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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.

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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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.

  13. Did Coach Marlon make the trip ? Don’t be surprised that Coach Waldrum doesn’t make the tournament either and communicates via a cellphone or Skype to them in stadium. I’ll be there to see.

  14. I personally do not know anything about Waldrum other than he coached Notre Dame which is an excellent college program. The team being split in two is certainly not ideal, that’s indisputable. That said, this really comes down to a lack of funding, and, my position is that I do not believe that any of the people you’ve mentioned have the ability to generate the type of sponsorship needed to alleviate the football financial crisis at hand. Until Mr.Daniels (the $34 million dollar man) and his other power broker colleagues get involved – financially, then the saga continues…

  15. Life sport take all d money…smfh

  16. Clearly, our players will NOT get the required attention because this US based coach has other coaching responsibilities at the moment. If we expect improved performance after this type of arrangement we are the dumbest football aficionados on the planet. It’s probably better that the players stayed home and we use the coaches we have in T&T. The saved funds could have been used to pay the coaches and provide stipends for the footballers among other things.

  17. So Anthony Sherwood, is that a proper reason to split the team in two and go through all this nonsense though?
    Better to have him coach 13 players than none at all even if it breaks up the team?
    It can only be a sign of how poorly they rate local coaches. Or how adamant Phillips is to work with the coaches he and his family know in North America.
    I’ve no problem hiring the best possible coaches. But not at the expense of the team’s preparation.
    And they find money to send 14 players as a matter of priority. But no youth coaches receiving stipends.
    And let’s see what happens when the other youth teams need to travel for actual competition.

  18. I’ve told Big L this privately & its worth repeating it here. Its funny and amazing how the express, guardian, newsday, tv6, cnc sports/football journalist has never reported any bad news about the TTFA under Tim Kee/Sheldon Phillips. Unless it becomes obvious.

    Sometimes I wonder if Phillips under-estimates the reach wired868 has in the TT football fraternity. Clearly a lot of important people in TT football and players (past & present) regularly read this site, thus they are looking very bad in the eyes off the relevant people at least.

    He would be unwise to take for granted that the average papers buying football fan on the street not seeing these bad TTFA stories, but the press releases sent by S Fuentes, that the newspapers/TV reports verbatim, is presenting a positive image of the federation.

  19. Waldrum is coaching the team for free, he is unable to come to T&T because he is also coaching a women’s team in Houston which is his full time job…

  20. Lasana, I have now just got the time to read all these comments. I really would like to find out what the rest of the executive are saying. Do they have meetings?? If there is no comment/opinion coming from these persons, then they are in agreement with all that is taking place, or are we back to square one?? One other comment, for all the persons who are condemning the decision for the womens team, I would love to hear their suggestions. Lasana, I agree with yours, all or none at all!!!

  21. Seems like administrators in this country does whatever makes no sense. Like they train them for this, steupse. What ever happen to logical thinking ?

  22. Dear Sheldon, if you, the president, one or two executive members are going to a conference let’s say in Zurich. If the other executive members on the traveling team get there before you and the president, with one wearing a blazer and the other wearing a ttfa tie, how would they look in front of the world? How would you and the president look? Furthermore, how would you feel if the conference Started without you? How would you deal with the idea of not being able to participate; to put your best foot forward to see if you could be invited to attend future events? If you aren’t able to answer, that’s ok, please make every effort to show that our young women are treated with respect and dignity. They are not grade c livestock.

  23. This Sheldon Phillips needs to go asap, he’s worse than Tim Kee with his responses. This Sheldon guy is amazing…amazing !

  24. Clarify something please. Is it that the girls who travelled are paying for their own plane tickets accommodation etc ? Mr. WALDRUM couldn’t travel to Trinidad or he tied up with his team in the US ?

  25. Lasana, Surely you jest? I would have thought that the easy answer to Anthony’s question is “Get Mr Austin Jack Warner to account for all the 2006 World Cup money he collected by pursuing him in court.” Remember that only HALF of the estimated $200 million is owed to the players. A solid financial base would buy time for self-respecting administrators of the sort you describe to set up workable self-sustaining structures without needing to go cap in hand to would-be “sponsors.”
    See where that has got the PP Government?

  26. Dotishness, Juliet? What restraint! I can think of several more accurate nouns but I suppose such language even in today’s anything-goes world is unbecoming of a lady.

  27. The worst part is that we expect these teams to perform on par with teams that have been together training all over the world as a unit for four years in some cases. This is how our national athletes and staff are treated. When we get serious, then we will get results. People do not begin to understand the sacrifices made by our national teams.

  28. Dear mr. Live, what is the purpose of traveling to America when you don’t have much money in the kitty? Are the weather conditions in that camp going to be similar to where the tournament is actually played? Would the surface be the same? Would it have made sense for our princesses to play team/s from the countries that we are going to face? I am stupid to this! Please answer my questions soon? Please let Sheldon know that he has the support. He just has to say when and where.

