The 20 players selected for the “Women Soca Warriors” squad to face Ecuador tomorrow, will be announced publicly this morning, a day before the all important second leg Fifa Women’s World Cup qualifier.

The squad was originally expected to be announced some time between Friday night and Saturday morning, but this was delayed to allow assistant coaches, Ben Waldrum and John Dewitt a further look at the squad. Both arrived in the country on Saturday night.

The 22 players, who were named to train for the fixture over a week ago, conducted their final preparation session at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday. The T&T players, along with the Ecuador team returns to the match venue today for one hour each, as stipulated by Fifa.

Ecuador’s players and technical staff members arrived in Trinidad on Saturday afternoon. Both will attempt to seal their first ever qualification for the Fifa Women’s World Cup. The first leg finished goalless early last month in Quito, setting up a second leg thriller in Port-of-Spain.

Due to the away goal rule, Ecuador will advance with a win or a draw by any result, apart from a goalless one. On the other end, T&T will need to win in regulation time, extra time, or on a penalty shoot-out, if the match again ends goalless.

Ecuador arrived in T&T on Saturday and enjoyed two training sessions. Ecuador captain Ligia Moreira said the team approach would be to try to manage the game and control the ball, “because we know that they will go with everything to attack”.

The first leg in Quito, Ecuador, which ended goalless meant T&T would have to score in Port-of-Spain in order to qualify for Canada, but any draw other than a goalless result or a win for Ecuador, would put the South Americans through to their inaugural appearance on the big stage.

“We have analyzed all possible scenarios and one of them is criminal, the end of the game and 0-0 overtime,” said Vanessa Arauz, Ecuadorian coach, who insisted that her team must remain calm, but capitalise on all opportunities to score. She has mentioned, that set pieces and penalties can be crucial to the fixture and has put particular emphasis on such plays.

“We know the physical potential they have,” she cautioned.

Tickets still available


According to TTFA director of communications, Shaun Fuentes, between 12,000-14,000 tickets have been purchased. Some venues have sold out since tickets went on sale, last week, but have been replenished. They are priced at $100 (uncovered) and $200 (covered). Children under the age of 12 are free but must walk with a ticket which is available at Kenny’s Sports Centre and The Fan Club. Two can be claimed with the purchase of one adult ticket. Tickets are also available at All Out Restaurant, Heritage Sports in Scarborough, Ramsingh’s in Couva, Econo Supermarket in Sangre Grande and the Southern Football Association in Skinner Park, San Fernando.​


AYANA DYETTE and Nancy Joseph finished in seventh position in the Central American and the Caribbean (CAC) Beach Volleyball Tournament on Saturday night in Veracruz, Mexico. There were also 16 pairs in the men’s competition and fellow Trinidad and Tobago players Fabian Whitfield and Daneil Williams ended up 11th.
After losing in the quarterfinals the day before, Joseph and Dyette began a playoff for fifth place, but were beaten 21-19, 21-11 in 36 minutes by the pair from Guatemala and then defeated a duo from St Kitts/Nevis 21-18, 23-21 in just under half-hour for seventh. This country’s top-ranked women ended the tournament just like they started it as they beat pairs from Barbados and Honduras on Wednesday to book their place in the last eight.
Dyette and Joseph, unbeaten from eight tournaments at home this year, came up against tournament favourites Martha Revuelta and Bibiana Candelas of Mexico the next day and lost in straight sets in the battle to determine the group winners.
And in Friday’s quarters, they also failed to win a set against another seeded pair, Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro of Costa Rica. Dyette, competing in her second straight CAC Games, finished in the top three in three of the individual categories.
The attacking player was second in total points with 96, just two behind Pamela Jaime of the Dominican Republic. Dyette also had 22 winners to place third in the service category and she also finished third in kills with 74, just four less than leader Revuelta.
After crushing Christopher Walters and Ryck McKenzte 21-9, 21-12 when the tournament served off Wednesday, Williams and Whitfield were nosed out 21-17, 11-21, 16-14 in 46 minutes by the Jamaicans in their first match in the playoff for ninth place on Saturday.
However the “Toco Boys”, who picked up this country’s only NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) medal when notched bronze in the Trinidad leg of the 2012 circuit, rebounded to deny the pair from the Dominican Republic 21-19, 21-12 in 35 minutes for 11th place. It was the first CAC Games for Whitfield and Williams, but the second for their teammates.
It could have been the third straight for Joseph, who made her debut at this level alongside Andrea Davis in 2006 in Colombia. The former nominee for Sportswoman of the Year was heavily favoured to make the team – with the assistance of Elki Philip – four years later, but she was injured just before the qualifying tournament and Dyette and Nadiege Honore competed in Puerto Rico.


