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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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COACH OF the Women’s Premier League champion team Boom Champions Fuego, Richard Hood, praised the squad for their successful campaign in the inaugural 2015 event.

The Fuego team drew 2-2 with CNGC Rush on Thursday night at the Police Barracks in St James, but the result was enough to see them lift the title, by virtue of a superior goal difference over runners-up Chancellor Angels.

“It feels great,” said Hood, moments after the hard-fought contest. “I think it’s a tremendous achievement for this team. I don’t think we were, by any means, the most talented team in the tournament but the girls worked really hard throughout.

“They did everything that I asked them to do, at least they tried to do it and I think particularly given as we had to play (on Wednesday) night and come back 24 hours and play again, a great achievement,” he added.

As far as the season was concerned, Hood commented, “for the Fuego team, it was a great season, it was a great tournament. Our girls were not the most technical players but they worked hard. When you have a team that everybody is working hard for each other, you can’t ask for more than that.”

In early July, the WPL went on a three-week break due to the absence of a number of national players, who were involved on international duty at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

Asked how he kept the team focused during the lengthy inactive period, Hood responded, “we trained. We tried to improve their fitness levels because, at the beginning of the tournament, their level was very low, particularly the local girls. So we tried to improve their fitness levels and we tried to improve the tactical aspects of their game.”

He continued, “we did some things off the field to keep them away from the boredom. We played a couple of practice games and I think those were very useful.”

The WPL, the brainchild of Sports Minister Brent Sancho, was a hastily arranged competition, which Sancho mentioned was set up to keep the national players active, as well as provide top level competition for the local bunch.

Hood lauded the organisers for staging the games - free of charge - at a number of community grounds, including the Police Barracks, Sangre Grande Recreation Ground, Orange Grove Recreation Ground in Tacarigua, Maracas Recreation Ground in St Joseph, as well as the Palo Seco Recreation Ground.

“One of the things I like about this tournament is the idea of bringing it to a venue like this,” said the Fuego coach. “I think this was a great idea.”

However, if the WPL is to continue in 2016 and beyond, Hood admitted, “what I would love to see improved is the administrative part. The tournament could be well-planned in advance (and) teams would have an opportunity to prepare well.

“So a coach could always know that he is going into a game against whom ever, on a given day, and prepare accordingly,” he ended.

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