T&T national women’s football coach James Thomas is satisfied with their CONCACAF Qualifiers draw. The team will come up against their Caribbean counterparts Guyana, Dominica, Turks and Caicos as well as Nicaragua in Group F during the months of November and April.
“It is a pleasing draw, there are certainly a couple teams in there that would have made the group slightly tougher. At the end of the day international football is tough. To win a game in international football you need to be fully on your game. I am happy with the draw, but to be honest the thing I am the happiest about is that the draw is now done, and we now have a focal point in terms of these four teams that we have to create the game plan.” Said an excited Thomas.
The first-time international head coach Thomas continued, “Whether they are ranked first in the world or they are ranked 141st in the world, it will make no difference to how we will approach the preparation. It is important that players recognize that the biggest game of your life as a footballer is the next game you have to play.”
Thomas has 49 players in his training squad and several other potential players who have never played for the country at his disposal. He also mentioned that his staff is monitoring the overseas-based players and is targeting two camps ahead of the qualifiers in September and October.
The Soca Princesses have been in preparation mode for the qualifiers just over a month ago under head coach Thomas. He is assisted by Charlie Mitchell (Assistant Coach and Performance Analyst), James Baird (Goalkeeper Coach), Atiba Downes (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Aqilya Gomez (Rehab Specialist).
Commenting on the composition of his team, the Welshman said, “There is a good blend of players we have within the group; we have some younger players that are technically good. Then, we have some older more experienced players who are also technically good. I have been really impressed with their attitude and how they conducted themselves as potential national players.”
The thirty participating countries in the tournament were drawn into six groups of 5 teams, and each team will play two home and two away matches in a single round-robin format. The six group winners will advance to the final CONCACAF tournament; joining USA and Canada who have qualified already based on their World Rankings.
The CONCACAF tournament is the qualifier to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand also the 2024 France Summer Olympics.
The top two teams of each group will qualify for the World Cup, while the third-placed teams from each group will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs. In addition, the winners will qualify for the Olympics, while the second and third-placed teams will advance to the CONCACAF Olympic play-off.
The CONCACAF Groups are as follows:
Group A: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla
Group B: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, and Curacao
Group C: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada and Cayman Islands
Group D: Panama, El Salvador, Barbados, Belize and Aruba
Group E: Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and British Virgin Islands
Group F: Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and Turks and Caicos