News day / JOEL BAILEY
EXPERIENCED central defender Arin King is set to join the TT women’s football team for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, which will take place in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19-30.
The TT team have been drawn in Group B, where they will take on Mexico (July 20), Nicaragua (July 22) and Haiti (July 24). Group A will feature hosts Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Venezuela.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals, slated for July 27, with the final, and third-place match, set for July 30.
TT coach Jamaal Shabazz said in an interview on Thursday, “Arin King is supposed to come in by next week (to the training squad).”
King has been out of the TT team for the past year due to injury. Shabazz mentioned during the recent CONCACAF Women’s Championship Qualification (Caribbean Zone) Group C qualifiers that the TT team will be using the CAC Games as preparation for the Caribbean Zone Final Round qualifiers, which will be contested in Jamaica from August 25 to September 2.
There is uncertainty over the status of veteran winger Kennya “Ya Ya” Cordner, who suffered an injury recently.
There are three newcomers in the training squad – winger Tori Romano, midfielder Meyah Romeo (both United States born) and winger Melissa Baynes (Canada-born).
“We have a couple foreign (born) players,” said Shabazz. “We have Tori Romano, she’s 15 years old and is more than a storm in a teacup. She’s quite a tinymite but more than a handful.
“Melissa Baynes also (chose) to come in on Saturday,” added the TT women’s team coach.
National Under-17 striker Afiyah Cornwall is also in the training squad and Shabazz pointed out, “She’s settled down nice with the seniors.”
The former Guyana and TT men’s team coach said, “The girls have been making a good effort, training four days a week. The younger ones have exams. So, we’re balancing between exams with some of the younger ones and new players coming in, who we’re looking at right now.”
National Under-20 midfielder Shenieka Paul is still recovering from a knee injury which forced her to miss the Caribbean Zone First Round qualifiers.
US-born utility player Liana Hinds also missed those Caribbean Zone matches due to injury. Shabazz said, “She’s expected to come in (to the training squad), in early July.”