T&T knocked out after 1-0 loss to Panama; Jones explains absence of Cordner and Cornwall after toothless display


Trinidad and Tobago’s dream of qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023 ended in a whimper tonight as they were beaten 1-0 by Panama in a disjointed affair. at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás, Mexico.

The Women Soca Warriors needed a win in their last Concacaf W Championship Group B outing to make it to the FIFA Playoffs. Instead, they managed just one attempt on goal and two shots in total, both from captain and midfielder Karyn Forbes in the opening 20 minutes of the game.

Pictured: Panamanian playmaker Karla Riley (left) tries to pull away from Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Karyn Forbes during friendly international action at Ato Boldon Stadium on October 21, 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

Trinidad and Tobago’s toothless attack has been a recurring feature of this competition. Coach Kenwyne Jones started Brianna Austin at centre-forward against Canada, Jolie St Louis against Costa Rica and Maria-Frances Serrant against Panama tonight. None of them tested the opposing goalkeeper once.

Jones, of course, hadn’t traveled with Trinidad and Tobago’s most prolific active striker, Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, who scored against Panama in a 1-1 friendly last October.

Wired868 asked if Jones regrets not selecting Cordner and talented 20-year-old striker Afiyah Cornwall, whose seven goals at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship took Trinidad and Tobago to the quarter-finals and were the sixth highest total of the entire competition.

Pictured: Trinidad and Tobago striker Kennya ‘Yaya’ Cordner tries to escape Mexican player Veronica Perez during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
(Copyright AFP 2016)

“Kennya Cordner decided not to play because her teammate [Maylee Attin-Johnson] was no longer selected,” Jones said at the post-game press conference. “She decided not to play for the country.”

Jones’ summary was largely true – although Cordner could argue that his problem was Why Attin-Johnson was fired, rather than the fact that she was dropped. But should the coach have returned to the Turkey-based professional marksman after the qualifying round and tried to mend their rift?

In the end, coach and player stuck to their guns and Trinidad and Tobago got poorer for it.

The fact that Liana Hinds, a useful player but certainly not a playmaker, started tonight in the deep midfield role that Attin-Johnson has appropriated for the past eight years has told its own story.

Pictured: Trinidad and Tobago Senior Women’s National Team Head Coach Kenwyne Jones gestures to his players during friendly international action against the Dominican Republic in San Cristobal on November 26, 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

Jones suggested the team was better off without the veteran duo. Team camp was probably quieter for their absence; but certainly not more competitive.

In the case of Cornwall, Jones said the former Carapichaima East Secondary star also refused a national call-up, although he gave no reason for her supposed exile, beyond suggesting she had disciplinary issues.

He alleged Cornwall was fired for indiscipline by his predecessor as national coach, James Thomas, as well as an unnamed US college.

“During my term, I invited her to come to the training – I spoke with her parents […] before we started training and they never showed up,” Jones said. “So they had no intention of playing for their country. I think the repeated questioning of why they weren’t selected needs to stop.

Pictured: Trinidad and Tobago striker Afiyah Cornwall (left) tries to gain space against Saint Kitts and Nevis defender Kaleah Smith in Concacaf U-20 Championship action on the 23rd February 2020.
Cornwall scored four times as T&T won 6-0.
(Copyright MexSport/ Concacaf)

The female warrior trainer did however have the services of attacking midfielder Asha James in Mexico. James, a player from West Texas A&M University (USA), is Trinidad and Tobago’s top scorer under Jones’ tenure so far, with four goals in six appearances before kick-off.

However, James didn’t get a minute of playing time against Costa Rica and was only a second-half substitute tonight.

” Those last weeks, [James] was totally irrelevant — she didn’t look like her old self,” Jones said. “[…] We brought her in today to hopefully get some magic, but that didn’t happen.

Arguably, Trinidad and Tobago does not have a large enough player base to omit players of this caliber without them being missed.

