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T&T Women's Success Could Raise the Bar

T&T Women's Success Could Raise the Bar

Posted by Shanelle Weir on November 27, 2014

Former Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke would love for this country to grace the centre stage at the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Yorke who led T&T as captain to the 1991 Fifa Under 20 World Cup in Portugal and the 2006 Fifa World Cup Finals in Germany, believes a victory for the T&T women against Ecuador on Tuesday could be the ideal lift for the country at this time, particularly for women’s football.

“It would be a great achievement to get to the World Cup on the women’s stage,” Yorke said. “I was hearing all kinds of things about the team last month when they were in the Concacaf round and to see that they’ve gotten this far is a an accomplishment by itself. But they must keep focused and finish the job. As captain I can tell you there’s no greater feeling that reaching the end and being able to celebrate victory or qualification like we did in 1991 and 2006. So good luck and hopefully there’s better things in store for the women’s game back home,” Yorke added.

The former Manchester United forward said he never forgets when November comes around, for obvious reasons.

“November 19 still stands out because I was a kid at the time and I knew what it felt like back in 1989 when we had the nation in a frenzy and then we didn’t make it. It was a sad day for me and all of us. But winning in Bahrain and getting us to the World Cup in Germany is top of the list for me. Nothing can beat that if you ask me and I still remain immensely proud of what me and my teammates were able to achieve and the way we represented in Germany. I’ve seen the guys have made it to the Gold Cup and they came in second in the Caribbean Cup so it’s a good sign. Hopefully we can continue improving and get ourselves ready for the next qualification and for the future in general,” he added.

Walker: It’s all or nothing

Youthful T&T senior women’s team midfielder Anique Walker might appear to be small in stature but she is a tower of strength on the football pitch. 

Walker is in the T&T squad for Tuesday’s crucial World Cup Qualifier against Ecuador at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The former captain of the Under 20 team which narrowly missed on Under 20 World Cup qualification in January, the University of West Florida says it’s make or break time for the Women Soca Warriors.

“This all we’ve worked for in our careers to date. It’s all or nothing time for all of us in this team,” Walker said prior to training on Tuesday as she and her teammates spent some down time at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain. 

“It’s been a great experience to be part of the senior team. I’m just focused on training hard and concentrating on how I can contribute to the team in any way.

“We have the 12th man and we’re on our turf now so hopefully we can pull it off. We are all eager to work hard and go out there and get the result that will take us through to the World Cup next year.

Walker is also a former National Under 17 team captain and appeared at the 2010 Fifa Under 17 Women’s World Cup in T&T.

He’s been through it all, from being one of the all time standouts as a goalkeeper for T&T to serving as technical director when T&T qualified for the World Cup in 2006. Now 73, Lincoln ‘Tiger’ Phillips is back as the goalkeeping coach for the Women’s team.

Phillips is with the team as it prepares for Tuesday’s qualifying match. He has been working with goalkeepers Kimika Forbes and Tenesha Palmer since the Concacaf Championship a few weeks ago.

Phillips has been highly noted for taking Howard University team built around students from the Caribbean to unprecedented success. In 1971, Howard became the first historically black college to win the N.C.A.A. Division I championship in the United States which to this day is highlighted in US Soccer history.

Now he’s on the verge of being part of another piece of history as the T&T Women’s team seeks to become the first Caribbean country to qualify for a Women’s World Cup. 

“To be honest I was just as much surprised to be involved as many people were. I was back in the US working with the University of Loyola Women’s Team for the past three years and then Randy got in touch with me and said to come give him a hand. I was very happy to respond and get back involved to give back in any way because T&T has given me a lot, “ Phillips said.

Looking ahead to the match, he added: “Football is a game you can never forecast but I’m really looking forward to it because I think once we stick to our game and settle down then we can pull it off.”

He also touched on the potential of Forbes and Palmer. “Kimika has the potential and the qualities to become a world class goalkeeper. She works hard and is in a good system in the US. She has the physical features of a good goalkeeper and she’s improving all the time. Tenesha is young and growing with every bit of experience and she will continue to get better so I’m quite pleased about these two,” he added.

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