Shakira Collymore/File - Oris Robinson

Shakira Collymore/File – Oris Robinson

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, August 21, 2015 – Grenada’s women footballers are hoping to set aside the off-the-field disappointments leading up to their opening game of the Caribbean Zone Women’s Olympic Football Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico, starting on Friday.

Grenada plays the host nation in the second of two encounters at 8:00 p.m. with Haiti and Aruba meeting in the first game from 6:00 p.m.

An original request for four overseas-based players resulted in only one being made available, with Elizabeth Berkeley of University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Tianna Carrington of Lake Tahoe Community College, USA having to decline call up duties due to school commitments.

Striker Shirvae Edwards, who camapigns with West Ham United Ladies in the English Premier League, joined the training squad last week and although she trained with the team prior to departure there was disappointment as she was unable to secure a Grenadian passport due to eligibility issues. The Grenada Football Association (GFA) said that the authourities would not grant her a Grenadian passport because the current law governing Grenadian citizenship requires the mother or father of an applicant to be born in Grenada. One of her grandparent is a Grenadian.

Also missing is Chelsea LaTouche, the former Under-20 captain who took up a new job last Monday and therefore unable to travel with the team.

United Kingdom-based central defender Grace John, who plays for Derby County Ladies, is the only player with international experience.

Despite the setbacks team captain Shakira Collymore said her outfits are physically and mentally ready for the challenges.

“The players are all ready to play, despite one of our foreign-based players did not join the team due to situations beyond our control, we are ready to go out there and give our all,” she said.

“Mentally, I think the players know that the task at hand would not be easy, but we are determined and know that once we play tough and smart we can really be a force to recon with in this leg of the qualifiers.”

Collymore believes that the team is in a position to raise the profile of the game among women in Grenada and their mission is to go beyond this stage of the qualifications.

“Our overall expectation is to qualify for the next round. We know that if we do women’s football in Grenada will get the boost it needs and more girls/women will want to get involved in football in Grenada.”

Following Friday’s schedule, Grenada will also play Haiti on Sunday and Aruba on Tuesday.

The Women’s Qualifiers, scheduled for between August and October 2015, will result in three teams qualifying from the Caribbean for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Tournament to be played in January 2016.


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