Former Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana international senior team coach Jamaal Shabazz suggested today that the “Soca Warriors” might have outgrown their administrators and called on the “TTFA leadership” to either improve quickly or resign.
The men’s senior team slipped five places to 54th spot in the latest FIFA international rankings but remains fourth in CONCACAF and first in the Caribbean while the women’s team is 90 minutes away from the Canada 2015 Women’s Cup.
But the Caledonia AIA coach, who was appointed to the CONCACAF Technical Study Group for the CAC Games men’s football tournament in Vera Cruz, Mexico, suggested that the TTFA, headed by president Raymond Tim Kee, would not place anywhere near as high if their effectiveness was gauged.
“It is clear that our play on the field has now gone past the level of administration and governance that the current TTFA leadership is providing,” said Shabazz, “and this is in both men and women’s football. So is either they up their game and step up, or they step down.
“If they want to do neither and we as a football fraternity allow another dynasty to be formed, them we are to blame.”
Shabazz complimented head coach Stephen Hart for leading the Warriors to the Caribbean Cup final this month where they lost on penalties to host team Jamaica but booked their return to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“I congratulate coach Hart and the boys,” said Shabazz. “No shame in a penalty loss and the way he rotated the players throughout the tournament is something our coaches can emulate.
“The challenge is us getting it right at the administrative level for coach Hart and company to get the resources to compete with the likes of Costa Rica, Mexico and USA. In the past administrators have fired coaches for non performance and brought in people from Europe and South America.”
Shabazz, who steered Trinidad and Tobago to the 2013 Gold Cup as co-head coach with Hutson “Barber” Charles and took Guyana to the CONCACAF semi-final of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, is happy for the chance to study the game in Mexico at present.
“This appointment comes at a time when I am not working with any national team and gives me a great opportunity as a student of the game, to keep in touch with football at the highest levels in the region,” said Shabazz, of his CONCACAF technical stint. “Our job is to analyze the teams in games but we also have to interview the coaches and managers as part of the process.
“So it is also a tremendous learning experience when you listen to the coaches from Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba and these other countries talk about key aspects of their preparation and how they rose above some the challenges they encountered.
“Then when you observe the training you can make comparisons between the Latin American teams and the Caribbean teams.”
Trinidad and Tobago did not send a men’s team to the CAC Games and Shabazz thinks it was an opportunity lost.
“These players are going to form the next Olympic teams of the various countries in 2016 and the pool for the 2022 and even 2018 World Cups,” said Shabazz. “It’s vital that we analyze what we doing right in CONCACAF, the emerging trends and what technical areas we need to strengthen as a Confederation.
“The recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil, proved CONCACAF has become competitive with countries like Costa Rica, USA and Mexico doing very well.”
In Pro League action this week, Caledonia AIA suffered another bump as the “Eastern Stallions” were held 1-1 by St Ann’s Rangers while Police FC and North East Stars also played to a goalless draw.
Central FC returned to the top of the table with a 2-1 win over Defence Force while defending champion club W Connection whipped Point Fortin Civic 3-0 to move into fourth place.