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WPL’s international players are here; but clubs not finalised

International women football players began pouring into Trinidad this weekend in anticipation of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL), which is the brainchild of Sport Minister Brent Sancho.

Photo: Women's Premier League players (from left) Tynetta McCoy (St Kitts and Nevis), Jessica Adams, Emily Marie Cota, Zaudita Kaza-Amlak (all US Virgin Islands), Shanice Stephenson (Barbados) and, stooping, Alyssa Budhoo (Canada). (Courtesy WPL)
Photo: Women’s Premier League players (from left) Tynetta McCoy (St Kitts and Nevis), Jessica Adams, Emily Marie Cota, Zaudita Kaza-Amlak (all US Virgin Islands), Shanice Stephenson (Barbados) and, stooping, Alyssa Budhoo (Canada).
(Courtesy WPL)

The overseas players, who come from North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Europe, will all be based at the Chancellor Hotel in St Ann’s. But their arrival precedes even the announcement of WPL clubs and coaches.

Sancho insisted that the WPL is going smoothly though.

“We are still finalising details with franchise holders but there have been gentleman’s handshakes,” Sancho told Wired868. “We have had a lot of interest, which has kept the cost of taxpayers to a minimum…

“The coaches are here and the players are here. It is all sorted out.”

The Sport Minister named former Costa Rica national coach Karla Aleman, Police FC coach Richard Hood and US-based coach Derek Arnaud among the WPL’s confirmed coaches so far.

Sancho said the foreign players already here should begin training tomorrow under one of the WPL coaches-in-waiting while he said there were also various “orientation exercises” for them.

Photo: Police FC coach Richard Hood. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Police FC coach Richard Hood.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The WPL will hold its Combine on June 10 and 11, which is essentially a screening session for the competition’s international players and and marquee local players. The draft is carded for June 12.

If there are no confirmed teams or coaches, who selected the 40+ foreign players who will compete in the WPL’s debut season?

“The ones we selected are here after a various of contacts recommended them,” said Sancho. “People like Jamaal Shabazz, Anton Corneal, Jinelle James and even Dennis Lawrence and Sheldon Phillips pointed out some players. And Kendall Walkes helped us conduct the trials for the local players… We reached out to various FAs too…

“It was a huge collaborative effort. I think we got the best that we could have gotten.”

Sancho could not say exactly who was responsible for the selection of players or the composition of the WPL organising committee, which he said he does not sit on.

“I don’t know exactly who made the selection and I can’t remember everyone on the board,” he said. “I know the process rather than names. I know that Jinelle James, Keron Serrette and the Permanent Secretary (Richard Oliver) are there…

“I can’t be on the board. I just get updates from time to time.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. Cordner is expected to be one of the WPL's marquee players. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
Cordner is expected to be one of the WPL’s marquee players.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Wired868 tried, unsuccessfully, to reach Keron Serrette and James for comment.

The Cabinet approved TT$1.7 million for the WPL. Sancho could not say how much was spent so far but he claimed that the Sport Ministry was doing its best to minimise costs.

“The Lady Chancellor hotel is a sponsor and also Caribbean Airlines, so the costs for airlines tickets and accommodation are heavily subsided,” said Sancho. “Remember the franchises will cover a lot of the costs (and) we have had a lot of corporate interest, which has kept the cost of taxpayers to a minimum… We are still calculating (the cost) but we are working within the perimeter of the Cabinet note.

“We are looking at the benefit of having our women players work for two months in a very professional environment. The value of that alone it is hard to put a price on and the girls are very excited about it.”

United States Virgin Islands midfielder Jessica Adams told the Sport Ministry that she was happy to be in Trinidad.

“We’re really excited to be here for the WPL,” said Adams, in a Sport Ministry release. “We’re enjoying the heat and can’t wait to start training and meeting the local girls.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart makes a point during a training session in Sao Paulo. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart makes a point during a training session in Sao Paulo.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

While the overseas women players are certain of their accommodation for the next two months, the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Men’s Team is still awaiting word on funding for pre-Gold Cup training camps.

However, Sancho blamed the “Soca Warriors” problems on the TTFA’s poor budgeting of the TT$9 million provided by the Government and the failure of football president Raymond Tim Kee to raise corporate sponsorship.

“The women’s league has corporate backing and the national football team does not,” said Sancho. “I made it very clear to the TTFA and their coaching staff that we gave them a ($9 million) cabinet note that we are very close to reaching.

“There is only so much we can do as a ministry but we are trying our best to see how we can assist with their current plight. We have done a lot so far and we have to have respect for the other sports who are also under our umbrella and are patiently waiting for their funding.”

