Someone in Turkey must certainly be interested in finding out where Trinidad and Tobago is located, following the exploits of Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, the former T&T Women Warriors international and Fenerbahçe striker.
A standout of the local football landscape, Cordner is Trinidad and Tobago’s most travelled women’s player, having plied her trade in Paraguay, Australia, Sweden, Norway, United States and now Turkey.
Cordner is no stranger in the Caribbean. In 2021, she was named Women’s Footballer of the Year by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and was also short-listed among 10 nominees by CONCACAF for its 2021 Best XI Women’s Forwards award.
Cordner grew up in Speyside, Tobago, where she attended Signal Hill Secondary Comprehensive where she got introduced to football. A former national youth team star, Cordner made her senior team debut in 2006 and has over 50 senior caps for T&T. Cordner last played for T&T last November 30, a 1-1 draw with the Dominican Republic, and netted her last goal while sporting the T&T kit last October 25, in a 1-1 draw against Panama.
After enthusiastically returning to the women’s national set-up late last year, Cordner has not played for the national team since her close friend and teammate Maylee Attin-Johnson was dropped by new head-coach Kenwyne Jones, the former T&T skipper.
In January, Jones confirmed the exit of 35-year-old former captain and veteran midfielder Attin-Johnson, stating that he had made a coaching decision. “We do thank her for her will, her commitment, but at this point in time we are going to go in a different direction,” Jones had stated.
Also asked to explain Cordner’s absence during a training camp ahead of the start of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign, Jones hinted that the decision might have been that of the player. Jones has maintained that position on several occasions.
“Nothing was done to Miss Cordner,” Jones stated. “We do wish her well. I hope that she has all success in the future, but we have to continue,” he added.
Despite her issues with country, Cordner is having her most prolific club season overseas since joining Fenerbahçe, one of the new teams competing in the 2021-22 season of the newly-formed Turkish Women’s Football Super League.
A club with a rich history in Turkey, Fenerbahçe only ventured into women’s football this season and immediately indicated their ambition when signing Cordner, a player coming off three seasons in Norway with current champions Il Sandviken.
Following a superb first season where she was top-scorer in Norway’s top flight, an injury-hit two seasons followed. By last October, her influence with Il Sandviken had started to wane, as evidenced by her being fit yet not regularly being included in the starting line-up towards the conclusion of their 2020-2021 league championship-winning season.
The time was right for a move. Competing in a new country, with a team new to women’s football, Cordner has had a great season. She has scored 32 goals from 22 matches, to end as top-scorer at the conclusion of the regular season. And she has also scored two playoff goals.
With as many as 16 clubs exploring women’s football in Turkey for the first time, the group stage proved to be fodder for Fenerbahçe, which ran up scores as high as 10-0, led by goals from Cordner, who netted six hat-tricks and two beaver-tricks. Along the way, Cordner’s 34 goals to date has surpassed the 33 of Romanian Cosmina Dusa for Konak Belediyespor during the 2014-2015 season.
The Turkish Women’s Super-Liga, formerly the First Women’s Football, is the top-level women’s league of Turkey. In the 2021–22 season, two groups of 12 teams contested a double round-robin and finals to decide a champion club, which qualifies for a spot in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The 2021-2022 champions will be determined on June 12, when the final will be played.
Fenerbahçe ended the regular season on top of the 12-team Group A table on 58 points with 19 victories from 22 matches, a point clear of defending Besiktas, the defending champions which had been to all of the last four finals, winning two of them. The top four teams of each of the two groups advanced to the quarter-final playoffs, from which the top four teams in the country advanced to the semi-final.
In the first-leg match of second semi-final match, Group B winners ALG Spor defeated Group A runners-up Besiktas 2-0 on the road, while Group A winners Fenerbahçe fell 1-0 to Group B runners-up Fatih Karagümrük in the first semi-final of the playoffs to decide the 2022 Super Liga champions.
Fenerbahçe and Cordner will have to make use of home advantage in the semi-final second leg on Sunday if they are to secure the victory they need to advance to the final. The way she is shining at the moment, don’t doubt Cordner to have a starring moment.
SOURCE: T&T Express