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Costa Rica tour cancelled; T&T women miss out on Olympic warm-ups

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team again look set be sent to battle with minimum preparation and no warm-up international games, as a pre-Olympic qualifiers training camp appeared to have been scrapped yesterday.

The “Women Warriors” were supposed to travel to Costa Rica for friendly internationals on January 25 and 27 before then flying to Houston for a pre-tournament camp.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players (from left) Ahkeela Mollon, Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner try to close down Costa Rica playmaker and captain Shirley Cruz during the 2014 Women's CONCACAF Championship semifinal. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players (from left) Ahkeela Mollon, Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner try to close down Costa Rica playmaker and captain Shirley Cruz during the 2014 Women’s CONCACAF Championship semifinal.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Trinidad and Tobago’s opening Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier is on February 11 against Guatemala while they are also scheduled to play Canada and Guyana on February 14 and 16 respectively.

The two top nations advance to the semifinal round with only the finalists advancing to the 2016 Olympics.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), which is headed by new president David John Williams, controversially changed coaches two weeks ago, as American Randy Waldrum was replaced by local policeman Richard Hood.

But it has proven to be an anticlimactic experience so far for Hood, who steered Fuego to the inaugural 2015 Women’s Premier League (WPL) crown last year and is also head coach of TT Pro League club, Police FC.

One squad member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Women Warriors have no idea if they will go to Costa Rica or whether there will be a pre-tournament camp in Houston at all.

How were Trinidad and Tobago’s national women footballers coping with the uncertainty?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women's Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on 2 December 2014 in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women’s Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on 2 December 2014 in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“They are accustomed to this by now,” said the source.

Wired868 understands that the team’s woes are linked to financial cutbacks from the Ministry of Sport. But neither TTFA president David John Williams, women’s team manager Ricarda Nelson or a Sport Ministry representative could be reached to confirm this.

Hood, during an interview on Friday January 22, said he was forced to call up four Under-17 players to make up numbers for practice sessions, as roughly half the team is based overseas.

There are 15 senior players in camp at present and were to be joined in Costa Rica by the United States-based duo of Kayla Taylor and Karyn Forbes and Mariah Shade, who recently signed for a second division club in France.

Taylor, who starred for the Petrotrin Oilers in the WPL and represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2010 Under-17 World Cup, would have made her senior international debut in Costa Rica.

Photo: Petrotrin Oilers striker Kayla Taylor (centre) takes on the Wave defence during 2015 WPL action at Palo Seco. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Petrotrin Oilers striker Kayla Taylor (centre) takes on the Wave defence during 2015 WPL action at Palo Seco.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Last Friday, Hood spelt out the value of the Central American adventure.

“I will get to see some of the players I don’t know too well and basically see if they are capable of playing international football at that level,” Hood told Wired868. “Following the Costa Rica game, we will be making a final cut for the Houston leg. So this is a final opportunity for the girls to show what they can do.”

Hood, who will alternate between his roles as Women Warriors and Police FC coach, has accepted the promise of a stipend by the TTFA for his work.

He said that he was humbled and excited about his international post but also apprehensive.

“I feel humbled and proud and excited and apprehensive as well,” said Hood. “It is a major challenge from the point of view that our preparation is not the best compared to the bigger nations that we will be facing.

“We have to bring these girls up to an international standard in a very short space of time. And we have some girls coming back who have not been involved at that level for some time and we have some new players coming in…

“I have my work cut out for me but I am looking forward to it… We are going to give it our best shot.”

Photo: Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Hood’s job and the Women Warriors’ chance of progressing appear to have gotten harder still, as the Trinidad and Tobago team look set to enter a major international tournament without any dress rehearsals or time together.

There is no word yet on how the Costa Rica Football Federation has taken the no-show of their Trinidad and Tobago guests.

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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44 comments

  1. yuh think?…. Waldrum is Houston Dash head coach…. that was a “hook up” camp…. the intangibles that short sighted idiots that make decisions don’t take into consideration when making plans for the future….

  2. now the national program as it stands would go to crap under DJW dat snake have nutten but his own agenda on his mind……but to square one…………..sign

  3. Guyana Ladies also unable to arrange any pre-tournament games so its all equal at this stage lol. The CFU teams really shooting themselves in the foot here.

    • Smh. Advantage to Guatemala and Canada then.

