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Women end Concacaf Women’s Olympic Caribbean Qualifiers on a high

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The senior Lady Tridents may not have made it to the next round of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Caribbean Qualifying Competition, but they came away with two wins out of four; something they are very proud of.

In their Group B matches at the Jamaica National Stadium, the 20-woman squad beat St Lucia 3-2 in their opening encounter when Tia Briggs-Thompson opened the scoring and Shanice Stevenson secured a brace.

They went on to be defeated by Cuba 6-1, where Stevenson was the only Trident to get on the scorecard with a penalty kick. They were also defeated by Jamaica 7-0. However, they ended on a high note with a 4-0 win against USVI, when Ashanee Thompson, Shanelle Als and a brace from Keinelle Johnson led them to victory.

Head coach of the 20-woman squad, Tazeio Riley, said the team won the games they were expected to win.

“We had two losses against two teams that we knew was going to be difficult. Those came as heavy losses and we want to right those wrongs in the future. From the Jamaica game, we learnt that we can be tactically strong and we decided to stop their strength in overlapping. That worked in the second half and it gave us a chance to execute what we practised so we were able to limit them in the second half,” he said.

 “For me, the girls finally understand that they are better than they thought they were. We had some phenomenal performances in that game, most notably the goalkeeper – Kamailah Burke – had a hell of a game. Without her that scoreline could have been even greater,” he added.

Moreover, he said the women were able to learn from teams like Jamaica and Cuba.

“They would have been able to see the professional players, their attitude towards the game, how they approach the game, their mindset, how they handle crowd pressure and all those things that come into play. Those are things you can learn from other players. It doesn’t always have to come from your coach, it doesn’t always have to come from a teammate,” he explained, as he echoed the sentiments of national head coach Russell Latapy that the women too needed to trust the process.

Riley added the immediate plan was recuperation before they began preparations for the upcoming tournament.

“They will take a two or three-week break, depending on what the fatigue looks like and their response to training. We’re going to continue training one day a week and we will begin preparations for the Caribbean Tournament coming up,” he said.

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