News day / MIDFIELDER TASHA St Louis will captain an 18-member Trinidad and Tobago women’s football team in international action next week in two friendlies against Panama.
Tickets will cost $20 per match and will be available on sale at the venue on matchdays. The first game at the TTFA (Trinidad and Tobago Football Association) Home of Football venue, Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, kicks off at 6.30 pm on Thursday. The same will apply for the second friendly between the two teams at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella from 4 pm on March 24.
These matches will serve as warm-ups for the national team as they prepare for CFU (Caribbean Football Union) Cup action in April and the start of the CONCACAF Caribbean World Cup qualifiers in May towards the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Coach Jamaal Shabazz’s squad includes a few overseas-based players including US-based goalkeeper Nicolette Craig, Shanelle Arjoon of West Texas A&M University, forward Andrea Young of Canadian club Ottawa Fury, US-based defender Jenelle Cunningham and midfielder Naomie Guerra of William Carey University.
Canadian-based defender Arin King was not considered due to a knee injury while goalkeeper Kimika Forbes has been ruled out until June at least, according to team manager Jinelle James, after sustaining an ankle injury while on duty with her Colombian club Independiente Santa Fe.
One of the current home-based players, Mariah Shade, who has played professionally in France, said the local team is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming contests.
“We are very much excited and eagerly awaiting these two games. We have been hard at training and now it’s just an opportunity to implement what we’ve been working on with our new coach Jamaal Shabazz,” Shade said. “We know that it’s important for us to come out and put on a good show in preparation for our tournament coming up.
“We have a lot of players who were left heartbroken in our last qualifying campaign so we know this is another opportunity for us to come together once again and work hard to achieve this goal of qualifying for a World Cup and therefore it’s very important for us.
“We’ve been putting in a lot of work and we’ve been getting better with a consistent training programme over the past few months. It’s a younger team this time with a few of the experienced players involved still from the previous campaign so it’s a chance for us to mesh and continue building that chemistry in these two games against Panama.
“We will like for the fans to continue their support and come out and back us from early because our intention is to go all the way in the qualifications and we will really appreciate every bit of support we can get,” Shade added.
Goalkeepers: Nicolette Craig (Essex County College), Tenesha Palmer (St Ann’s Rangers).
Defenders: Patrice Superville (Queen’s Park), Jonelle Cato (Trincity Nationals), Anastasia Prescott (Queen’s Park), Jenelle Cunningham (Real Dimension), Ayana Russell (Queen’s Park), Natisha John (Trincity Nationals).
Midfielders: Tasha St Louis (Real Dimension), Karyn Forbes (Real Dimension), Janine Francois (Real Dimension), Naomie Guerra (William Carey University), Shanelle Arjoon (West Texas A&M), Kedie Johnson (St Augustine), Shenieka Paul (Petrotrin).
Forwards: Mariah Shade (Petrotrin), Natasha St Louis (St Ann’s Rangers), Andrea Young (Ottawa Fury).