This is it, ladies.
After two near-misses, there’s no second, third or fourth chance after tomorrow evening’s showdown with Ecuador. It’s goalless from the first leg in Quito three weeks ago, so there’s everything to play for, not just for Trinidad and Tobago, but also for the Ecuadorians.
Make no mistake. The South Americans are here believing that this will also be their moment of glory, their chance to ruin the anticipated home celebrations and make it to next year’s Women’s World Cup finals in Canada as first-time participants, much in the same way that the hosts are seeking to become the first nation from the English-speaking Caribbean to reach the pinnacle of the female game.
Whether or not there is a full house at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, there will be nerves in the home camp. But it’s up to Maylee Attin-Johnson and her team to use that anxiety positively by staying focussed from first minute to last, whatever the situation. Momentary relaxation after taking the lead against Mexico in the third-place playoff of the CONCACAF tournament last month in the United States proved costly.
Even now, with a place in the finals so close, so many of us are still slow to buy into the significance of the occasion, dismissing it as “only” women’s football. We are bandwagonnists by nature though, so expect a bit of fervour, a bit of passion from people who hardly knew anything about the trials and tribulations of the team in getting to this stage where they are in with a better-than-even chance of filling the 24th and final spot for the finals.
Coach Randy Waldrum has acknowledged that playing at home will be tricky. A home crowd in excess of 15,000 will be unprecedented in women’s football in this country. Will the national players feel the sudden weight of expectation from countrymen and women who previously didn’t seem to even know that they existed? Will the roar and groans of thousands of voices be a boost or a burden?
Obviously a lot will depend on how the game unfolds. A win for either side clinches qualification, full stop, but a scoring draw (1-1, 2-2, etc) will earn the Ecuadorians a ticket to Canada by virtue of the scoreless stalemate in the first leg. So will they go for the early strike, knowing that it will put pressure on the hosts to score at least twice, or keep Trinidad and Tobago goalless and frustrated deep into the game while looking for the late item that will clinch the tie?
As we saw in the first game where they came on as second half substitutes seeking to take advantage of a tiring T&T team in the draining and disorienting altitude of the Ecuadorean capital, the nippy striking pair of Monica Quinteros and Elizabeth Caicedo are likely to pose the greatest threat to a defence that has been heavily reliant on the excellent Kimika Forbes in goal throughout this qualifying campaign.
There is talent and experience up front for the home side as well in the personalities of Kennya Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon, so an intriguing duel is in the offing. At the end of the day though, the team that prevails will more than likely be the one that is driven by the greatest desire from within.
In that sense, Trinidad and Tobago may appear to have overcome more hurdles (including being left stranded briefly in Dallas ahead of the CONCACAF tournament) in reaching this far. But the Ecuadoreans have also shown character on the pitch, rallying from a 1-2 halftime deficit to defeat Argentina 3-2 in the critical third-place playoff of South American qualifying to get to this decisive two-match duel with the red, white and black.
I suppose for us ordinary citizens who will never be called upon to deliver for an expectant nation, it is difficult to understand how anyone can stay calm and focussed ahead of such a big occasion. So maybe perspective is important at a time like this.
In a tearful tribute to his fallen teammate Phillip Hughes, Australian Test cricket captain Michael Clarke recalled on Friday how the ever-positive left-handed batsman would often say to his teammates: “Where else would you rather be boys, than playing cricket for your country?”
That’s a much better way to approach the challenge instead of being bogged down by supposed pressure and freezing up with anxiety and tension. It’s a privilege, it’s an honour to wear the national colours...and to be on the doorstep of history to boot.
So, where else would you rather be girls, than playing football for your country and taking us to the World Cup finals?


Darren Millien is out, and general secretary Sheldon Phillips has had his portfolio cut down by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
Yesterday, those decisions came at a special meeting of the TTFA’s Executive Committee was held according to an Association press release, to “discuss the issues and circumstances surrounding the tour to Argentina in June 2014.”
The meeting follows a two-part report on the Wired 868 website last week that claimed that $400,000 was unaccounted for. The matter is said to be before the Fraud Squad.
According to the TTFA release, the Executive Committee agreed to accept the withdrawal of Darren Millien’s services as commercial agent for the TTFA following a meeting between Association president Raymond Tim Kee and Millien on Friday.
It was also decided that general secretary Sheldon Phillips would no longer lead government relations and team management functions. William Wallace will now take up those duties
In addition, the TTFA has also appointed former president of the West Indies Players Association Dinanath Ramnarine as a consultant to lead efforts to assist the TTFA with its governance and management reform and to review and restructure its operations.
In the release, Tim Kee offered no reasons for the removal of Millien or the downsizing of Phillips’ portfolio, but instead said, “the TTFA is pleased to have someone of Mr Ramnarine’s caliber as part of its reformation effort. Dinanath is a hard-working individual who brings to the table a wealth of experience in sports administration and governance.”
Ramnarine, who has been a member of the TTFA’s independent review commission, also involved in the mediation of the settlement of outstanding payments to the 2006 World Cup players.
Ramnarine said, “I look forward to working with Mr Tim Kee and the Executive Committee to establish processes and systems that would put Trinidad and Tobago football on its best footing.”
On Wallace’s inclusion, Tim Kee added: “Mr Wallace brings a wealth of experience to our organisation having managed relationships with various Government and international organisations. He has worked extensively with various bodies both in local football and cricket at the youth and senior levels and has demonstrated a high level of commitment. I think he will be a valuable addition to the management of the TTFA.”