  29. I won’t go as far as saying the Pro League is successful. But Dexter Skeene raises the money to keep it going year after year and I think he is more respected in football than Tim Kee. And he doesn’t have the same baggage.
    That is an excellent point Kester Lendor.

  30. I am again making the point that some of the same high handed decisions that Jack Warner was accused of are recurring now.

  31. Lasana Tim Kee is at the top of his game in corporate trinidad so he is ‘supposed’ to be an excellent President. My view is that any/all positions in the FA should be advertised and the best candidates selected. Case in point Leo B and Randy Waldrum were hired recently but who interviewed them for the positions. How do we know that we got the best people for the job?

  32. Like yuh extend the list because I didn’t see the other names – so Dexter running the Pro League and I suppose some may say it’s a successful entity, Colin Murray was a candidate for the TTFA Presidency but I believe he withdrew without too much of an explanation…

  33. Anthony Sherwood, international teams that were quarter finalists in their confederation and have fully professional squads don’t go around playing other teams for free.

  34. I know two of the men on that list and all it would take is to contact them and see if they would really be interested in making a contribution – Marlon was an old teammate and Brath was once our manager. Ah will get back to you with ah report 🙂

  35. And that is not counting some of younger contenders like the recent past players or those who have shown expertise in fields I don’t cover.
    David O’Brien too btw.

  36. Tim Kee doesn’t have a full time post. The person who takes his job just has to hire the right people, not talk nonsense and be vaguely inspiring. Tim Kee fails in all areas.
    Phillips might not be drawing a salary. But I don’t believe his salary is the only remuneration he gets from his involvement with football.
    So I disagree that there is no money in football or that the person who takes over must work for free.
    I can’t draw up a short list really. I know a few people around football. But there are surely much more who can do a job.
    From the top of my head, I think Marlon Morris, Colin Prevatt, Richard Braithwaite, Clayton Morris, Iva Gloudon, Mary Siu Butt, Dexter Skeene, Colin Murray…

  37. So lets devise a list then of potential candidates…first thing to consider is whether or not these men with great managerial experience are willing to work for free – Tim Key doesn’t get a salary from what I understand, and, Sheldon apparently has not been paid for quite some time according to a recent article. Which of these potential candidates here in Trinidad or abroad would be willing to offer their services under these circumstances?

  38. Although I have to say we do sub up to take those who can’t afford with us. At this point we are so few that it doesn’t come in to play but I get your point.

  39. Anyone without baggage and some managerial experience would be worth a shot. And some respect for the sport and athletes.

  40. Good question? Who wants the job? Remember there was a group of former players interested in running at one time maybe the time is now to begin their campaign……..

  41. Who do you suggest? And more importantly, would they even be interested in the job?

  42. yuh read my mind Lasana…..well put…it could not have been said any better

  43. And in a situation like that Juliet, the players who will get the exposure are those who can afford the plane tickets and time off.
    It is good that you keep the sport alive there. But you miss out on the talented boys like Dwight Yorke who could not pay his own way at that age.

  44. Get administrators that the public and private sector is willing to work with for starters.
    Whatever the intentions of the current executive, they clearly do not have the respect necessary to do their job. And hundreds of sportsmen are struggling because of it.

  45. Lasana what’s ur suggestion as to how the association can go about raising the necessary funds required to alleviate the apparent crisis enveloping T&T football?

  46. I agree to a point. But try representing a country like Peru on a national cricket team. But yuh own ticket and tek up yuh bed and walk!

  47. It is sad to see sportsmen and women pay the price for bad administrators

  48. A team should travel together or not at all. Some of the girls are disadvantaged now as they aren’t getting a chance to stake a claim to starting positions, the team can’t play 11 a side in training and there will be other practice issues and anxiety…
    Apart from the obvious that the girls must think representing the national team is a bad joke.

  49. Lasana about 10 players did not make the camp.I guess the rest of the team went in hope of the others making it eventually but so far it did not happen …the players who made it just have to make the best of it.

  50. Juliet, the entire team was training in Trinidad and was due to travel to Houston on July 10 for a month long camp, which didn’t happen.
    Some players had visas and some didn’t. So, when the TTFA got money for plane tickets, they decided to send those with visas to the US and keep the others here and that happened on July 29 and 30.
    So, rather than keep the team together, the TTFA decided that it was better that half the team trained with its new US coach than none at all.

  51. I don’t understand. Is it that the part of the team that is in the States were already there before the others (based there maybe) and it don’t make sense for them to fly back and then fly back again?

  52. The common sense is strong with this one…

  53. Lasana Liburd I’m surprised Sheldon Phillips is still answering your calls ha

  54. Acccording to Mrs Gump, the TTFA is like a box of chocolates…

  55. Now, if that is not the most idiotic decision ever made… I am clearly lost here.

  56. These people can’t be serious