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T&T women split in two continents for Caribbean Cup preparation

The Trinidad and Tobago national women team’s bizarre preparation for the 2014 Caribbean Cup tournament will continue for at least a few days more as the “Soca Princesses” continue training with its squad and staff split between two continents.

Fourteen players and team manager Vernetta Flanders are in Houston where they have prepared under American head coach Randy Waldrum for the past five days. But the remaining 12 players are in Trinidad awaiting United States visas along with the bulk of the technical staff.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) and teenaged striker Anique Walker (centre) are both among the United States-based contingent. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) and teenaged striker Anique Walker (centre) are both among the United States-based contingent.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Assistant coach Marlon Charles, a Chaguanas South Secondary teacher, hopes the team can finally be united by Friday and admitted that, even today, they were still finalising visa submissions.

“The situation was that we had no money (to apply for visas sooner),” Charles told Wired868. “Hopefully by Thursday everybody will be out of here. Hopefully…

“It is a tough situation having the team split right now. But this team has been together for a long time and the players all know each other. So, if we can just get 10 days together, it will probably work out.”

The 2014 Women’s Caribbean Cup kicks off on August 19 in Trinidad and is the first qualifying rung for the Canada 2015 World Cup.

The decision to prepare in the United States for the Trinidad-based tournament was relayed to the women’s technical staff by Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips and is believed to have been influenced by the Houston-based Waldrum.

Phillips, when asked about the players and staff being split into two different continents, described the team’s preparation as “fine.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“Preparation is going fine,” Phillips told Wired868. “We have 17 players in camp and the mood is quite positive. (The) remaining players and staff in T&T are awaiting visas, which are currently being processed by the US embassy.”

However, Charles suggested that the team was just trying to make the best of a bad situation.

“We would have liked to have more time (together) but we can’t do anything about it,” said Charles. “I spoke to Waldrum on Sunday and he is happy with how things are going there. We have a good relationship where the football goes; so that is not an issue…

“This is a situation that you don’t want to be in. But we are in it and we can’t do anything about it.”

The Trinidad and Tobago ladies have their best chance ever to qualify for a FIFA tournament since, with Canada serving as the host nation, CONCACAF was awarded an additional place.

However, in the past two months, Phillips caused a stir as he hired Waldrum without informing then head coach, Charles and sacked Charles by press release before re-hiring him as an assistant while the training team was split into two groups as only half the squad has United States visas.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago women's coach Marlon Charles (background) instructs his team during an international fixture against Chile in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Aug 12, 2010.  Chile won 1-0.  (Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Seyu Tzyy Wei)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago women’s coach Marlon Charles (background) instructs his team during an international fixture against Chile in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Aug 12, 2010.
Chile won 1-0.
(Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Seyu Tzyy Wei)

Trinidad and Tobago will face St Kitts and Nevis on 20 August 2014 in its opening 2014 Caribbean Cup fixture while Martinique and Antigua and Barbuda meet in the other Group B affair

The Caribbean Cup competition kicks off a day earlier with a Group A double header that features Jamaica against Puerto Rica and Haiti against Bermuda.

AboutLasana 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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65 comments

  1. By the way, I know for sure that SPORTT didn’t pay for Tobago trips. And I won’t be surprised if they didn’t pay for referees either.
    Otherwise, I will try to reconcile the figures if I can and get the truth on it. I always encourage skepticism Kester Lendor. Questions are good.
    Once we try to base our doubts on something.

  2. Lasana & Hassan, I don’t wanna seem like a Harford hater but our reality with him @ the helm of the NSL has been this. 14 teams pd $45K last year to play in the league, prize money was $150K, $100K, $50K & $25K leaving the league with an excess of about $260,000.00. Additionally, all teams pd a further $5,000.00 for injury insurance. That’s a further $65,000.00 but guess what NONE of the teams have been able to make any claims for refunds for medical bills as no info was given to anyone on how to recover costs. I’m sure if we do the math and factor in something from Bmobile as title sponsor (why is that info a secret) then maybe we can understand why I have serious reservations when that name is mentioned. He has to questions to answer (about $325K) before the cloud over his head is removed in my estimation that is.

  3. Gentlemen, let us understand too that it is opportunity that makes the crook. Unless we find a saint to put there, there will be need for vigilance because to err is human and to tief is Trinidadian. It’s what Basdeo Panday meant when he said that politics has a morality of its own; Anil Roberts, who quoted Panday in his resignation letter, might have said the same about sports administration if he were honest enough to damn himself. .

  4. true dat…Lasana…..Harford is much better than who is there right now….

  5. The fact that bmobile was title sponsor for the NSL doesn’t mean they were footing the entire operation. It might. But that is rarely the case in local sport.
    The ministry of sport did accuse Harford of wrongdoing. But then I also published a letter from Warner to anil Roberts that asked him to destroy Harford.
    The accusations from Anil did not stand up either.
    That doesn’t mean Harford did nothing wrong. I have no way of knowing for sure.
    Maybe he didn’t do the right thing with bmobile money. But there is no evidence to prove that at the moment.
    All I will say is that he was able to raise funds during his time with the TTFA and we did get accounting for funds. And we are getting neither at the moment.
    So, until there is proof that he fiddled figures, I would say he is better than what is there now.

  6. Lasana be reminded that Tony Harford also ran the NSL and as of today the top 4 teams in last year’s competition have not been paid, even though the league was sponsored by Bmobile and SPORTT pd referees and Tobago trips and the registration fees more than covered prise money. My point being Tony H may not be the best example to use as we still don’t know what was the value of Bmobile’s donation while prize money is unpaid. So yep he was able to raise money for football but was also accused by the former minister of wrong doing with donated funds.

  7. No Prince. They’re hoping to go by Thursday.
    Anthony Sherwood, I think are a lot of our problems are self-inflicted.
    We don’t need geniuses to fix the mess. We just need to stop willfully doing the wrong thing.

  8. The rest of the team reach yet?

  9. Marlon Charles is in Trinidad waiting for a visa too.
    Anthony Sherwood, I assure you it is not true that no other person could raise the money. Anthony Harford raised sponsorship money for several trips at a time when the TTFF was not receiving any money from FIFA or the Ministry of Sport. Harford actually operated in darker times. So I don’t think that holds water for the present executive.
    And the women’s team being split in two is not really a financial issue. It is a management issue masquerading as a financial issue.
    If you have two children and enough money to take both to Harry’s Water Park or to send one to Miami. What would you do?
    It is wrong to assume that once you give clowns money they will magically be transformed into wizards.
    Not that I’m calling the TTFA executive clowns. But I hope you understand the point.

  10. Let coach Marlon Charles coach the team here rather than splitting the team ! This is not scouting for talent or trials for a scholarship. This is a National team preparation for a major tournament. I think they taking this preliminary round for granted. Wayne Caesar

  11. Lasana, You don’t have to call them clowns; you just write the truth as you see it and we the reading public are smart enough – contrary to what S. Fuentes, R.Tim Kee, S Phillips and co. in the TTFA believe – to find the right words.
    But the issue is not calling people names but calling people to account. And the culture, as is ritually demonstrated by the goings-on in the politics, militates against that.

  12. Lol Lasana I am simply an outside observer bro. What I would say from the short time being back is that allot of people who talk T&T football can easily identify all that is wrong with the thing, that said, I tend to be more interested in talking about solutions – specific discussions that pertain to the steps required to get us to that higher level.