At 25 years old, Nikoli Edwards has achieved a lot.
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T&T’s Forbes looking ahead to more action in South America
The 26-year-old Forbes made history by becoming the first Caribbean player to be part of a Copa Libertadores Feminina side, after Sportivo Limpeño of Paraguay defeated Estudiantes de Guarico of Venezuela 3-2 in the Final last month.
“I would like to start my own academy for goalkeepers (in Trinidad),” she said in an interview with the CONCACAF website. “This is something I would like to get off the ground and started soon.
“In addition, I would like to play in South America again. I would love to go and win the Copa Libertadores again. Finally I would like to remain a regular in the T&T women’s national team and make a good impression on our new coach.”
Forbes said it was a woman feeling to win the Copa title and she was still having a hard time digesting the achievement.
“It’s a feeling that I still cannot get over,” she said. “It was an amazing night in Uruguay, saying that you are the champion of South America is a wonderful feeling.
“It is one of the best moments of my career thus far for sure. My teammates and everyone were celebrating and dancing and rejoicing. It was truly a special moment and one that I will never forget as a professional.”
Forbes said the title capped a memorable season for her with the club after she gained the opportunity to play for the Paraguyan club.
“I was just speechless,” she said. “I could not believe that I was attracting interest from a big club in South America with good pedigree that plays football well.
“No other woman from the Caribbean got this sort of opportunity, so I was humbled and honoured. I must say, though, my excitement subdued a little because it took so long to get the visa to get to play and I was even thinking to myself if this doesn’t happen, then maybe this is not my time.
“I was patient however, and I got the visa and got to Paraguay and was able to play games…key ones…for my team.”
Forbes, who played for University of Maine at Fort Kent in the United States, said playing in Paraguay was an eye-opening experience, as she compared the different styles of play in the three countries that have greatly contributed to her development.
“In T&T, I think there needs to be more work to make football professional for women,” she said. “It will take time, but things are going in the right direction.
“From my experience of playing in the States, there was a lot of emphasis on size and fitness and in South America it is about your technical ability and what you do with the ball. I have enjoyed playing in all areas, but I must say playing in South America has been a delight for me.”
Forbes, who made her senior international debut for the T&T a decade ago, credits her performances in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where she helped the Soca Princesses advance to the semi-finals and eventually finish fourth, as the turning point in her career and the opportunities it has opened up to play in South America.
“The game against the United States (a 1-0 loss), where I made nine saves, was a massive moment from me,” she said.
“Interestingly that is when South American clubs started to take an interest in me and, thankfully, almost two years later, I got my opportunity to play professionally in Paraguay with Sportivo Limpeño.
“I was disappointed not to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but it is clear that women’s football is heading in the right direction in T&T.” (CMC)