T&T's senior women's hockey team to the FIH World Hockey League Round Two qualifiers set for Montevideo, Uruguay from February 14 to 22 has been depleted by no fewer than nine key players withdrawing from the Anthony Marcano-coached squad.
This has been attributed mainly to work and school commitments by coach Anthony Marcano who says he will use the oppurtunity to groom some Under-21 players.
The players who were forced to withdraw from the training squad which is preparing to face Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Uruguay in a eigh-team tournament which will divided into two groups of four.
Among the players who will not be making the journey to Uruguay are the experienced quintet of Sekayi Liburd, Avion Ashton, Kristin Thompson, Yesenia Luces and Jenielle Carrington.
In addition, the youthful, but talented sixtuplet of Stephanie Whiteman, Elise Olton, Arielle Cowie, Dana-Lee De Gannes, Teresa Lezam and Kwylan Jaggassar are also out.
The quartet of De Gannes, Liburd, Thompson and Elise were all part of the team which topped the round one qualifiers in Jamaica beating Puerto Rico (5-1), Dominican Republic (3-1), Jamaica (2-0) and Barbados, also 2-0.
However, despite those major absences, Marcano said he was happy to still have the services of some experienced players in Krizia Layne, Oire Trotman, Aime Olton, Kayla Brathwaite, Blair Wynne and Patricia Wright-Aleixis who will all carry the workload.
"It will be a tough ask of the girls, but they are all committed and working tirelessly, added Marcano who is expected to name his final team in the coming week.
Cindy Martin-Martin, the T&T Hockey Board national team's administrator was also full of praise for the national women's team who right in the smack of T&T Carnival season will be heading off to represent our country and keep the flag flying high.
She added, "Any Trinbagoian knows when it comes to Carnival how everything else takes a backseat, but hats of to my hockey women they have been training hard for yet another international tournament.
Reflecting of last year, Martin-Fautsin said, "2014 was a hectic year for the senior women team, comprising of both senior and junior players who stepped up and competed in three major tournaments in a five-months span.
This included, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in August, World League Round One qualifiers in Jamaica in September which they won and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico last November.
Looking ahead to Uruguay, Martin-Fuastin stated that with some key players being unavailable a number of junior players would have the chance to make their international debut.
"This is due to the fact that 2014 was demanding and with the commitment of work and university not all the players are available at this time.
She was still high in praise for the work of Marcano and his technical staff whom she described as being very efficient in keeping the women engrossed in their training and fitness regime to compete at a higher level of competition.
"Our Under-21 squad begin training soon for competition in Pan American Juniors 2016 so it's a great time to expose these young women to international competition with the support of the seniors backing them.
"My appreciation goes out to the women for their selfless work and dedication in this time where it's becoming more and more difficult to keep women in sports in this country, " ended Martin-Faustin.