Mon, Jun


JAMAL SHABAZZJAMAL SHABAZZ has ruled himself out of the running as the next ‘Soca Warriors’ coach but he did express optimism over the appointment of Anton Corneal as Technical Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and their restructuring of the local football scene.

“I will continue to work in the Coaches Education Development programme to benefit the local coaching syndicate for the TTFF, and while still working with the TTFF in this capacity, I am looking forward to continuing my tenure as the head coach of Guyana for the next stage of World Cup 2014 qualifying,” he divulged to Newsday.

Shabazz deemed his portfolio-split as the best of both worlds as he looks to build local football up once again, while eyeing a trip to Brazil with Guyana, who ironically put TT’s World Cup hopes to bed in the 2011 qualifying round.

“Corneal’s appointment does come at a critical juncture but he is an ideal appointment. He is embedded in developmental techniques and that’s the strong point to take us forward. Look at the job he did with getting our past Under-20 boys to the World Cup in Egypt and now watching over their progress as U-23s. Even at the U-17 level, these boys were playing world class teams and tournaments under Corneal’s eye,” lauded Shabaaz.

He did admit that the local football fraternity could not be pleased easily as he demonstrated the ease with which fans were quick to chastise the appointment of Corneal as too hasty.

Shabaaz alluded to the point that when Pfister was appointed, the admirers of the sport said the TTFF took too long and he pondered what needed to be done to please the ire of these supporters.

He admitted that this ardent inconsistency in fan support and backing could be detrimental to the rebuilding of the national team and their vocal support should be more constructive to avoid the sport’s further attrition. “The U-23s were impressive against Finland and with such intensity and good performances, they will make us proud and take us into the future. They are tactically solid and Angus Eve with his staff, did a remarkable job. It’s solid,” exerted the Caledonia AIA boss regarding the recent U-23 outing in Tobago.

Shabazz added in his dissertation that some names he would like to see thrown into the ring to helm senior national coaching duties would be the likes of Dwight Yorke, Dennis Lawrence, Stuart Charles Fevrier, Terry Fenwick and even, former coach, Russell Latapy, as he indicated that while some names may be controversial here, these people had the experience as well as a plethora of knowledge of the local football circuit that could be healthy for positive movement.

On the momentum offered by the recent TTFF coaches symposium, which he co-ordinated, Shabazz concluded, “This is a successful drive into gearing local coaches to perform their duties well. Alvin Corneal and Edgar Vidale have a wealth of information to pass on and the experiences they offer are invaluable. Our coaches must be afforded this expertise so that they are better equipped to move on to victory, domestically and regionally. International expertise is brought here and it’s all beneficial to boosting Trinidad’s football again.”