Home / Volley / Global Football / Maylee, Kennya and Mollon pull out, as fiery Morace starts tenure without T&T stars

Maylee, Kennya and Mollon pull out, as fiery Morace starts tenure without T&T stars

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team looks set to start life under Italian coach Carolina Morace without three of their most gifted attacking players, after former captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner were both suspended following issues with the national head coach over the weekend.

Attin-Johnson and Cordner allegedly had separate problems during training on Saturday and withdrew from the team. They were subsequently cut from the squad which entered a residential camp yesterday while their contracts from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) were suspended.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Attin-Johnson and Cordner declined comment while Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to reach team manager Jinelle James, who signed the suspension letters. A TTFA source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that Morace accused the pair of disrespecting her. Both players deny disrespecting the coach.

Attin-Johnson and Cordner follow winger Ahkeela Mollon out of the team, after the former Europe-based attacker quit weeks ago. In each case, the fall-outs seemed to stem from the players’ issue with Morace’s renowned abrasive management style.

James’ letter to Cordner suggested that the attacker felt she was not receiving appropriate care for a hamstring injury and also took issue with what she allegedly deemed to be an attack on her by the coach.

Morace, according to James’ retelling of Corner’s complaint, told the team that “if you feel you are too good to be here and too strong to stay in this team, then it is not your place: you have to put your individual needs aside to serve the team.”

The immediate implication of the fall-out is that Attin-Johnson and Cordner will not receive player contracts from the TTFA until further notice.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the 2015 FIFA Play Off in Quito. (Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the 2015 FIFA Play Off in Quito.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)

TTFA president David John-Williams promised contracts for the women’s players, which will allow Morace to keep the Women Soca Warriors together in constant training for 2017.

As proposed Tier One players, Attin-Johnson and Cordner are believed to have been in line for a package of roughly TT$8,000 per month.

The teething problems between Morace and her new squad mean the Women Warriors will miss some star quality when they face Venezuela at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 26 and 29 March.

The 31-year-old Mollon, a lightning-quick winger and fine crosser of the ball when on song, played professionally in Sweden for four years and was a key component of the national team that got within one result of the 2015 Canada World Cup.

The 30-year-old Attin-Johnson captained her country for the last World Cup qualifying campaign and is a clever, composed midfield organiser while Cordner, a three-time women’s Player of the Year, is a sound technical player and explosive dribbler who has played professionally in the United States.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (centre) whips in a cross during their 2015 Pan Am contest with Argentina. The Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina teams played to a 2-2 draw. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (centre) whips in a cross during their 2015 Pan Am contest with Argentina.
The Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina teams played to a 2-2 draw.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Morace is no slouch either. An international player at the tender age of 14, the ex-Italy Women’s National Senior Team forward scored 105 goals in 157 appearances for her country while she holds a UEFA Pro License and works as a FIFA ambassador.

As Canada head coach, she steered the women from 11th to sixth place in two and a half years. However, after losing star player and captain Christine Sinclair to injury, Canada lost all three World Cup group matches to France, Germany and Nigeria and finished bottom of their group.

There were mixed reviews of Morace’s time in North America.

“A number of players said it felt like prison,” ex-Canada international Kara Lang told the Toronto Sun, two years ago. “[…] She tried to change the style completely. We did need to learn a more technical style of play. But I think she asked players to turn their back on what makes us Canadian—the fight that puts fear in other teams.

“[…] It was hard because the team wanted to buy in. We all got on board, but it didn’t work… (Morace) didn’t understand the culture and she tried to force her own culture on the team.”

Photo: Former Canada coach Carolina Morace during the 2011 Women's World Cup. (Copyright Zimbio)
Photo: Former Canada coach Carolina Morace during the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
(Copyright Zimbio)

In Trinidad, Morace has already turned heads with her no-nonsense approach and sharp football brain. And, while Mollon, Attin-Johnson and Cordner are out of favour at present, the Women Warriors still have the quality of stalwarts like Tasha St Louis, Arin King and Kimika Forbes.

