The Dr Keith Rowley-led administration will press ahead with its domestic tourism agenda despite efforts by some leading industry stakeholders to scupper the initiative.
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Soca Princesses seal Concacaf spot
This country’s Soca Princesses will be confident of a third straight victory and a spot in Tuesday’s Caribbean Football Union Women’s Cup final when they come up against Martinique in their Group B decider at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 6.15 pm today. Both T&T and Martinique, who have qualified for the Concacaf Final Round qualifiers to the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada next year by virtue of their top four CFU finish, will enter the match with six points.
However, the Soca Princesses lead the four-team round-robin table based on a superior goal difference of plus-13 to Martinique’s plus-three and need only a draw to secure a spot in the final against the winner of yesterday’s Group decider between Jamaica and Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. On Friday, the spectators were hoping for another goal-filled night after T&T swamped St Kitts/Nevis 10-0 and Martinique blanked Antigua & Barbuda, 2-0 in Wednesday’s first round of matches.
However, Martinique only managed a 1-0 win over St Kitts/Nevis while the Soca Princesses humbled Antigua & Barbuda 3-0. The technically superior and well-organised T&T with US-born coach Randy Waldrum on the bench after missing the opener due to club commitments was too much for the visitors. During the first half of action the Soca Princesses saw most of the ball possession as Antigua & Barbuda defended deep in their own half.
But after showing great resilience, the “Bennagirls,” as Antigua & Barbuda are called, were finally opened up when former national Under-20 captain Mariah shade headed home the opener in the 36th minute for T&T to lead 1-0 at the half. Nine minutes after the restart Shade doubled her personal tally and T&T’s lead while first-game hat-trick heroine Tash Louis fired home the third in the 64th minute, as it was too much for the Antiguan goalie to handle.
The Soca Princesses were without speedy striker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner” who was withdrawn from the starting team due to medical matters. On Thursday, general secretary of the T&T Football Association Sheldon Phillips was advised by TTFA medical consultant Dr Mario John that Cordner and two other players undergo evaluation at St Clair Medical Hospital after complaining of chest pains. T&T coach Waldrum did not hesitate to pull Cordner from his team, stating the player’s health was of utmost importance, and in the end her absence was not felt as much as her team-mates secured another win.
All three players underwent cardiac evaluation and two of those players were cleared to continue playing but Cordner will have to undergo a cardiac MRI before she can be fully cleared to take the field again. This was the advice passed on to team doctor Tonya Welch by the cardiologist who saw the three players at St Clair. Cordner is scheduled to undergo the MRI this weekend and pending further examinations, her involvement for the rest of the tournament will be decided on. In Friday’s opener, St Kitts/Nevis started off very aggressive and pressed the French Islanders by creating most of the chances.
But there was a repeat from Martinique's first match as the French Islanders kept calm and defended into the end of the first half.
The second-half offered little excitement as St Kitts/Nevis continued to press for their first goal of the tournament, but the Martinique team defended well and took their chance, with the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute when Aurelle Rouge scored from a corner-kick. In today’s first match from 4pm at Mucurapo, St Kitts/Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda do battle with nothing but pride at stake for both teams. Having secured top two finishes in their respective groups, Jamaica, Haiti, Martinique and T&& have all qualified to the Concacaf Women’s Final in the USA from October 16 to 26 from where the top three teams will qualify for the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada.
The fourth placed Concacaf team have another chance to qualify for Canada, but will need to overcome the third placed South American finisher in a home-and-away playoff. Already through to the Concacaf Final Round are host USA and Mexico, who both received byes where they will be joined by Costa Rica and Guatemala, the winner and runner-up of Central America qualifying. Admission to the CFU matches for each match day is $20 while Tuesday’s double-header will be $50.
CFU Women’s Cup results
Group B: Friday—Martinique 1 (Aurelle Rouge 53rd) vs St Kitts/ Nevis 0
T&T 3 (Mariah Shade 36th, 54th, Tasha St Louis 64th) vs Antigua & Barbuda 0
T&T: 1. Kimika Forbes (GK); 6. Khadidra Debesette (15.Patrice Superville 75th), 4. Rhea Belgrave, 5. Arin King, 12. Lauryn Hutchinson (8. Afiyah Matthias 81st), 14. Karyn Forbes; 3. Mariah Shade, 11. Janine Francois, 9. Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt), 10. Tasha St Louis, 7. Darnelle Mascall (16.Jo-Marie Lewis 68th).
Subs not used: 21. Tinesha Palmer (GK), 13. Shenelle Henry, 18. Annalis Cummings.
Coach: Randy Waldrum.
Antigua and Barbuda: 1. Nikisha Samuel (GK); 11. Breanna Humphreys, 6. Shakima Benjamin, 2. Karen Warner, 14. Amelia Green (capt), 15. Arrianne Whyte, 13. Portia Davis; 12. Kitanya Hughes (17. De’vikka Tittle 73rd), 10. Marley Jarvis, 18. Anik Jarvis (19. Tritch-Ann Grant 46th); 4. Shery-Ann Bertrand (16. Kanika Buckley 65th).
Subs not used: 20. Dominique David (GK), 3. Nikesha Gage, 5. Kai Jamie Jacobs, 7. Argell London, 8. Lakeisha Samuel, 9. Shanell Henry.
Coach: Rowan Isaac.