Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Justin Latapy-George has confirmed that the recent coaching appointments by the local body were made after recommendations from technical director Muhammad Isa and not the technical committee.
Yesterday, the TTFA announced that Jamaal Shabazz will replace Italian Carolina Morace as the head of the women’s programme and will also serve as head coach of the Women’s National Senior and Under-20 Team and oversee the Under-17 Team—although it subsequently emerged that he could end up with only the Women’s Senior and Under-20 Team jobs.
And, last month, Stuart Charles-Fevrier was appointed as head of the TTFA’s Elite Development Programme with Leonson Lewis and Clyde Leon as assistants.
Fevrier, Lewis and Leon are all current employees at W Connection—which is owned by TTFA president David John-Williams—while Shabazz helped campaign for the current local football president at the last TTFA and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) elections.
The recent hirings have caused consternation within the local football fraternity, with at least two coaches, including former National Under-20 coach Derek King, suggesting that they felt that at present non-Connection coaches were not given a fair chance to hold national portfolios .
King, the current North East Stars head coach, is the last national men’s coach to secure a regional title, having led the Under-20 Team to the 2014 Caribbean Championship crown.
Latapy-George explained that, at least in terms of the aforementioned positions, the recommendations came from the Isa-headed technical department. However, according to the general secretary, the TTFA Board of Directors have agreed on the members to make up a new technical committee and their names are expected to be announced soon.
The current TTFA board of directors comprises David John-Williams (president), Joanne Salazar, Ewing Davis and Allan Warner (vice-presidents), James Toussaint (Central FA), Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties Football Union), Karanjabari Williams (Northern FA), Richard Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA), Joseph Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association), Sharon O’Brien (Women’s League Football), Wayne Cunningham (Eastern FA) and Sam Phillip (TT Pro League).
Latapy-George declined comment on if and when the TTFA intended to respond to 42 questions from Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFOTT) president Selby Browne on the current operations of the football body.
Ironically, the last technical committee collapsed after its recommendation that Fevrier replace Belgian Tom Saintfiet as Soca Warriors head coach was overruled. Instead, the Board opted to give the position to current coach Dennis Lawrence.
Then technical committee chairman Dexter Skeene, vice-chairman Dr Alvin Henderson and member Errol Lovell all resigned before Lawrence was unveiled.
Lawrence subsequently selected Fevrier as his assistant coach and, at present, the former St Lucia international holds three substantial portfolios as National Senior Team assistant coach, W Connection head coach and head of the Elite Youth Development Programme (which, it appears, is to operate as a National Under-13 Team).
Up until this weekend, Shabazz also held two major posts as Trinidad and Tobago National Youth Football Co-ordinator and Morvant Caledonia United head coach.
So far, Shabazz has suggested that he is almost certain to give up his role on the Elite Youth Development Programme although he expects to remain as Morvant Caledonia coach—once he is able to handle the two jobs.