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Soca Princesses pip Jamaica 1-0

...Shabazz not too excited by the win
Published: 
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Goalscorer Laurelle Theodore

Laurelle Theodore’s wonder goal was enough to propel T&T’s Under-20 women’s football team to a 1-0 win over Jamaica’s Under-20 team on Thursday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Chelcy Ralph zipped in a curling free-kick from the right, which Theodore connected with on the volley, to smash an unstoppable left-footed shot past Erin Mikalsen in goal for the young Reggae Girls.

Playing down the result in the friendly match, head coach Jamaal Shabazz said, “This was a very useful exercise today, we are happy for the result but the game itself showed up a lot of things that we’ve got to work on. We need to work more on team play, playing together, more combinations, more passing and moving. But I am very encouraged by the efforts and aggression of the players.”

“We are far from where we need to be come January. There is this fallacy in the school teams, where one school only has two or three players, that they are stars in the school but in the international game they are not stars.”

The former T&T women’s senior team coach noted that the Jamaicans displayed their usual grit and determination but still did not test his team in the way he might have expected.

In a first half dominated by the home team, Jamaica limited themselves to shots from distance as the T&T defence found life relatively easy against the Caribbean rivals.

Theodore, the former St Augustine Secondary School student, wearing the number nine shirt, had earlier struck the Jamaicans’ upright with a left-footed volley from about 20 yards out and also managed to create a clear cut chance for her captain and attacking partner, Dennecia Prince, releasing the latter down the right flank, but with only Mikalsen to beat in goal, Prince’s final shot, though well hit, was straight at the custodian.

Prince was causing problems again in the 19th minute and drew the foul from Emily Caza which would lead to T&T’s goal.

Shabazz and his young team cringed at the start of the second period when Prince was scythed down by Nevillegail Able about 30 yards from goal after collecting the ball on the turn. Able was shown a caution for the reckless challenge while Prince was later stretchered off the field after attempting to play on.

In that period, T&T continued to create chances, none better than when Theodore played in Ralph but the latter saw her fierce drive from inside the penalty area, crash off the crossbar and back into play.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s second match against Jamaica at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium from 4pm Shabazz said, “We will have at least seven foreign based players coming in. While for this game we used more of the local players, after Saturday we will be in a better position to make a judgement of how we go forward in terms of player personnel.”

Shabazz noted that there were still many areas this team needed to improve on before they are tournament ready for the CONCACAF leg of World Cup qualifiers in January.