For many years, the culture of the Caribbean has been defined by reggae and soca music just as football in the region has been dominated by Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. It came then as no surprise to the more than 2000 persons at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex that when the dust from the two semi-final matches settled, it was Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica that were headed to the 2013 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s U-20 Finals.
The Soca Princesses and the Reggae Girlz sailed smoothly into the finals after dismissing Dominican Republic 2-1 and Cuba 5-1 respectively, this evening. In the first game of the evening, it was Trinidad & Tobago’s Patrice Campbell who drew first blood as early as the 13th minute to put the Soca Princesses ahead. However, “Las Quisqueyanas” showed much grit and patience which paid off one minute before the half time whistle blew when Yaqueisi Alexander Nunez Soriano sent a rocket past the Trinidad & Tobago custodian, Tenesha Palmer. Both teams went into their dressing rooms deadlocked at 1-1 at halftime.
The second half started slowly for both teams but as the minutes ticked away both teams began to show signs of desperation. Soca Princesses Coach, Izler Browne made a decisive substitution just after the hour mark by replacing Asha Jones with Jeannette Wilson. The strategic move paid dividends for Trinidad & Tobago less than 20 minutes later when Khadisha Debesette continued in scoring form by delivering the goal winning strike in the 81st minute. The game ended 2-1 in favour of Trinidad & Tobago.
Meanwhile, in the nightcap, the Reggae Girlz put on a scoring clinic to impress the heavily local and boisterous crowd. The pick of the scorers was Kayla Gray who scored a hat-trick by beating the Cuban goalkeeper in the 28th 78th and 90+2 plus minutes. Khadija Shaw and Oshay Lawes ensured that their names would appear on the match report as they netted in the 18th and 64th minute respectively to complete the Jamaican scoring. Las Leonas del Caribe did manageto pull back one goal when Yoanna Calderon Gonzalez snuck a consolation strike past the Jamaican goalkeeper in the 70th minute after some apparent miscommunication between the Jamaican defender and her custodian. The gamed ended 5-1.
Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago will bring their musical history and their football pedigree to the finals when both battle for the title on Sunday, October 27, at 6:00pm at the same venue. One team will have bragging rights for the next 2 years as either soca or reggae will be crowned champions for the first time in the history of the tournament. The reward for both teams is that by dispatching their semi-final opponents, they both have advanced to the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Finals scheduled to be staged in the Cayman Islands next January.
In the opening game at 4:00pm Cuba and Dominican Republic will meet to decide the third and fourth place positions.