Trinidad & Tobago (pictured) will face visiting Ecuador in the second leg of their intercontinental playoff for a place in FIFA Women's World Cup on December 2, 2014, in Port of Spain. (Photo: Mexsport)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago -- Trinidad & Tobago is hoping that the anticipated overwhelming local support will pay big dividends, when it hosts Ecuador on December 2 in the second leg of their FIFA Women’s World Cup playoff.
With a place at Canada 2015 at stake, the sides battled to a scoreless draw in the series opener earlier this month.
Most of the players have already arrived and started training for the crucial encounter at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Sweden-based Ahkeela Mollon stressed that the team was hoping for strong hometown support to drive its qualification bid.
“We’ve been training really hard for the past week and the sessions have been quite good,” said the 29-year-old. “The mood is really good at the moment and we’re looking forward to this week with all the players assembling in camp.
“We’re all really excited about the 12th Warrior and the fans coming out and giving us that support. We’re at home but the key for us is to stay focus and humbled and go out there and play as we know we can and get the result.”
Forward Dernelle Mascall praised the quality of the preparation, but agreed that crowd support would play a key role in the motivation to win.
“We’ve been having two sessions a day so it’s really intense, but it’s all down to ensuring we’re physically ready for the match,“ she pointed out. “I think we’re all really excited about playing before a large home crowd. We want that 12th warrior behind us. We would have liked to have qualified out of the CONCACAF stage, but this opportunity to do it at home is really a great opportunity for us.”
After finishing fourth in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship played last month in the United States, Trinidad missed out on automatic qualification for the Women’s World Cup. That placement, however, gave it a playoff lifeline against Ecuador.
Head coach Randy Waldrum noted that training has gone well and that the squad will be ready for its upcoming assignment.
“It’s going to be a big week ahead and I think everyone is ready for it,” Waldrum said. “I know the girls and the staff are all eager and focused and the people who have to get things ready off the field of play at the TTFA (Trinidad & Tobago Football Association) and the other personnel are all doing what they have to.”
Trinidad is aiming to become the first team from the Caribbean to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.