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WPL: It’s a tournament not a league; Board members named

The Women’s Premier League is, in fact, an international football tournament.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Women's Team star Kennya Cordner (left) keeps the ball from a Women's Premier League (WPL) defender during a scrimmage match. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Team star Kennya Cordner (left) keeps the ball from a Women’s Premier League (WPL) defender during a scrimmage match.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Kevin Harrison, the advisor to Sport Minister Brent Sancho, said that, eight weeks ago, the Sport Ministry decided not to describe its maiden competition as a league, due to potential complications pointed out by Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

“We were advised by the TTFA that, if it was a league, it would cause problems with transfers and registrations and so on,” Harrison told Wired868. “So it is a tournament.  It is semantics really… Sheldon told us it would be a simpler way of doing things.

“The Champions League is a tournament and not really a league. The CONCACAF Champions League has three teams in a group so that can’t be a league.

“I think that is a good way of comparing it.”

There appears not to be consensus over what the WPL is meant to be, even within its own ranks. On June 7, a WPL release referred the competition as “the league.” The following day, another press release revealed that it was a tournament.

And, on June 10, WPL director Jinelle James admitted that she was not sure.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Khadidra Debesette (left) holds off a WPL player Zaudita Kaza-Amlak (US Virgin Islands) during a scrimmage match. (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Khadidra Debesette (left) holds off a WPL player Zaudita Kaza-Amlak (US Virgin Islands) during a scrimmage match.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)

“I saw that (release describing it as a tournament),” said James. “I can’t say anything more on that. I can confirm at a later time.”

Harrison described the mix-up as semantics. And, although he may have a point, concerns about the viability, coordination and usefulness of the tournament have remained.

After all, Sancho, who has spearheaded the WPL, was only sworn in as a minister in February.

The WPL has three confirmed sponsors at present in the form of Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and the Chancellor Hotel. CAL and the Chancellor Hotel have both reportedly agreed to heavily subsidise air travel and housing for the international players.

Sancho promised to reveal the six franchise holders and sponsors at the WPL draft on Friday, which begins at 3 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium’s VIP room in Port of Spain.

Yesterday, the international women players got their first taste of action in Trinidad. They were trounced 9-2 by the Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Photo: WPL goalkeeper Emily Cota from the US Virgin Islands pulls off a save against the Women Soca Warriors. (Copyright Allan V Crane/SPORTT)
Photo: WPL goalkeeper Emily Cota from the US Virgin Islands pulls off a save against the Women Soca Warriors.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/SPORTT)

“Women Soca Warriors” stand-out Kennya “YaYa” Cordner notched a hattrick while Mariah Shade and Khadidra Debesette scored two each and Ahkeela Mollon and Karyn Forbes also got on the score sheet.

Jamaican players Shakira Duncan and Peta Gaye Soman scored for the guests who were steered by the coaching trio of Derek Arneaud, Karla Aleman and Alastair Ramdoo.

“We’re not disappointed with the final score,” Aleman told the Sport Ministry. “These athletes haven’t played as a group and they came up against a well-drilled national team. This game was a chance for everyone to shake off the rust that comes with lack of match practice.

“But what I saw tonight is very encouraging and I look forward to the Draft to see who I’ll be working with. Judging from the talent I’ve seen tonight, I can assure you that this tournament will be very exciting and a good platform for women’s football in Trinidad and Tobago and the region.”

The international guest players and the local “marquee players” are due to participate in combine screening sessions from 6 pm this evening and tomorrow at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. And the WPL is scheduled to kick off on June 18.

Photo: Women's Premier League (WPL) coach Derek Arneaud (centre) talks to his combined squad, during a scrimmage against the "Women Soca Warriors.) (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Women’s Premier League (WPL) coach Derek Arneaud (centre) talks to his combined squad, during a scrimmage against the “Women Soca Warriors.”
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)

The WPL’s board members are: Sport Ministry Permanent Secretary Richard Oliver, employees Camara David and Kairon Serrette, James, who is also a WOLF (Women’s League of Football) official, and an unnamed representative from the TTFA.