    • I wouldn’t say advantage to Guatemala by any stretch. Canada definitely has an advantage though as they have been in a live-in camp since early January. Guatemala just opened their camp on the 25th so by all intensive purposes they are behind us. Guyana had a long weekend camp up in Toronto in early January and are trying through their corporate sector to organize a 2nd camp soon however no announcements yet. Even though we are not in a live-in camp anymore we are still training daily and am sure everyone is keeping up on their fitness on their own. Proper nutrition a key factor and a big part of the training process is an issue for some players however at least we are not sitting at home doing nothing. The cancellation of the Costa Rican trip is disappointing however the girls will do their best with the cards they are dealt as they always do. 🙁

    • The thing Mike King is that Guatemala is training with their entire squad.
      Hood hasn’t seen half his team yet. So I can’t say our real preparation begins until he gets his full squad together.

    • Lasana Liburd , my bad 🙁 I keep forgetting that more than a few of our key players are away at school in the States. Lets hope to god that everyone of them is brought back ( as their schooling schedule permits) to strengthen our squad. Due to the most recent budgetary constraints put forth to the squad I don’t have a warm fuzzy that this will be the case though however it is cheaper to fly them directly from their school in the States just before Concacaf. (not the most ideal situation however its been done many times in the past) However I do remember reading that in one of the many copious amounts of recent articles written that DJW only wanted to go with players who can commit to camp in Trinidad. Either way the clock is ticking.

  4. I think Richard Hood is a good coach though. And it is sad that he is put in a position that would not reflect that when the tournament kicks off.
    Of course, it is even worse for the Women Warriors who are continually treated in this appalling manner.

  5. I note too that one of the issues with Randy Waldrum was he was a part-time national coach and had to juggle his T&T duties with his role at Houston Dash.
    But Richard Hood is also part-time as he remains Police FC coach.
    How can anyone be anything BUT part-time when there is no salary for the job?

  6. Also, it is the women’s pre season time in US…. so more than likely he would have put then through the same paces with his club team… We may not have been tactically ready but for sure he would have had them fit enough to play…

  7. And that’s that. End of this incarnation of our women’s team. Today is January 26th and we prepping for a tournament in 15 days. That camp off too because it was Waldrum pushing for it in the first place, so he probably had the links on the Houston end.

  8. ..Same shite. “Like deja vu all over again”..

  9. There was late scrambling for visas last week Chabeth. But that wasn’t what scuppered things based on my information.

  10. If the recession is causing the Ministry of Sport to cut back its funding, then the TTFA February publication of previous years audits could have little impact on the corporate sector willingness for sponsorship as they may claim belt tightening. The prospectus looks dire for our men, women and youth football and other sports. I am really feeling the loss to Haiti in Panama again.
    Hopefully, the GOTT and the corporate sector will realize that a recession is EXACTLY the time to invest in the players of national sport teams. Sports brings people together, sports makes people feel as if they belong; during a recession when people are isolated and tightening their belt our national teams success can bring the nation together. I can only hope the GOTT and CEO’s recognize its value.

  11. This is ridiculous! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

  12. Costa Rican football website says US visas were also given as a reason btw. If that’s true, I hope they sort of the US visa issue in time for the competition in the US. ?
    Wonder how this late cancellation will affect the ability to secure friendlies for the women in the future…

  13. Coach hasn’t seen some of his players in battle and might be getting some players just two days before opening game?
    Good luck to Richard Hood. I do like him as a coach btw. His Police team plays good football.

    • but sana, didnt you report that he had an unsuccessful stint as the women’s coach before? coaching men and women are two different animals and coaching a professional club team (with guys/girls), even in pro league, you see EVERYDAY vs coming up with tactics and implementing game plan with a squad you see for two or 3 days before (trini style) is TOTALLY different.

    • With a successful predecessor terminated in acrimonious manner, now forced to deliver without required resources and preparation we may need Robin Hood not Richard Hood.

    • His police team playing good football in the TT Pro league is like boasting he won an ugly man contest.

    • Hahaha. He won the 2015 Women’s Premier League last year Ian. And he worked with one or two players in the WPL.
      We spoke about his failure the last time and I will release more from that interview. But he said he has learned as a coach since then.

    • fair enough…. not his fault they put him in this situation, but all blame will fall on him for the lack of success that has been predetermined based on out continued inability to take the women’s game seriously…

  14. Pressure, these lack of practice games now makes the game vs Guyana ladies that has lots of north america/european born players more dangerous than might have been expected

  15. Say a prayer for sport with this recession… It’s not confirmed yet that the cancellation is due to a slash in funding from the Gov’t.
    But this is very worrying still.