"Unprofessional." It's how former national and Presentation College coach Shawn Cooper has described the sudden resignation of Welshman James Thomas as the T&T women’s coach to pick up an offer in the United Kingdom with a club side.
Thomas' resignation came some five months after he was officially appointed following a rigorous recruitment and selection process that took almost the same amount of time he has been in the job ahead of several top local coaches.
Cooper, the only coach to have won national InterCol titles with two schools, said in an interview with Guardian Media Sports yesterday that Thomas was only concerned about boosting his resume to get a better job.
With T&T women set to enter the World Cup Qualifiers close to the end of next month (November), Cooper, a former national women's coach, said: “Clearly, he wasn’t concerned about that, because I can't see any professional coach resigning a job that he was so passionate in taking up because it would have been his first assignment as a head coach, so you know he would have been eager, and it is an international job, but you let go that job for a club job.
"I mean it’s the UK and it’s paying more and whatever, but this is international football we’re talking about, so it shows that he just wanted the title of head coach on his resume so that he could go further and pursue other jobs.
"He wasn’t really concerned about T&T football. If he was, as he said before, he would not have left the job at this time. Any coach would know that one month before a tournament is a very crucial time.
"The only reason you would leave a job in a month’s time is probably because you weren’t paid or you were disgruntled with the association.”
The T&T women’s team has been drawn in Group F, which also includes Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos Islands. They are scheduled to open against the Nicaraguans.
But with assistant coach Charlie Mitchell, who is also from Wales, set to take over until a new head coach is sought after, the team will have very little time to prepare.
The parent body, T&T Football Association which is being managed by a Normalisation Committee led by Robert Hadad, will have to decide whether it wants to recruit an international coach or revert to the local coaches.
According to Cooper, who is also a former national boys' Under-17 coach: “They thought none of our coaches was qualified enough to take the job, so I can’t see them now going back to the same set of coaches to ask them to be a head coach.
"If you weren’t good enough to be an assistant coach before, how on earth you can be good enough to be a head coach?
"You know, we keep doing our local coaches that because we feel that it is our country and we would like to serve, but you keep disrespecting the coaches. So, I am waiting and holding my breath to see which one of them now will take up the mantle as the head coach.”
SOURCE: T&T Guardian