In other news, the Sportt Company also has a functioning board, which is chaired by Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) vice-president Dudnath Ramkeessoon.

The remainder of the board comprises of: Tracey Hackshaw, Reynold Sewdass, Anna-Lee Walcott, Henry Greaves, Raquel Ramkissoon, Nadine Hackett, Chaitram Ramjitsingh, Netram Kowlessar, Sunil Seecharan and Ricardo Lue Shue.

The last SPORTT Company board collapsed after the LifeSport scandal. It was chaired by former national swimmer Sebastien Paddington and included: Reynold Bala, Norris Blanc, Nisa Dass, Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, Sabrenah Khayyam, Matthew Quamina, Annan Ramnanansingh, Kent Samlal, Harnarine Seeram Singh and Milton Siboo.

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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16 comments

  1. Anyone can guess that one potential referee would have brought ‘justice to this league’ if his firm was hired to inaugurate the competition. The referee might have even more experience in organising sporting events that the WPL and the SPoRTT Boards put together. It is amazing to think 2M is being thrown into this and the sponsors involved when the women’s national team could not get a burger and bus fare some months ago. This must be retribution. Say wuh, RIP women’s development, RIP ministry funds and RIP critical thinking and RIP common sense. I guess sports is like a eatin pelau before two bad doubles now, anything goes in and comes out like watery sh.t till it want to go down to the grave.

  2. If I am to be honest Lasana, I would say that this tournament is indeed a waste of time and nothing but a political gimmick. It’s a great idea, and I guess under the circumstances, I can totally understand why Brent is pushing it so hard, because maybe if it comes off, it may still go on when/if he is gone. So maybe his heart is in the right place. It is clear to any human being with common sense however that the approach, if your goal is really women’s football development, is severely off. It is not sustainable and does not develop the women’s game. If anything, what should have happened, is that the WPL should have joined forces with WoLF, in a way that allowed for clubs to feed off each other so that WoLF would be the development league that fed players to the WPL, but is not detached from it. What sense it make, finding near $2M for a league/ competition whatever it is, each year, when you are not developing your talent? In any competition, in order to attract fans and sponsors, you must develop your talent in order for it to be sustainable. It is simply not sustainable for you to fly foreign players here and put them up in a hotel for two months. Oh gosh… i could write a whole article about this. but treally it just comes down to the pervasive trini mentality we have where development is just some grand idea that we constantly skip over and then expect to create viable sporting business out of thin freaking air.

  3. Just by its description, it was always a tournament from day ONE!!!!!! After this being in process for months and ‘thorough planning’ according to Mr. Advisor, the TTFA advised that it should be called a tournament instead??!! No kidding. Alyuh thiefing from me and calling me stupid too? Insulting! I always take comfort in the fact that GOD DON’T SLEEP!

  4. It was always a tournament from day ONE!!!!!!! After the ‘excessive planning’ according to Mr. Advisor, the Tat

  5. and can someone describe to me the difference between WPL and WOLF?

  6. didnt i read the players have arrived?

  7. i glad that in the meantime everyone sitting in d hotel… on Taxpayers money i guess…!?!

  8. This is total BS:

    “We were advised by the TTFA that, if it was a league, it would cause problems with transfers and registrations and so on,” Harrison told Wired868. “So it is a tournament. It is semantics really… Sheldon told us it would be a simpler way of doing things.

    “The Champions League is a tournament and not really a league. The CONCACAF Champions League has three teams in a group so that can’t be a league.

    “I think that is a good way of comparing it.”

    These people playing smart with stupidness again and taking us for fools. The teams in the Champions’ Leagues are all bona-fide teams governed by FIFA regulations etc. To say that we calling this a tournament to avoid having to follow the rules and cavalierly calling it semantics is complete nonsense.

    Lasana – I done with you for the day yes. I have far exceeded my tolerance for assness for the day.

  9. Lasana you’re making this up, right?

  10. Is it a league , is it a tournament, no it’s a leagament!