T&T men overcome Venezuela

The Trinidad and Tobago men’s rugby sevens team grabbed bronze last night, on the penultimate day of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico.
In a fiercely competitive match, T&T surged from behind to defeat Venezuela 26-24 and take the bronze medal.
T&T’s Agboola Silverton was the star player in the match with 20 points from four tries, while Keishon Walker, instrumental in getting them to the bronze medal playoff, notched four points from two conversions. Christopher Hudson was the final scorer for T&T (two points from one try).
The T&T squad was down 19-14 at half time but a superior defensive display led to them outscoring the South Americans 12-5 in the final half.
Earlier, T&T  lost their semi-final match against Colombia 33-12  with Keishon Walker scoring seven points from one try and one conversion while teammate James Phillip added five points from one try.
They were scheduled to play Venezuela in the bronze medal match.
In their quarter-final game, the T&T men whipped the Cayman Islands 24-0,  with David Gokool leading the scoring with 10 points from his two tries, while Keishon Walker had a try and a conversion for seven points, with Daniel Scott contributing five points (one try) and Aasan Lewis adding two points with a conversion.
T&T’s women were also victorious over the Cayman Islands, winning their preliminary match 20-5. Nicholette Panthor had two tries with Fayola Jack and Kanisha Vincent adding one apiece, while Shenel Gall had a try for the losers. They were subsequently beaten 39-0 by Venezuela in their next round robin match but beat the Caymans again 37-0 to take fifth spot.
Meanwhile, T&T’s men’s beach volley team of Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams were beaten two sets to one--17-21, 21-11, 14-16--by Jamaica’s Christopher Walters and Ryck McKenzte in their 9th-12th placement playoff match.
Whitfield finished the match with 14 kills and one ace, while Williams had 13 kills and three aces. McKenzte and Walters had 13 kills each with the former serving five aces and the latter, one. T&T was scheduled to face Guatemala at 7.00 p.m last night to decide the eleventh and twelfth places.
In completion among the women, T&T’s Nancy Joseph and Ayanna Dyette suffered a 2-0 defeat, losing 19-21, 11-21, to Anna Ramirez and Blanca Recinos of Guatemala in their 5th-8th playoff match. Dyette had eight kills and four aces, with seven kills and an ace coming from Joseph while Ramirez and Recinos both had 12 kills with the latter serving up two aces.
In squash, T&T’s men lost 2-0  against El Salvador for fifth to eighth place spots. T&T’s Kale Wilson  battled but lost out to Guatemala’s Israel Abrego 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 9-11) while the experienced Colin Ramasra was overhelmed by El Salvador’s Jose Molina in straight sets (7-11, 10-12, 6-11).
And in water polo, the T&T men were set to oppose Puerto Rico  in  the fifth and sixth place playoff after press time.


Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) hurdler Mikel Thomas failed to medal at yesterday’s final day of track and field competition at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games when he produced a fifth-place finish in the men’s 110 metres hurdles event in a time of 13.83 seconds at the Heriberto Jara Corona Stadium in Xalapa, Mexico.
Running out of lane seven, Thomas had a good start, recording the second fastest reaction time of 0.167 seconds, and was well in the medal hunt over the first 60 metres but gradually faded out of contention as Cuba’s Yordan Luis Ofarrill grabbed gold in 13.46 from his countryman Jhoanis Portilla, 13.53, while Greggmar Swift of Barbados took bronze in a time of 13.59.
After the race Thomas told the Express he wasn’t disappointed at not medalling. “It’s very, very early right now for me in my preparation and this is the first time really going over any hurdles for the year, so it was a good opportunity to work some executions and try to put it together.”
In other action, T&T’s men rugby team got off to a good start to competition in Pool A by defeating Venezuela 14-5 in their opening match. Joseph Quashie and Jesse Richards contributed five points apiece as both scored tries while Christopher Hudson had two conversions for four points. Luis Zamora had one try for Venezuela’s five points.
T&T next faced Costa Rica and came away winners by a 27-10 margin. Wayne Kelly led the way with two tries for his ten points while Quashie, James Phillips and Darrel Scott each had a try and Keishon Walker chipped in with a conversion for his two points.
Luis Siles and Franklin Zuniga scored a try apiece for Costa Rica. Up to press time, the men were engaged in battle with Mexico in their third fixture. The rugby women were not as successful as their male counterparts after suffering losses to Colombia, 36-5, and Mexico, 36-0, while playing to a 10-10 stalemate with Jamaica.
And in beach volleyball action, T&T’s Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams were awarded a 21-0, 21-0, win after the Costa Rican duo of Diego Alpizar and Julio Alvarez, who were slated as injured, could not compete in the playoff fixture to decide positions 9-16.
The women’s pair of Ayanna Dyette and Nancy Joseph were not as fortunate in their quarterfinal matchup against Costa Rica’s Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro, going under 21-13, 21-13, to bow out of medal contention.
Up to press time, T&T’s men water polo team was leading Guatemala 13-3 at the Leyes de Reforma Aquatic Centre in preliminary action while the men’s squash team was trailing Guatemala 0-1 after Colin Ramasra was beaten 11-3, 11-9, 11-2, by Edwin Enriquez.