T&T U15 girl footballers Annika Daniel and Jessica Harragin
Annika Daniel, left, and Jessica Daniel get ready for
TT Under-17 football trip to Panama for three matches
TRINIDAD and Tobago Girls’ Under-17 footballers will be looking to benefit greatly from their upcoming three-match one-week trip to Panama in their first overseas training camp in preparation for upcoming CONCACAF regional competitions.
The girls are through to the Final Championship which will kick off with a group stage competition, as one of the top ranked 16 participating teams, based on the CONCACAF Under-17 Ranking as of July 2018.
The ranke teams will be sorted into four groups (“E”, “F”, “G” and “H”). After round-robin play, the top three finishers in each of the groups will join the winners of Groups “A”, “B”, ”C” and “D” (from the qualifiers) in a Round of 16 play-off.
The 16 teams participating in the group stage of the Final Championship are (in alphabetical order): Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and United States.
Seattle, US-based attacking midfielder Annika Daniel has spoken about the Panama outing, describing it as the ideal opportunity for the team to gain some match practice away from home.
“I’m very excited for it and I think it will help a lot with our preparations for the tournament in the next few months,” Daniel told TTFA Media.
“Panama is going to be a challenge but this is something we have to overcome. It’s just about getting more practice games to try out the things we have been working on in practice with more pressure. It’s a safe way to test the way we play,” Daniel said.
She was a member of the TT squad at the CONCACAF U-15 Championship in 2016 and opened the scoring in her team’s lone victory which was a 4-0 shut-out of the Dominican Republic
Daniel is aware of the benefits of the girls going on its first overseas competitive trip.
“I am excited because I like traveling. I would like to play in my home country but going to Panama is a great opportunity to expand the way I think and experience a different culture. This is very important as traveling together helps a team bond even more so than staying in camp together because when you are in a foreign country you have to stick together and learn together. It’s important for the team to connect there.
“Although they couldn’t come here, (for the recent TTFA Youth Invitational Tournament,) it’s good that we are going. It’s an honor to represent T&T and I feel very privileged to be playing with these girls and to say I’ve represented my country at such a young age. It’s the most exciting thing for me,” she said,
Jessica Harragin of Queen’s Park was also elated to be involved in the upcoming overseas training and practice camp.
“Well, I think playing any team is a good opportunity for us and getting to play Panama is even better. It’s good to play in front of our crowd but I also think it’s also a good opportunity to showcase ourselves away from home and show how good we are as a team. It is one thing to play on your home soil but is a totally different thing to get used to playing in conditions away from home.
“The whole team is really looking forward it because we had some disappointments with the games being cancelled here but now, we have a trip with matches that is certain and it’s a great opportunity for us to go there for this training camp,” Harragin said.
The knockout stage of the CONCACAF competition – Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final – will be played in its entirety in a single match elimination format, with the finalists and third place finisher automatically qualifying for the 2020 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The TT girls hope to advance to that knockout stage.
“Our ambition is of course to go all the way. We have these games which be valuable to the preparations and then we head into competition where our next aim will be to make it through to the knockout phase and take it from there. It’s all a step by step process,” team coach Stefan Defour said.
The TT girls will depart for Panama City on Tuesday. The matches are carded for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.