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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Newly appointed head coach for the Women’s national team Richard Hood says he’s ready to take on the challenge of leading this country in the upcoming CONCACAF Final Round of Olympic qualification in the United States next month.

Hood, a former assistant T&T Under 17 women’s coach at the 2010 FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup, was named on Wednesday as coach to replace American Randy Waldrum. Hood also led T&T women in an Olympic qualifying bid and previously led Police to the top in the T&T Pro League.

His first international assignment will be two warm-up matches against Costa Rica’s on January 25 and 27 before the team heads to the United States to begin the tournament. Hood will announce a provisional squad list in due course.

“My immediate reaction is one of excitement but one of apprehension as well,” Hood said.

“We are facing a very difficult task trying to qualify for the Olympics. It’s going to be difficult but it is not beyond us and one that I am looking forward to. The time frame is not ideal but it’s workable.”

Hood is familiar with the majority of players in the current pool including Arin King who led the team in the recent International friendly with the United States.

“There are one or two players that came in recently that I am not too familiar with. I saw players like Liana Hinds and Briana Ryce who were with the 2010 Under 17 team, in the squad and I was pleased about that. One of the important things for us would be getting the chemistry going and ensuring we are ready for the tournament,” Hood said.

And as to the way in which he would like to see the team approach the games, he added: “I would like to see us play aggressively and to use our best assets, one of which would be speed, and to be more measured and control in our approach, being more organized and maintaining a high level of concentration throughout.”

Hood said he would be giving up his duty as Police coach but will continue overseeing their program as technical director.

T&T will open their CONCACAF final round account against Guatemala in February 11. They will face Canada on February 14 and Guyana on February 16. The top two teams from the two groups will advance to the semi final round with the two finalists advancing to the Rio Olympics.

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