Too much ‘Soca’ for Lady Jags

Trinidad and Tobago forward Aaliyah Prince (right) runs at the Guyana defence during CFU Challenge Series action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on April 29, 2018. (Credit: Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

– Trinidad and Tobago edge Guyana 3-1 in final CFU Champions Series match

TRINIDAD and Tobago defeated Guyana 3-1 in the final match of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s Challenge Series on Sunday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

The result meant that the ‘Soca Princesses’ finished their campaign undefeated, while Guyana picked up their only defeat after drawing their previous matches nil against Grenada and 2-2 with Suriname.

The game against the Trinidadians was also coach Dr Ivan Joseph’s final match before the Lady Jags return to Guyana where they will host Group E of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Caribbean Qualifying tournament, later this month.

Mariam El-Masri, the Singapore-based attacker, scored for Guyana from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute, after Trinidad’s Shenieka Paul had given the women from the twin island republic the lead in the first half.

According to reports, published by, Guyana caused a few jitters before a goalkeeping error by Aneesa O’Brien allowed Karyn Forbes to reclaim the lead for the hosts in the 75th minute.

O’Brien dropped a cross by Cato – who was at right-back at the time – and Forbes was on spot to tap into an unprotected net.

The Guyana team, who spent long periods penned into their own half, went down to 10 players in the 83rd minute, after El-Masri lost her cool with Cuban referee Annia Navarette and picked up a second yellow card.

And Cato applied the final nail to the Guyanese coffin with a long-range effort in the 88th minute that went straight in after another moment to forget by custodian O’Brien.

After the game, Dr Joseph, the recently named Lady Jags head coach, lauded the efforts of the Guyanese women, and said the focus is now shifted to the Women’s World Cup CONCACAF Caribbean Qualifying tournament.

Lady Jags will play Bermuda, Suriname and Barbados in the four-team group, where the winner will advance to the round-robin stage with all group winners to be one of three teams from the Caribbean region to play alongside Mexico, Canada and hosts USA at the CONCACAF showpiece, set for October 4-17.

Guyana’s female national team happens to be the GFF’s most successful senior programme, having qualified for two major CONCACAF events while the men’s team are yet to achieve even a Gold Cup berth.

In 2010, the Lady Jags competed at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifier where they went down 7-2 to eventual runners-up and hosts Mexico 8-0 to tournament winners Canada and 4-1 to Trinidad and Tobago.

It was their first taste of competition from some of CONCACAF’s biggest names. Kayla De Souza and Mariam El-Masri (two goals) were the only two players to find the back of the net at the tournament.

The women’s programme became inactive after their showing in Cancun, Mexico, but were given a revival under the GFF’s Normalisation Committee in 2015 where they qualified for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifier tournament.

At the tournament, hosted in Texas, USA at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Guyana won their first and only game at the CONCACAF level, a 2-1 victory over Guatemala, thanks to a beautiful strike from Alison Heydorn in the 76th minute. El-Masri had scored the equaliser in the 71st minute.

However, Guyana did not advance since they went down 5-0 to tournament runners-up Canada in their first game, and 5-1 to Trinidad and Tobago in their final showing.