Trinidad and Tobago’s lone professional women’s footballer, Ahkeela Mollon, is presently contemplating an early retirement from the national team due to internal issues at the management level.
The 30-year-old has had a stressful nine months starting with the disappointment in December 2014 of missing out on the World Cup which resulted in her suffering a panic attack to a scary moment when gunfire among rival gangs almost ended her life as she was caught in the crossfire.
Although football has been her haven in the past, Mollon has been absent from all recent national women’s team training sessions and yesterday shed light on the reasons. She said it stemmed from the “many situations happening around the team.” In an emotional email sent out by the flamboyant right-winger to several officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and some of her fellow national teammates yesterday, Mollon expressed dissatisfaction with the current management style that the Women Warriors have to work under.
Mollon bemoaned lack of payment to players, the inability to take part in major competitions, unavailability of proper training attire and players having to take money out of their own pocket to come to training.
She also questioned why female players were not being informed about local coaching courses, grassroots programmes and other administrative roles that have been made available by the sport’s governing body – roles to which some of the players are deeply interested in furthering their footballing careers after hanging up their boots.
Mollon, who has proudly draped herself in national colours for a period of 17 years, revealed that she is now demotivated and discouraged about playing for T&T. Being the only national female player to have ever been selected to play on the European circuit, Mollon also felt disrespected as a senior player in the squad.
The former Kvarnsveden IK Women (Swedish Division-1) representative however, credited the current exploits of provisional national coach Anthony Creece (sitting in for Randy Waldrum until his return) for sticking with the team through these tough times.
She also called on Waldrum, on his return, to step in and help alleviate the present situation.
The letter further stated: “Coachman, I want to be a part of the team, only God knows how much love I have there, but right now my motivation level for this team is at rock bottom and the persons appointed in certain positions is not helping the situation at all. Maybe when you arrive and you speak to the heads about the seriousness about some of the players’ situations with their jobs and payments.
I will be having no money to come to training. I am sorry.” In conclusion, Mollon indicated that she will continue training with a men’s team at her home in Enterprise, Chaguanas.
“I will keep sharp like I always do,” she added.
“And I say this just in case change comes and I am then recalled to represent my country.
If I am not called upon, then I would have known that I stood for something, and it will be okay with me because 17 years with the red, white and black (I have) memories to burn. More memories thus far than dating, because football has been my long lasting boyfriend.” Responding to the email by Mollon, TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips acknowledged seeing it but noted that it is currently being handled by the team’s managerial staff.
“I just heard about the letter this morning (yesterday). It’s been received and the coaches know about it and at this point in time it’s a matter that’s being handled by the staff and the manager. The coaches and manager are dealing with it,” said Phillips.