Bajan baptism


Two superb performances that netted them 19 goals were exactly the winning formula Barbados’ senior women’s football team needed as they gear up for the Windward Islands Tournament in St Lucia later this month.

The Lady Tridents, playing host to the newly refashioned Turks and Caicos women’s side, first delivered a memorable 10-0 performance on Friday evening at the Wildey, St Michael, AstroTurf in the first of two International friendlies. Yesterday evening they returned to entomb their opponents with a demoralising 9-0 victory.

Turks and Caicos defender Alivia Brooks putting pressure on goal-scorer and Barbados assistant coach Shanice Stevenson.

Speaking during the post match interview last night, national captain Gabrielle Lopez said she was quite pleased with her team’s performance and the kind of professionalism they exhibited throughout the two games.

“When you have a game where the opposition is not as strong as you are, it becomes difficult. But I pride the girls on not coming out complacent because it is difficult to come from a ten-love win and then come out and [not] be professional. But I thought the girls came out quite professionally today and we got the win. As I said we have to go back to the drawing board and work on the things that we didn’t do today that the coach would have wanted us to do and then go from there,” said Lopez who was instrumental in the win as she interchanged often between the midfield and defence which was as solid as the rock of Gibraltar.

The ladies outfitted in their traditional yellow and blue held the majority of possession and moved the ball without much resistance past Turks and Caicos defence under the watchful eyes of referee Gillian Martindale.  

The opening goal gave a perfect example of Turks and Caicos’ frail defence when Barbados took a 1-0 lead through an own goal scored in the 16th minute by Willandra Elliot. It was a case of Turks and Caicos making a mess of averting the danger in their area which was frequently presented by the Bajan ladies.

However, it was skillful forward Felicia Jarvis and attacking midfielder Marissa King that led yesterday’s showing with individual braces. King got her name on the score sheet in the opening half striking goals in the 29th and fourth minute of added time, just before the first period concluded. Meanwhile, Jarvis picked things up for her country in the 51st and 83rd minutes. 

Barbados’ Marissa King (left) scored a brace and here she drives this ball past Vanessa Jospeh of Turks and Caicos. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Assistant coach and midfielder Shanice Stevenson mesmerized the visitors’ backline on numerous occasions. Her industry eventually earned her a goal off a volley as the ball curled beautifully into the top post of the goal bars, seventeen minutes into the contest. That was followed by one goal each from forward Rianna Cyrus in the 35th minute along with substitutes Moesha Goodman (58th minute) and Tiana Sealy (74th). Sealy was making her debut after being promoted from the Under-17 team.

It was evident that Turks and Caicos with their youngest player being 13 had a lot of work to do in order to be on par with their Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) sister island Barbados. They were unable to hold the ball effectively for any length of time with many of the players cramping up or being injured. Goalkeeper Olivia Graveley seemingly dislocated her right shoulder in the 20th minute and had to be stretchered off.

Turks and Caicos’ head coach Damien Grant said the weekend experience was for his young inexperienced team to understand what international football was about and what it meant to play outside their comfort zone.

“It is a work in progress. I am not very happy because a lot of the errors they made, I think, young or not, we could have done better. But at the end of the day it is a good start for where we want to go and I hope the girls learn their lesson from this experience…. I think basically when we go back [home], not only from a women’s football perspective but from a Football Association perspective, [we need to] assess where we go in the women’s program, how we go about getting the girls involved, getting them aware to understanding the importance of representing their country, of understanding and playing the game well, being committed to playing the game and hopefully we can develop that sense and passion, that football culture that the rest of the Caribbean has,” he said. 

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