Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.
It's a saying that probably every trini has heard at some point in their life, most likely from their parents or other elder. As it stands, T&T's Female Soca Warriors, or a least a team assembled bearing their nomenclature and representing the country in Brazil as such, were unable to prepare much before heading out to a four team tournament and the first result illustrates as much.
11-0 the final score. Marta scored five. No mercy on the field after she smiled and posed for pictures just the day before. All business, all professional. This equals the worst defeat recorded for our national team,which also came against Brazil, some 15 years ago.
T&T coach Anthony Creece predicted a rough time for the T&T side which had captain Maylee Attin-Johnson as the most experienced player in its squad but even he must have been suprised at the final score.
“Brazil came out strongly and they never allowed us to settle. Our players were eager to do well but Brazil, at home, proved to be just too much and they dominated the game in large parts.“We just have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game against Canada,” Creece added.
“I think it would be a valuable experience for a lot of the players on this team and hopefully they can come back strongly. No player likes to go down this heavily. We didn’t have much on the bench neither but we’ll lick our wounds and come back for the next game looking to make improvements.
The TTFA received the invitation from the tournament organizers last week after Croatia pulled out with all expenses being provided and newly elected President David John Williams felt it was an opportunity that could not be turned down. After consulting with some of the stakeholders, a decision was taken to send a 13-member squad with the appearance in Natal being seen as an effort to improve the Senior Team pool and allow for much needed game experience ahead of the CONCACAF Final Round of 2016 Olympic qualifiers in a few months time. Some of the current first team players are expected to join the team in Natal on the weekend in time for the remainder of the tournament. That team plays the USA today at 10pm local time as part of the USA's Victory Tour.
Despite being boosted by the addition of the new players or that game, the T&T team would still be at a disadvantage as the reinforcements would be coming off a round the world trip to Hawaii, Texas and Brazil in a little over a week and would have no time to settle before the Canada game. In addition, the Head Coach, Randy Waldrum, has indicated that he doubts he can get a Brazilian visa in time to make the trip. With these handicaps in mind, T&T will more realistically be looking at showing our real game against Mexico and in the third placed game to follow, which would more than likely be against the Mexicans again after the goal difference Brazil were allowed to rack up.
It's a delicate balance having to weigh the benefits of the experience gained from the losing trips with the possible damage to the team's hard earned reputation and the players confidence. As Coach Creece put it though, “The bigger picture is obviously the Olympic qualifiers next year and the players here in Natal will be looking to keep building towards getting selected and doing well in the competition next year”.
Through those words we are reminded that despite this disheartening defeat at least we know that the preparation is being put in place before the real exam.