Sancho could not say how the Warriors’ Gold Cup budget is almost exhausted if specific figures were set aside for line items like coaches’ salaries and training camps. He promised to give more information soon but suggested that the TTFA might have spent more than anticipated on arrears.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“We paid what they asked us (to pay),” said the Sport Minister. “It is not up to me to keep tabs, that is their budget… We have come very close to using that money.”

Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain Mayor and PNM treasurer, will address the TTFA’s funding issues in a press conference at their Hasely Crawford Stadium headquarters from 3 pm on Monday June 8.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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  1. The board/ organizing members will be the same old crew .

  2. Did the statement list the goals of the former pro- league now titled tournament? Or any board/organizing committee members?

  3. Lasana Liburd , uncle Earl Mango Pierre i see the WPL issue a statement that it is not a proleague but an international tournament comprising national, club and college athletes from T&T the Americas and England like they finally waking up guess we deserve consulting fees!! lol

  4. Well folks its official!! The WPL have to be a hunting league the amount of hounds i see on the fiels it had pot hounds, blood hounds and lots of foreign sh*t hounds!! If that is the big players my word!!! Big respect to the WOLF tho because a game between the top teams definitely would have had more quality and the players were all local!!

  5. Yes. Ministers continue to operate after Parliament is dissolved

  6. welcome to the foreigners…too bad they invited so many of them to be disappointed…but …still…hoping for the best…but what happens when in 8 days, parliament is dissolved…does money still get to be spent?

  7. I wonder if Sancho realises he’s actually expendable now? He serves no purpose to the PP now; there’s no need to ‘neutralize’ Jack.

  8. This is all about the millions of dollars eh and it is no different with respect to Mr 2 pull and his Life Sport program steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  9. Maybe its because the govt can’t really focus on governing as they have other matters distracting them right now.

  10. Hannibal Najjar

    Many of these comments here are very sound especially those that reference our, starting at the wrong end. Such efforts as this WPL SHALL NEVER be worked on premonition, but on solid preparation and planning – punto final; ya; no mas!

  11. All old talk,, this is like instant coffee, if only it was so easy to make good players. This will look good on the Ministers resume but someone else will have to take the blame when it does not work.

  12. Agreed Cindy Howe !! Just the ministers answers remind me of anil answers to lifesport!! No price could be place on the women being in a professional environment!! no price could be place on getting youths off the street!! famaliar?? he do not know the organising committee, anil i did not control the process both was their brain child!! So support but do not be blind remember thats how jack got his start!!

  13. The women are here. Seems the WPL will happen. We should support it and let’s see what happens…

  14. Trevor Bridglalsingh

    Here we go again, great PR but not very sensible, how can you hope to develop football when you are starting at the wrong end?
    I am hearing about using these players for coaching,what is their experience in coaching ? What level will they be coaching g at ? What are the objectives of the coaching program? What is the Coaching plan and philosophy.?
    We see again coaches appointed to national teams because of their name or the old boys network ,again these are appointed to national teams who have had no experience at the lower levels, and are not active in the youth leagues e.g SSFL. The same seems to be happening in th women’s League . The long term effects of poor coaching can be seen in the pro league and this dilutes the whole level of football for the National effort . Coaches who do development work are a breed apart,but then again we continue to go for the flashes and bask in the rare unsustained good performance.

  15. You think Brent Sancho even remembers he once played football for Trinidad? He can’t seem to remember much else.

  16. …With all due respect to the Minister of Sports….this idea of the WPL Needs Much More Thought

  17. …Before this WPL starts..they supposed to have these Women Footballers visiting Schools…Primary and Secondary and talking to students…especially the Females and give Speeches and encouraging them to take up the game and in addition they should be Mandated to Conduct Coaching Sessions….Don’t allow them to be here just to make Money

  18. You telling me!! I almost flip off yes Mr Bowtie stupid man answers almost had me busting marks yes!! Good thing i can not type fast because lasana have to deal with that one!!

  19. …But of Course Gordon Pierre…it is all about showcasing your players and enhancing their skills…at least in the Inaugural League it should be more about the Home-Grown Players…then as the League progresses…you increase the number of Overseas Players…Geeeeeeez Boy…Like Common Sense Ent So Common Anymore

  20. …I don’t know about allyuh…but other than the TTFA that have me Pissed-off by their action (or lack of)…this WPL striking a nerve

  21. ….Ha Ha Ha…Gordon Pierre…we are no longer Trinidad and Tobago…we are…the eat ah food nation

  22. All league through out the world they try to limit foreigners to grow the countries pool in Trinidad a six team league over 40 foreigners not including local foreign base!! smh

  23. …Eko Watts…that might actually end up being the figure…but it can even be much more lol lol

  24. Mark Anthony Scott you done know the scene!! I guess the TTFA done sign off i scratch ur back you scratch mine!! The league was supposed to start on the 12th not an ad nothing!! When the board get named people will see the conection! All proleagues
    i know the players will be going to the media houses to do interviews in trinidad its the bow tied minister!! smh the NBA finals going on who know the name of the new commisioner??

