Game: México vs. Suriname
Date: Thursday, February 17th
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L.)
Television: Mexico -TUDN
All-time record: This will be the first time on record that México will face off against Suriname.
México begins their quest for the 2023 World Cup with a home game against Suriname at El Volcán, home of Tigres’ men’s and women’s teams. Mónica Vergara has put together a 23 player roster incorporating a good mix of talent from Liga MX Femenil as well as players based in Europe as well as NWSL and NCAA soccer.
The team comes into this match heavy favorites, having put together a series of strong performances over the past year culminating with a 2-1 win over reigning Olympic Gold Medal winners Canada on November 27. They also drew Canada 0-0 three days later. They’ll be facing off against a relatively unknown quantity in Suriname, who prior to two January friendlies against Barbados hadn’t played competitively since Olympic Qualifying back in 2019, losing 10-0 to Haiti and 6-1 to Puerto Rico.
Times have changed however, and Suriname now allows for dual nationals to get Surinamese passports. This means that a lot of Surinamese diaspora, especially from the Netherlands, are now eligible to play for the national team. Suriname has called in five players, including Excelsior Rotterdam youth striker Ravalcheny van Ommeren and PEC Zwolle midfielder Amy Banarsie. The SVB also believes that there will be more eligible to join in time for the April matches, pending paperwork.
In their last outing against Barbados, Suriname started Latifah Moedjijo in goal, although this time around they’ll have Mayra Tjin-A-Koeng from Be Quick ‘28 in the Netherlands Topklasse, the top amateur division. Chayenne Purperhart started at left back, with U17s and U20s regular Dyene Krimbo and captain Hadassa Brandon at center back, and Shania Tjoen-A-Choy at right back. They will also have defender Rowena Ondaan from SSS Klaaswaal in the Topklasse as well. At midfield, they went with S.V. Transvaal’s Cady Chin See Chong and Mirelva Wongsodimedjo as central midfielders with Pamela Ansoe as an attacking midfielder, although this time they’ll have Banarsie and Griffith Vaissaire of SSS Klaaswaal and U17s and U20s midfielder Saveira Gallant had a brace against Barbados in the first match. Cheniva Orna started on the left wing, Andaya Lantveld on the right, and Transvaal’s Shamaira Stekkinger up top. U20s players Dareesha Slijngard and Samanie Loe-a-foe could also be included on Ray Fränkel’s roster.
It’s always tough to judge an opponent like Suriname. While conventional wisdom has México winning easily, they will need to show they’re taking this tournament seriously and could send a message with a heavy win. In order to do that, they can’t afford take Suriname lightly. México has been working toward this goal since 2016 with the announcement of the creation of Liga MX Femenil. Now’s the time to show the world what this team can do.