The Italian, according to international media reports, favours an uptempo, short passing, high pressing game. Local football fans should catch the first glimpse of her tactical approach against Venezuela from 4pm on Sunday.

Morace’s relationship with her senior players might be another story worth keeping an eye on.

(TTFA suspension letter)
Dear Kennya Cordner,

As the team manager for the Women’s National Team I wish to inform you that your invitation to the Women’s National Team camp from 20-29 March 2017 has been withdrawn.

The withdrawal is due to your request with myself, the team manager, to do so as of Saturday 18 March 2017.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women's National Senior Team star Kennya Cordner touches down in Toronto for the July 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team star Kennya Cordner touches down in Toronto for the July 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTOC)

Your reasons were stated as:

The physiotherapist did not come to see you and give you necessary attention because you played injured on a torn hamstring.

You feel attacked because the head coach, before the match in the changing room, said to the whole team: “If you feel you are too good to be here and too strong to stay in this team then it is not your place: you have to put your individual needs aside to serve the team.”

Due to your withdrawal from the camp, your position as a potential Tier One player on contract with the TTFA has been suspended.

Regards,

Jinelle James,

Manager

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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160 comments

  1. Carolina Morace did rather well in Canada my friends

  2. These are dedicated young women. For all three to leave. I think it’s an ego problem. The coach’s. That being said. Until I know the FACTS, I really am not in a position to point fingers. If we lose, we lose. Is not like we not accustom.

  3. They need to raise the titantic and have her packing alone with her dog and cat straight back to Italy before any serious tournaments ahead of us because the results will surely be the same as when she Coached in Italy and Canada and that is the only intervention that there should be, because she is no different than the other bootleg foreign base Coach Tom . Steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  4. Really hope that their is some intervention and/or mediation based on the stories thus far.

  5. I wonder if our Soca Worries does still be given a red solo and a box of chicken and chips for their meal. Them really good yes. hahahahaha

  6. Since this coach ruled out PB&J sandwiches for the Canadian team, I found this story interesting and funny. She’s not alone it seems, and by the way, I’ve heard of other coaches who were very much against these treats. http://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/22/15017140/peanut-butter-jelly-sandwich-luke-walton-warriors?yptr=yahoo

    • Brian ….don’t buy into this nonsense …..the coach was simply trying to implement a healthy diet plan into her players. To focus on her wanting to remove peanut butter is the media manipulating grown “children” ….. some teams need discipline and structure ….others flair and creativity …guess which one we are?

    • Malik Johnson Malik, we are in agreement. My comments above were sarcastic. As I stated, I know of several other coaches who removed the sugar from the diets of the players.

  7. Or and before I forget and I really do apologize for calling the Women Italian Coach a racist because I really doesn’t know her but she cannot come to our sweet country and doesn’t understand our culture and just start to abuse our players especially our seniors players and yes I am speaking from experience whilst growing up in my second sweetest country that some of these white Coaches feels that black players should always be treated a certain way compared to their white players and as I said before she really needs to understands some of the challenges that our players have to face especially with there every day trying to support themselves, the crime situation and where some of them are living in the hot spots and even a few of them have returned to our sweet country with their degrees and cannot even find jobs eh, plus as I said before the corrupted TTFA still owe them their well deserved monies eh, both the men and women, so these foreign base Coaches when applying for the job to Coach our national teams they need to really understand the conditions with respect to how our players are treated by the Administration and they must always find out if our players are happy so in other to perform for them, hence the reason why I have alot of respect for the Don Leo Beenhakker when he told the corrupted TTFA that he will never return and be any Coach until his Coaches and his players are paid all thier monies eh, and that was since in 2006 Steeuuppsss, but she messed with the wrong three musketteres eh. Kennya Yaya Cordner, Ahkeela Mollon, and Maylee Johnson. Them really good yes. steeuuppsss.

    • Takes a big man to recognize and apologize publicly for their mistake. Respect!!

