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Carolina Morace is out, Jamaal Shabazz is in! TTFA appoints new women’s boss

Trinidad and Tobago National Youth Football Coordinator and Morvant Caledonia United head coach Jamaal Shabazz was today effectively appointed as technical director of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) women’s programme.

Shabazz’s new portfolio appears to mirror that of outgoing Italian coach Carolina Morace as he will serve as head coach of the Women’s National Senior Team and Under-20 Team and also oversee the Under-17 programme.

Photo: Morvant Caledonia United co-founder and technical director Jamaal Shabazz (left) and head coach Rajesh Latchoo—then head and assistant coach respectively—enjoy a good day at the office during the 2013/14 Pro League season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

A TTFA statement said the decision was made today by its Board of Directors.

“Consistent with the contract terms of his engagement with the TTFA (Head of Programmes), the Board of the Association has appointed Mr Jamaal Shabazz to oversee the Women’s programme with immediate effect,” stated the TTFA, “and he will take charge of the Senior Women’s programme from tomorrow as well as the Under-20 Women’s programme.

“Mr Shabazz will also oversee the Under-17 Women’s programme with the assistance of coaches Joanne Daniel and Desiree Serjeant, who were understudies to Miss Morace and Miss Williams. The TTFA will appoint a full-time head coach of the Under-17 Team immediately following the Caribbean First Round of qualifiers to be played in Trinidad in August.”

The TTFA decision draws a line under the tenure of Morace and her team of Nicola Williams, Elisabetta Bavagnoli and Manuela Tesse. Morace tendered her resignation last Friday, claiming that her contract had been “terminated for just cause.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Carolina Morace (right) and captain Tasha St Louis warm up before kick off against Venezuela in international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 29 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Morace, a former Italy international and Canada World Cup coach, had another two years left on her deal with the TTFA but had allegedly gone unpaid for the last three months—supposedly on account of the local football body’s proposed method of payment through a third party, CONCACAF.

The TTFA, which is headed by president David John-Williams, declined comment on the reason for the departure of their much vaunted women’s coaching staff—after just under six months—but claimed that they tried hard to satisfy their former employees.

“No further details will be given at this time since we are under advisement from our attorneys in this regard,” stated the TTFA. “The TTFA, however, wants to go on record and state that every attempt was made (without their co-operation) to resolve whatever issues that may have appeared in the opinion of Miss Morace and Miss Williams that contributed to their departure.”

In their wake, Shabazz has been entrusted with the task of steering Trinidad and Tobago to the France 2019 Women’s Senior World Cup, the France 2018 Women’s Under-20 World Cup and the Colombia 2019 Women’s Under-17 World Cup.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain and attacker Tasha St Louis (left) curls a free kick towards goal during international friendly action against Venezuela at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 29 March 2017.
Venezuela won 3-1.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to reach TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George and Shabazz for comment.

It is uncertain whether the position was offered to anyone else—Shabazz openly campaigned for John-Williams when he contested the post of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president last year—or if the coach will vacate his other two substantial portfolios to lead the women team’s full-time.

The TTFA is not believed to have a functioning technical committee at present after three members, including chairman Dexter Skeene and vice-chairman Dr Alvin Henderson, quit following the appointment of men’s coach Dennis Lawrence. A fourth member, Bertille St Clair, has not been attending meetings for health reasons, which leaves only Jinelle James and Muhammad Isa as active members.

Isa was appointed as technical director on the recommendation of John-Williams while James also holds a TTFA position as women’s team manager.

Latapy-George promised repeatedly to clarify whether the TTFA does indeed have a technical committee but to date has has failed to do so.

Photo: Morvant Caledonia United coach Jamaal Shabazz (left) and TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams chat during a Pro League contest between their two teams at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground on 20 January 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Shabazz, for his part, said he was thrilled to rejoin the women’s programme.

“It’s unbelievable that at this stage in my life, I would be back in the women’s game,” he told the TTFA Media. “Together with the current senior team, we gave our lives for this programme. The opportunity is there for us to complete a journey which we started together in 2000.

“We have a chance to continue to work hard for our country and ensure that this crop finishes their careers on a high note and that women’s football in our country reaches a milestone.”