  25. $1.7 million or $7.1 million?

  26. ….I would think that First there would be a proper Cost Savitri Maharaj because that 1.7Million still not sounding right…Second…an Executive…WHO THE MINISTER MUST BE AWARE OF…it is his Brainchild after all…A Structure….Sponsorship…Sustainability….Coaches….Players…Venues…Not Necessarily in that order…But All those Must Be In Place Followed By Advertising to let John and Jane Public Know When and Where and Cost of Admission….WHAT D HELL

  27. I dont think it is Mark. They playing games with each other. One asking for accts, the other saying they not recognising it…steups..

  28. …Why the Rush???…is it that the Goodly Minister is intent on making this his Legacy of Sorts???…He came into Office in February and I can understand he wants to appear to be making a difference…However…Everything takes time…the WPL is a Great Idea…but there are a lot of kinks that need to be ironed-out first

  29. Mark Anthony Scott, no advertising, no structure, nobody knows nothing – sounds like skimming to me

  30. …I am awaiting the response of the TTFA…have they sanctioned this

  31. ….Goodevening good people…Gordon Pierre…Savitri Maharaj…Uncle Earl Mango Pierre…we spoke about this mere weeks ago…how could there be No Advertisement…No word to the Public about a Committee…No Word on Sponsors…I mean…a Blind Man can see that this is being rushed without Proper Planning and Consultation…and If So…Why The Secrecy???…C’mon people…why are we allowing them to give us S$#T and call it Ice Cream

  32. Savitri Maharaj you telling me!! I in shock an all! but do not worry we boi Lasana Liburd will get the whole story to bust!! Right now they swear everybody to secrecy in a professional league!!! Imagine that using tax payers money and want Tim kee to show them everything the heights of hypocricy!! As i tell them is only bathroom business and bedroom business you deal with so, not the peoples business!! Someone tell me thats what the league really about sh** and s**

  33. Lasana during the press conference tomorrow ask Tim Kee when he resigning or when they holding elections please. Tell him we cant wait for them to go

  34. Buss dey throat before dey spend a dime more yes Gordon Pierre. Like FIFA ent enough for them. I don expect this from Sanko nah

  35. Uncle Earl Mango Pierre, Savitri Maharaj i get so vex when i read that story i almost bust them mark one time yes!! This man think we stupid!! He can not remember the board names?? WTF tell we we ulgy do not play we for stupid!! the PS on a professional league board that legal?? but wait just now all will be expose goverment housing and all!!

  36. Another Colour me Orange scheme?

  37. Another Colour me Orange scheme. Gordon Pierre feel free yes cause we tired of this shite

  38. The corrupted UNC government allows that and other madness in our sweet country to occur, so this is no surprise. Them really good yes.

  39. Who allows government spending on a program that hasn’t been finalized? Would we start bringing in backhoes and people to work before a highway or bridge plan is vetted and final??

  40. Brian Icecarnival Jordan the man boosting about cooperate involvement, when the only cooperate involvement is political Shangai, NGC,Flow who getting millions to stop we cable to show government ads this a** think we stupid like these young girls he fooling!! Waiting for them to pass the point of no return first then Lasana Liburd will get the real story of this league!! And government housing!!

  41. Leh meh hush meh mouth eh Them really good yes Gordon Pierre

  42. No coaches, no teams, no official sponsors but players selected and recruited? Off to a great start.

  43. Lasana Liburd you trying to upset me this hour of the night!!! First i will deal with the farce WPL he aint know who on the board after he open a whole office with tax payers money for them? Ask him how much he paying Areaud per month? Man let me stop eh before i use industrial language here yes!! All of a sudden the same women who did not want Hood as national coach choosing him to a be a coach in their mistress pay back league!! When we should be watch them in the world cup on tv!! Stupz!!!!

  44. It strains credulity what we accept as proper administration. If I read this right, sounds like an ill-conceived league, which is not yet birthed is already spending money and having money spent on players, coaches and their expenses?? Who are the other people on the committee/board? What was the cabinet note expenditure based upon when there could not have been any final notion of corporate sponsorship levels? Why would there not have been a press release advising the nation and general footballing public of the people on the committee/board and their mandate, as well as their background/expertise?? Heaven help us and these young women too!!