Barbados senior women’s football team played their first international friendly in two years this past Sunday and coach Richard Forde was pleased with their efforts.
Captained by Gabriella Lopez, the Bajan Gems lost a hard-fought match 2-1 playing against Martinique at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Forde said the team needed to play more international friendlies in an effort to improve their overall game and be just as competitive against much stronger teams.
“I have asked that we play two more friendlies because I think that it is important. This is the first friendly we played in two years and this team is a very young team. There are some areas to be fixed and that will be fixed in time because I am also looking outside for international players who can fill those gaps because when you go to international tournaments we want to be as strong as we can,” Forde said.
Playing against the Martiniquais, Forde explained at times the Bajan ladies were on top of the game but in the latter stages struggled to carry on. He said that fitness would be one of the main areas to focus on a lot more going forward.
In order to improve the team members’ endurance, the national coach suggested that they increase the number of training days.
“Later down in the game, our fitness level tells on us. So there is something we need to do in terms of that area. We need to increase our training days because two days a week are not enough, I think we need to increase our training days,” Forde explained.
Barbados showed great signs of improvement with their overall performance against Martinique. Forde acknowledged that Barbados’ attack was the strongest point of the game. Leading in that department were Lopez, Soraya Toppin-Herbert, Shanice Stevenson and 16-year-old Felicia Jarvis who scored Barbados’ lone goal and her second at this level.
“When we started out the girls did not have much belief in themselves and now I am starting to see a change and that makes me happy,” Forde said.
Meanwhile Lopez stated that it was indeed a hard-fought encounter. She also expressed concern about the team’s fitness level with a few players being injured and said it was something they definitely would focus on a lot more in the future.
“We have a lot of young players who haven’t played at this level yet so I am very proud of how they came out and played. It is back to the drawing boards, work on some things that we know we need to work on and come again strong,” Lopez told Barbados TODAY.