The 53-year-old Shabazz was head coach of the Women’s National Senior Team between 1998 and 2011 when he stepped down to “make way for a new coach with fresh ideas.”

A Jamaat-al-Muslimeen member, Shabazz was involved in the 1990 insurrection and was once held for 53 days at the Miami Detention Centre after entering the United States with improper travel documents.

However, in matters of football, Shabazz holds a UEFA ‘B’ license and FIFA coach instructor’s license. He steered Caledonia to the Caribbean Championship title in 2012 while, a year earlier, he led Guyana to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semi-final round at the expense of the Soca Warriors.

Photo: Former Caledonia AIA head coach Jamaal Shabazz (left) helps defender Kareem Joseph to his feet while assistant coach Rajesh Latchoo looks on during CONCACAF Champions League action in 2013.
(Courtesy Francisco Estrada/Jam MEDIA)

He worked with several senior members of the current Women’s National Senior Team before, including Maylee Attin-Johnson, Ahkeela Mollon and Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, who all quit the side recently after fall-outs with Morace.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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69 comments

  1. DJW your doing an excellent job don’t study dem just keep employing your people and you’ll win the next election keep your circle small

  2. Is that shabazz who was in d coo with bakar. All u giving dem kinda people big wok he should be in jail dem kill a lot of people and cause pos to burn down least we forget

  3. Didn’t he have this position already ?

  4. Congratulations Jamaal Shabazz……I know you will make a difference ✌

  5. We await the on field performances,and the excuses if they fall short.

  6. Good luck to Mr Shabazz. People this is a crazy world we are living in. The easiest thing to do is be negative, let’s be positive and enjoy the fact that people like shabazz and others are willing to sacrifice and give their lives to football in Trinidad and in essence the future of the nation.

  7. They don’t understand PROFESSIONALISM.SMALL MINDED THINKING.

  8. The coach for the U17 women’s team …. is reportedly la la …. so not only is our administration crap …our coaches are also mediocre ……

  9. They found the women’s team was doing too well! So they have to come in and spoil the show.

  10. These people are professionals once proper arrangements finalcaly and administrative they will not stick nonsense

  11. Any word from the technical committee? Has it been duly reconstituted?

  12. They are becoming just like the West Indies board.. Waste of time

  13. feel like we should just stop this football thing. same shit over and over and over and over

  14. Why did we bring a foreign coach if the Executive feels now we have a local capable of handling all the teams and advising the Technical Director ?

  15. But i thought Shsbazz didn’t want any position. Senior men’s team next. Lawrence beware.

  16. This is what’s called quick turnaround time. The TTFA must be congratulated on finding a successor quickly.

  17. I hope he gets six months pay upfront

  18. I sense a conspiracy. Want to get rid of a coach..dont pay them. Then say coach was not doing work.

    • Scotty Ranking

      What you have said is sad at two levels … Firstly it shows that the TTFA has little true respect for people’s methods, long-term planning and abilities. Secondly, it might be much closer to the truth than we imagine.

  19. In any mature functional democracy this man would be under ah jail. But this being the land of scotch and coconut water…

  20. We seem to be going around in circles and getting no where.

  21. ..Disaster after disaster. Controversy after controversy. Time for a!motion of no confidence in DJW and his executive..

  22. ..Back to the future. So one person is coach of a club side, the senior and U20 national women’s teams, supervises the women’s U17 team, and heads the national youth programme. Maybe TTFA could make a super hero movie about this? Moreover, it is one helluva!statement regarding the Board that sanctioned this nonsense and their belief in local coaches..

  23. Spinning top in mud,T&T soccer going no where fast

  24. None of these teams will be successful if the coaching staff keeps changing so often. Consistency is key to success, everybody knows that.
    The constant changes are a reflection of poor leadership. The suggestions that only some are being fed indicate some degree of real or perceived favouritism within the wider football community.
    I clearly remember the vociferous support that DJW got here during his bid for the presidency. I hope that serves as a cautionary tale for those in the super league.

  25. The old folks have a saying about spinning top in mud..think it may apply here..

  26. Is this real? Method of payment?

  27. But lemme hush eh..we in July

  28. Oh what a tangled web we weave..
    How long we saying there’s a place and it’s not in Guyana..lol

  29. Very soon? How about from tonight?

  30. Very soon no foreign coach will want to work for this country.