Pictured: Ace Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Asha James (centre) drives past Nicaraguan defenders Yorcelly Humphreys (right) and Martha Silva, en route to scoring her team’s first goal in qualifying for the Concacaf W Championship at Hasely Crawford Stadium on February 17, 2022.
(Copyright Concacaf)

This does not mean that a coach should be beholden to unruly players. But it could mean that a rookie coach unable to inspire his most gifted assets may have needed the intervention of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) technical committee – which disappeared under the standardization committee appointed by Fifa – or its technical director Anton Cornéen.

In defence, central defenders Victoria Swift and Rhea Belgrave were alert, decisive and authoritative. But there was no such cohesion at the other end of the field, where the front three of Raenah Campbell, Austin and Serrant played as if they had just met.

“Not being able to win the game hurts,” Jones said. “I thought we would have won the game against Panama today. I think we started pretty well…”

Pictured: Panama striker Marta Cox (left) celebrates her winning goal against Trinidad and Tobago during Concacaf W Championship action at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás, Mexico on July 11, 2022.
(via Concacaf)

Trinidad and Tobago had 51% of the ball at the interval which was by far the best control they had exercised so far in the tournament. But aside from a firm long-range free kick from Forbes, they never seemed to hurt Panama.

And after Cox gave the Central American team the lead in the 43rd minute, Trinidad and Tobago didn’t manage a single shot for the rest of the night.

“I think the team needs to build on that experience, learn from it and grow,” Jones said.

Even the most patriotic fan would struggle to find anything from the W Championship to hope for, as T&T dutifully walked out on the same night Jamaica qualified for their second FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Pictured: Costa Rica players Melissa Herrera (left) and Raquel Rodriguez (right) celebrate in front of Trinidad and Tobago striker Maria-Frances Serrant during Concacaf W Championship Group B action on July 8 2022 in Mexico.
(via Concacaf)

Trinidad and Tobago have played nine competitive Concacaf matches in 2022 – at senior, under-20 and under-17 levels combined – and have lost every game.

The national Under-20 and Under-17 teams, both coached by Jason Spence, were outscored 2-15 and 1-19 respectively. Jones’ ladies conceded 11 times without scoring a single time. That’s a total of 45 goals conceded and three scored in nine outings.

Raise your hand if you think: more of that, please.


Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 1. Kimika Forbes (GC), 3.Shadi Cecily Stoute, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 8. Victoria Swift, 2. Chelsea Jadoo (23.Sarah DeGannes 88); 14. Karyn Forbes (captain), 7.Liana Hinds, 13.Amaya Ellis (ten.Asha James 64); 9. Brianna Austin (16.Cayla McFarlane 88), 18.Maria-Frances Serrant (17.Jolie St Louis 77), 11.Raenah Campbell (15.Tori Paul 72).

Unused Substitutes: 21. Tenesha Palmer (GC), 22.K’lil Keshwar (GC), 5. Shaunalee Govia, 12.Checy Ralph, 19.Maya Matouk, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson.

Coach: Kenwyne Jones

Panama (3-4-3): 12.Yenith Bailey (GC); 5.Yomira Pinzon, 14.Yerenis De Leon, 13.Wendy Natis; 3.Carina Baltrip (23.Rosaria Vargas 73), 6.Deysire Salazar, 8.Laura Batista (captain) (19.Lineth Cedeño 35), 2.Hilary Jaén; 10.Marta Cox (vice captain), 9.Karla Riley (17.Gabriela Villagrand 73), 20.Schiandra Gonzales.

Unused Substitutes: 1. Sasha Fabrega (GC), 22. Nadia Ducreux (GC), 7.Kenia Rangel, 11.Shayari Camarena, 15.Maria Guevara, 16.Rebeca Espinosa, 18.Erika Hernandez, 21.Whitney De Obaldia.

Coach:Ignacio Quintana

Arbitrator: Astrid Gramajo (Guatemala)

VAR: Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)

Pictured: Trinidad and Tobago striker Raenah Campbell (left) tries to keep possession from Panamanian defender Katherine Castillo during international friendly action at Ato Boldon Stadium on October 21, 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

Concacaf W Championship

(July 11, 2022)

Panama 1 (Marta Cox 43), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás, Mexico.


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