It’s really gone beyond a joke now and can only be described as farcical. I know my dear readers you must be thinking of so many things in our beloved Trinidad & Tobago, but I am referring to none other than the state of Trinidad & Tobago’s football.
It was bad enough with the men's squad but the kicks (no pun intended) have now reached our talented women footballers. I remember for the first time a T&T women’s team generating great interest at a packed Hasely Crawford Stadium on December 2, 2014, to witness the intercontinental playoff for the 24th and final place in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup vs Ecuador.
History will show the T&T team lost the two-legged playoff by 1-0 - a second-half stoppage time winner from Monica Quinteros. Although the women lost the game, fans could not have faulted their tremendous effort and things were looking bright for women’s football in T&T.
Unfortunately, as with all football in this country, the women’s game started to get neglected; players started to speak openly to the media about the discontent and lack of respect for their talent and a few of the star players started to take a back seat. T&T was never able to scale the heights that were achieved in 2014.
Fast forward to 2021 and with the Women’s World Cup and Gold Cup qualifiers on the horizon, James Thomas - a Welshman - was appointed in April 2021, and hope was revived. However, Mr Thomas, to use local parlance, ‘ups and gone’ on October 6. That was bad enough as I am not sure what type of contract he had that he could just leave at a minute's notice but let’s leave that crazy business alone.
The comedy show now goes into high gear as one week later, on October 13, Constantine Konstin, the national men’s futsal coach is hired to lead the Soca Princesses. On first thought, I believed the media made a mistake as isn’t futsal indoors? Then, having been convinced ‘Connie’ got the job, I figured he is a well-qualified coach both indoors and outdoors so I was looking forward to seeing what additions and/or changes he would bring to T&T’s women’s game.
All of a sudden, ‘Connie’ just like Thomas, ‘ups and gone’, too. But, this is where it gets rather interesting. One report says after he took one session, the players and women staff were questioning his tactics during drills. It is alleged he told the players that they were controlling the ball badly and they should be controlling the ball with the soles of their feet as they do in futsal. So one and all realised he may not be the man for the job.
What is even more confusing, the report noted that after consultation with ‘Connie’ concerning the demands of the women's international window alongside personal commitments and conflicts that require him to be in the USA at the end of October, he mutually agreed to step down.
So wait? Connie didn't know this before he took up the appointment? The normalisation committee never discussed the schedule with him and let him know what was demanded of him and the time frame? All of a sudden, after one practice session, he realised he has personal commitments?
Isn’t this another comedy show with T&T football? I am so sorry it has reached our women but the good news is, much like Angus Eve with the men's team, I am hoping Kenwyne Jones can motivate the women and give them the confidence to pick themselves up from this sordid experience and move forward.
Jones may not be experienced at the international level but he has played at the highest level and will know what is required to bring some stability and focus to the team and I am sure he can bring the best out of the players. With all the nonsense going on off the field, I wish the team and him well for the two friendly matches against Panama - the first today at 4 pm and on Monday at the same time at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian