weeks to prepare for the Concacaf tournament.

“If we qualify (for Canada 2015) it would be a first for the Caribbean. It would be a good boost for women’s football in T&T and maybe for the region itself. I’m hopeful good things can happen, but I’m not taking anything for granted by any means.” World top-ranked team USA and the vastly improved Mexico have the inside running as automatic qualifiers to the Concacaf tournament, but Waldrum says the contest for the remaining spots is wide open, listing Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Haiti—managed by respected women’s coach Shek Borkowski—as just some of the nations with lofty ambitions. 

Most of the Soca Princesses’ squad are based domestically, with a few currently plying their trade in the USA college system. Among the better known personnel are one-time Seattle Reign forward Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and inspirational captain Maylee Attin-Johnson.

2014 CFU Women’s Cup
GROUPINGS AND FIXTURES
Group A: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Bermuda
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva

Tuesday
Jamaica vs Puerto Rico, 5 pm
Haiti vs Bermuda, 7.15 pm

Thursday
Bermuda vs Jamaica, 5 pm
Puerto Rico vs Haiti, 7.15 pm

August 23
Bermuda vs Puerto Rico, 5 pm
Haiti vs Jamaica, 7.15 pm

Group B: T&T, St Kitts/Nevis, Martinique, Antigua & Barbuda
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo:

Wednesday
Antigua & Barbuda vs Martinique, 5 pm
T&T vs St Kitts/Nevis, 7.15 pm

Friday
St Kitts/Nevis vs Martinique, 5 pm
T&T vs Antigua & Barbuda, 7.15 pm

August 24
Antigua & Barbuda vs St Kitts/Nevis, 4 pm
T&T vs Martinique, 6.15 pm

August 26
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo:
Third place: Runner-Up Group A vs Runner-Up Group B, 5 pm
Final: Winner Group A vs Winner Group B, 7.15 pm