ANTHONY Marcano, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s hockey team, has lauded the squad’s unity, after they finished second in last week’s Pan Am Challenge in Lima, Peru, and gained qualification to the Pan Am Cup in Santiago, Chile.

Peru defeated TT 2-0 in the title-decider last Saturday, but both teams, by virtue of reaching the final, booked their respective tickets to the Pan Am Cup.

During the round-robin preliminary round, TT defeated Peru 1-0, but drew their next two matches – 2-2 against Paraguay and 1-1 against Brazil.

According to Marcano, “I think it was a group effort. The team, in itself, stood up together as a unit and wanted to achieve something, and that was the main goal.”

Marcano also hailed the efforts of the medical staff – Kevin Mac Intyre (physiotherapist), Dennora George (nutrition and rehabilitation therapist) and Dr Jude McKnight (doctor).

“With the medical staff that we had, I was very appreciative of their work-rate, daily, during games,” said Marcano.

Marcano also touched on Saturday’s final against Peru.

“We were there to achieve a certain goal, and we achieved that goal,” he said. “I think that’s important, that we preserve our players, to continue during the tournament. We have the Pan Am Cup coming up. It was more strategic, to keep the team healthy.

“Yes, they were winded and were tired, (but) it’s not to say that we totally sat down and just allowed the team to take advantage of us.”

The TT team had a nail-biting 4-3 win, via a penalty shootout, against Paraguay in Friday’s semi-final, after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time. “We did a wonderful job, Aresia Sandy between the post, I think, it was the best that she could have done,” said Marcano. “Brianna (Govia) took it upon herself as a senior, and an experienced player, to seal the win.” Reflecting on his experience in Peru, Marcano said, “Like any tournament. I’ve been around for quite a while. We never competed against Paraguay before, neither Peru, so that would have been a new thing for us as a group.”

He continued, “Where the accommodation was concerned, there was a state-of-the-art facility, two great pitches, the hotel was adequate.

“I felt they tried to keep it safe for all the athletes and officials that were there. The transportation was on point. Where the Peruvian Federation was concerned, I think they did a great job.” Marcano hopes to have the team return to the training field in a week’s time.

“I would like to begin next Thursday, to begin training again, and that would take us to December,” he said.

“The (Pan Am Cup) has been moved forward to the 12th (of January) until the 23rd. We’re looking at five to six practice games, if we could get (them) during that period.”