The Barbados senior national women’s football team will face one of their toughest challenges in Group D of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship when they take on host El Salvador in less than 24 hours at the Estadio Cuscatlan Stadium.
However, the head coach of the Barbados team Mario Harte is not counting out his players to deliver as they look to jump from the third position to the top of Group D currently occupied by Panama and El Salvador tied on six points respectively.
“The ladies are in a good space, the morale is high, not many injuries and I think we are ready to go to battle,” Harte told Barbados TODAY.
The Lady Tridents are scheduled to play El Salvador tomorrow Friday, April 8, at 5:30 pm and Belize next Tuesday, April 12, in two must-win encounters. This is the 11th staging of the quadrennial Concacaf Women’s Championship which is a pathway to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in New Zealand and Australia.
Lady Tridents with a combination of senior and junior players have been hard at work in preparation for the second leg of these qualifiers. Led by captain and goalkeeper Kamillah Burke, the Tridents’ last competitive match was a 2-1 victory at home against Grenada in an international friendly. It will take a whole lot more to get past El Salvador who are one of the stronger teams in Group D. Given that El Salvador are playing on home soil makes the assignment that much harder for the Lady Tridents.
How does the ladies’ team get past that hurdle? Well, Harte is of the view it comes down to the overall team approach. Coach Harte and his assistant Tazio Riley along with director of women’s football Emmerson Boyce believe with the right strategy and approaches both technical and tactical, the Lady Tridents definitely stand a chance.
“We rely mostly on the team approach and I believe we are growing in that area in terms of knowing how to defend as a team. Knowing who is to go where when we lose the ball on the left and who is supposed to drop in from the right.
“In terms of the attack at this point the forward players just have a free role, when they get the ball basically it is to make something happen for the team so there is not a lot of pressure on the attacking side. But in terms of attacking, as a team we just want to not rush but be settled on the ball and make the right decisions,” Harte explained.
El Salvador are known for their lobs to get the ball forward and if the Tridents particularly the defensive third can find a solution to counter that style of play then no doubt the national ladies could cause an upset.
“We watched some videos with El Salvador and we planned our training sessions to counteract that. So, we would have focused a lot on the goalkeeper and covering the space behind the back four and always be aware of the possibility of that ball coming over the top,” Harte added.
As it relates to the depth and quality of the Barbados team, here is a breakdown of some of the players and their capabilities.
In the final third at the top are the experienced and technical Soraya Toppin- Herbert, Acacia Small who sprints very quickly, Cheyanna Burnett- Griffith who scored in Barbados’ victorious 3-1 result against Aruba. There are also Tiana Bynoe, Shante Padmore, Rianna Cyrus and Ashanee Thompson who float between attack and defence.
The Lady Tridents backline has the talented pair of Alyssa Yard who got a red card against Panama but is now back for this important matchup and Adrienne Forde.
Also at the back are Keinelle Johnson, the petite but fierce Tanija Maughn who covers the right-back, Danielle Whitehall at left-back, the experienced Shonelle Stephen, Moesha Goodman and Olianna Bishop who normally sit in the back four or defensive midfield position.
The second leg of the Concacaf Women’s Championship Qualifiers commenced yesterday and the match between Group D participants Aruba and Belize ended 1-1. Aruba and Belize lost their first two matches of the first round and are currently behind Barbados on one point each after last night’s draw.
Meanwhile, the top two teams have previously won by major margins. Panama in Group D defeated Barbados 5-0 and Belize 8-0 in the first round of matches. Similarly, El Salvador had a good first leg with successes against Belize 6-0 and El Salvador 7-1.
If Barbados can defy the odds and pull off an upset against host El Salvador, then they might stand a very good chance of going through to the next round with help from results in other matches played in the group. Can they do it? The answer will come in a few hours.