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Preparation to compete, not to participate
It will be unfair for me to express disappointment over the three T&T match defeats in Group A of the FIFA concacaf Women's Under-20 tournament over the past week.
My desire to comment on the performances of each team in the competition would have been inaccurate, if only because I had seen none of the countries in practice sessions, not even the Caribbean representatives T&T and Jamaica.
Hearing the coaches' descriptions of their team chances clearly brought to the listeners a level of confidence and add some encouraging expressions which implied success.
Having learnt from more experienced coaches over the years, I never comment with optimism or any form of certainty about teams I have not seen on the field in practice or more specifically, competitive matches.
So my trip to the Ato Boldon Stadium for matches of T&T versus Haiti, followed by Costa Rica versus Canada was my lesson.
I actually visited the dressing room of the Home team to wish them luck, knowing that nervousness, apprehension, and lack of knowledge of their opponents was as timid to both countries.
Skip the eventual results of the matches, and start the process of making a careful study of the physical capabilities by both teams, there were some startling observations which appeared to expose the differences between both countries.
The presence of effort in the speed department brought an early attraction of the host country, especially as it did what most home teams wish to achieve when playing at home.
Two goals in seven minutes could not have been a better start and a feeling which brought joy to the local fans.
However, before the tram could capitalise upon the lead, there appeared to have suspicions that fast forward by speed of players chasing long balls, maybe because it resulted in scoring the two goals, would have brought home victory.
An absence in organised build up through inter-passing and splitting the opponents' defence caused some mistakes of giving the ball away.
It is then that the Haitians demonstrated their careful possession sequence which saw the home team chasing shadows and tiring themselves without gaining repossession of the ball.
This descriptive chapter of well executed passing by the Haitians produced a positive effect where the opposing team could not stop the plan which the visitors demonstrated continuously and penetrated the T&T defence easily and intelligently as they recognised the weaknesses in the home team's approach.
The balance of the match left the fans believing that the Haitians applied themselves in a manner that showed great cohesion, impressive switching of positions and creating some clever passing lanes.
Their finishing was superb and our women were chasing shadows in a manner which challenged their match fitness.
Canada and Costa Rica were clearly ready for the hard fought game which they needed to play. The speed of Canada was reduced not as successful in the first half, because Costa Rica had great possession, good skill by their midfielders and glimpses of scoring opportunities.
However, Canada's fitness level was their main area of strength and in the second half, demolished their opponents, leaving their opponents to have sleepless nights.
Admittedly, our team improved with each match, but just could not match any department of the game to retain superiority.
Without going to the next group, I wish to emphasise the shortage of preparation of the local team. Not for a want of trying, but for the absence of utilising physical science needed for improving the age group of girls between 15 and 19 years.
Historically, our women have not been introduced to a game as rigorous as football.
Our attention must be given to careful methods which will prepare the muscular progress of our girls and women.
The answer lies squarely on the shoulders on the persons who are given the duties to develop women's football. An exercise physiologist is an essential person to work assiduously with the girls and gradually mesh their muscle strength with their natural skills. Coaches will then be able to help their speed levels, their sharp swift movements of changing direction when the need arose..
Our most appropriate lessons will be to scrutinise the top teams in the competition and there will be visible answers which could be used by our coaching staff for the next step in our progress line for Football.
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