    • Nah what really happened is “Tripped” I tripped yes because I am really tired of how our players are treated in our sweet country and as I said sometime ago, if our players were white eh, they would never be treated our continuing going thru all that madness in our sweet country. Steeuupss. Them really good yes.

    • Much respect Earl, I echo Brian Jordan’s note

    • Earl, i think though it is more of our opportunity to assess whether these coaches fit us. Remember that coaches are people too and “monkey don’t see their own tails” so they may not see the issues that thye have personally. We have to assess them and we have to be clear about our expectations. Its our responsibility

    • Earl …you’ll find that this situation was a misunderstanding on both sides that allyuh men clearly blow out of proportion and overeacting to …..

    • When I use to do my thing back in the days in my second sweetest country the reason why I was always victorious was because it was how I always treated my players eh, I would give them my rules and regulations, plus a document on “Projecting a professional image at all times” and then I will asked all to show hands who wasn’t working and sometimes half the team would put up their hands because they didn’t have their papers in order to work in my second sweetest country, so I use to organize a boat ride one time in order to make plenty monies to pay them to play for my team and to keep them on the right track and out of trouble and also to keep our flag flying very high in the Haitain American semi – professional league in New Jersey, while also taking some of them on the real professional tryouts with the MLS teams eh and I wasn’t no top of the line Coach, but I have a lens for recruting real top of the line players in order to win the league and tournaments eh, so my point as Coaches one has to know the subject and it isn’t about abusing your players, especially cussing them etc, etc, etc, and this way of Coaching sometimes tells that they really doesn’t know what they are doing eh. Coaches should really be good teachers Steeuuppss. Them really good yes

  8. Brian Harry and yes I always applauds your intelligence and wisdom on matters but it is many moons ago that I have been calling for both the Coaches Association and the Players Association to be up and running in our sweet country and if that was done about the same time that you mentioned 20 yrs ago trust me when I say that our football would have never been in this position today, just recently on Sunday I visited the Flow youth pro league at the Police Barracks and I was speaking to a Coach about the same thing and you will never believe what he said to me, well he siad that the Coaches Association did started some years ago but it is dormant right now and he went on to explain, so you see the problem, many of the local Coaches are very selfish and they need to stop that madness and to make certain that the Coaches Association continues especially to help the younger upcoming want to be Coaches but it seems that is every man for himself, it seems that they are not really interested in fixing our football , look I can go on and on also explaining alot more about our sweet country and our football but I am really getting fed up of the contniuing madness eh, so I will end here and just continue to observe their continuing madness in our sweet country eh. Them really good yes.

  9. Earl Mango Pierre, I fully understand your nationalistic fervor and I did share the same at one time. My travels and my experience in the last 20 years working with large global organizations have taught me a lesson, which is . . . .. . ‘there’s a global market for talent at all levels. The countries and organizations that understand this will win in whatever game or undertaking’. despite Mr Trump’s utterings, the USA imports a lot of talent in all fields, so does UK, Canada, Japan, etc. The results show this. This is more than about football. My view is if we want to play on the world stage, we should select the best coaches available and affordable. We can put things in place to ensure that our local coaches get global exposure too. I suggested some months ago that, if I was the TTFA president, I would form alliances with some of the big clubs and send our local coaches to work at those clubs in “learning” roles so that they gain that exposure. We have good coaches locally but for the most part, they are just that “good locally”. Look at how our relationship with Amoco and BP helped to raise the quality of our energy expertise. This is bigger than “just football”.

  10. Clash of cultures. Toughen up & do what the coach wants or leave. Sometimes you need to go backwards to go forward. Hope the TTFA do not panic.

  11. And this is a perfect example with respect to pleonty of the bootleg Coaches who have top of the line Coaches badges and doesn’t have a clue when given the opportunities to coach teams including national teams and maybe they need to just open their own football academies and develope the youngsters eh. Them really good yes,

  12. In defense of la signora Morace peanut butter is hard to find in Europe….lol