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Author Topic: Fighting for the Women  (Read 1275 times)

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Offline Tallman

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Fighting for the Women
« on: February 02, 2009, 05:50:49 AM »
Fighting for the Women
By Jamal Shabazz (T&T Review)


The coming of Norwegian World Cup winning Coach Even Pellerud marks the crossing into a new threshold in the history of women’s football in Trinidad & Tobago. Judging from the reaction in certain quarters, it seemed to surprise many that Jamaal Shabazz -this writer- would give up being “The Boss” as technical Director of the Guyana Football Federation to become the assistant Director- and not even for men’s football but the T&T Women’s football programme! What a comedown, they felt.

Some of my friends in the coaching fraternity are angry that I would accept working under “a foreigner”- as they describe Pellerud,   even going so far as to suggest that I am setting a bad example for “ah we boys”.

“Man Shabby, we should have a coaches’ association and get organized and call the shots in T&T football” is a cry that I’ve been hearing every day. Another common theory is that I have “sold out to Jack Warner” and am now in the “bought over” circle.

Well, all those issues are the subject of a whole different discussion which I commit to dealing with in another article. For now I prefer to stick to women’s football and what the arrival of Mr. Pellerud means for female sport in this country.

Women’s football went through an embryo stage where people like Robbie Greenidge, and others too numerous to mention individually, helped to develop the likes of Shirley mae McIntosh, Marlene Riley and Shelly Ann Francis. These pioneers would play exhibition games as curtain raisers to men’s games and even had one or two unofficial tours before they became recognized as a national team. Robbie Greenidge was the first and only coach to take a T&T Women’s team to a second round in CONCACAF level tournament back in 1991 in Haiti when T&T finished third behind USA and Canada.

The mid to late 90s up until this year marked the survival stage of women’s football. I like to call it the period of the settlers. The players and staff made tremendous sacrifices- all for free. It was all about keeping the game alive since women’s football was then the “outside child” of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation.

People like Marlon Charles, Izler Browne,  Ricarda Nelson, Arnold Murphy and Ronald Brereton were working overtime to keep the women’s game alive at national team level while clubs like Vandykes, Ramsingh’s Central  and Real Dimensions were defying all odds to keep the game’s head above water at club level.

This survival stage was also punctuated by the appearance of the stately Dr. Iva Gloudon who brought a 5-year strategic plan to women’s football. So from 1999 until now we have been exporting female footballers to the United States on scholarships. At this survival stage, suddenly, poor people’s “girl children” could get an education using their talents in football. Before the emergence of Dr. Gloudon, there was only Delia de Silva at FIU in Florida.

Dr Gloudon’s strategy was to develop a cadre of females who would be well rounded human beings fully capable of  contributing to the development of both  female sport and society.

The appointments of Jinelle James as Director of Technical Development in CONCACAF and also Manager of the National U-17 women’s team, Ricarda Nelson as a manager of national teams for the last 8 years and Izler Browne as a national women’s team coach prove that the seed Dr. Gloudon planted has started to grow.

Yet it is Keith Look Loy who should be credited with persuading football magnate Jack Warner to make the biggest move for the local women’s game yet. The stage is now set for T&T to move from merely surviving and participating to qualifying and being really competitive in international women’s tournaments.

After the failure of American coaches Randy Waldrup and Butch Lauder to get T&T to qualify for the U17 World Cup despite having more resources than any other staff in the history of women’s football, the duo fell to the normal cliché - to he who much is given much is expected.

After they were found wanting, football magnate Jack Warner then entrusted Look Loy with the responsibility to form a committee to recommend a high level coach that could shape T&T football into this new era.

Look Loy went about the task with such meticulous fervour that one might have been forgiven for thinking he was on the Electoral College, choosing the Republic’s next President.

He collected some of the best resumes in the women’s football business and set about having the committee shortlist the best candidates in some order of priority. His standards had no room for friendship, partisanship and all the other ships that go with selecting coaches in this country. The end result is Even Pellerud, a man who could be considered the Leo Beenhakker of women’s football.

Pellerud’s presence as Head of the T&T Women’s Programme is, to me, an indication that the TTFF is really serious about the path forward for the women’s game.

Therefore, while I would have hoped that we would have developed the pool of talent to go local, I have chosen to put aside this position because of my interest which is to see T&T rise in the women’s game as we are rising in the men’s game. In this regard, I happily relinquish all reservations and make myself available for learning from a master like Pellerud as Anton Cornel learned from Leo Beenhakker. God willing, my apprenticeship will come to an end one day and even if I do not get to cross the river, a son or daughter of the soil will. Our time will come.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline trinbago

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 10:02:14 AM »
If Jamal's statement below for accepting the position is genuine....good move for him...
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Offline Baygo Boy

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 10:25:02 AM »
I have a lot of respect for Shabazz as it relates to his involvement in T&T women's football. He has worked tirelessly and have been getting a lot of unnecessary flack. He kept our women's football alive even when the TTFF didn't feel it necessary to support them. As of now he may be the only T&T coach who has ever openly humbled to a foriegn coach. Nuff respect brother Shabazz - nuff respect.

Offline Deeks

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 11:17:37 AM »
So what about Marlon Charles, the last coach who used to toil for next to nothing. Was he included in the Jack W. new concoction?

Offline elan

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 11:55:37 AM »
What about the girls that they denied the opportunity to get a scholarship? Plus the many they counting that they had nothing to do with that recieved scholarships.

Watch meh this all well and good but this article is just curtains. See that period he talking about there, I was around the Women's team big time. I was even in the intial meetings with Dr, Gloudon with the women's team.

It's great that they moving on, but I hope they restructure the foundation that the women program becomes more stable. There are still people in position who should not be there, but because of connection get position.
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Offline Deeks

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 11:59:12 AM »
Elan,
           people like who,  who should not be there?

Offline elan

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Re: Fighting for the Women
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 12:07:55 PM »
Elan,
           people like who,  who should not be there?

I eh calling names. I just highlighting, cause while I saying they should not be there I salute them for getting themselves in the position that they want. That at least show some determination and desire on their part.
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