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“We couldn’t cover expenses!” Women Soca Warriors withdraw from Cyprus Cup

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team has withdrawn from the Cyprus Women’s Cup owing to financial issues, a move which is expected to be a blow to the team’s 2019 France World Cup preparations.

The invitational international tournament, which kicks off on 28 February, was expected to provide an excellent launchpad for the “Women Soca Warriors” who begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in May’s Caribbean Championship.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (centre) prepares to fire home while Guyana goalkeeper Chante Sandiford (left) looks on during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action in Houston.
(Copyright MexSport/CONCACAF)

Three of FIFA’s top 20 ranked women nations—Spain, Italy and Switzerland—are among the participants while the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Team, who are ranked 48th in the world, were grouped with Hungary (43), Slovakia (47) and South Africa (54).

However, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) technical director Anton Corneal confirmed that the Women Warriors will miss out on the friendly competition.

“When we prioritised financially, we were not able to cover the expenses it was going to take which was—with travel and hotel—close to the tune of three quarter million dollars,” Corneal told Wired868. “I was very supportive of the tournament but financially it is a major cost and we just were not able to cover that sort of money.”

The Cyrus Cup tournament organisers announced today that the Republic of Korea, ranked 14th in the world, will take Trinidad and Tobago’s place.

Corneal said the staff will attempt to find some international practice for the team before they begin competitive action in May. The Women Warriors began their World Cup preparations last February under Italian Carolina Morace but played just two international friendlies against Venezuela—on 26 and 29 March 2017—in 12 months.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team coach Carolina Morace (left) shares a light moment with forward Laurelle Theodore after the international friendly encounter with Venezuela at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 26 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Morace quit the job reportedly owing to non-payment of her salary in August 2017 and the team has not played since.

Corneal said the current staff, which is headed by Jamaal Shabazz, is working on an alternative to the Cyprus Cup.

“We are looking at a Plan B now and Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA have been mentioned,” said Corneal. “But those are just suggestions so I have to meet with the staff and find out what budget we have first. Without knowing our budget, it is difficult to plan.”

The Women Warriors will attempt to defend their Caribbean crown in May—at present, they are Trinidad and Tobago’s only regional champion team—while Corneal also hopes to participate in July’s CAC Games in Colombia.

“The CAC Games will be a good tournament for us to get some exposure before we go into the CONCACAF competition,” said Corneal. “And that will be paid for by the TTOC or CAC.”

Trinidad and Tobago have failed to get past the Caribbean qualifying stage at Under-17 level in both the boys and women’s categories recently, though, while the Under-20 Women’s Team finished bottom of their CONCACAF group last month following inadequate preparation.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper K’lil Keshwar (right) brings down Costa Rica attacker Fabiola Villalobos and concedes a penalty kick during 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 January 2018.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Corneal said the women’s staff will do their best to prepare the team although they are still awaiting more details on the upcoming Caribbean competition.

“We don’t know where the [Caribbean] tournament will be held in May and even what format it will take,” said Corneal. “I think it would be nice if we can have it here.”

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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  1. Nothing new. Sad for the young women how have been in training. Normal way how athletes in this country are treated. When they win, everyone jumps on winning band wagon

  2. Hannibal Najjar

    I wanted to add something here, something of hope, but there is no hope for there is no semblance of a business plan – ya! finis! khalas! punto finale! That’s it! Dion Sosa, said it in even lees words.

  3. This shit have to stop. If we know we have a schedule throw fetes, raise funds. How can we expect excellence in uncertainty

  4. Why do we continue to have these discussions nothing is going to change with these idiots

  5. Here we go again…plan B regional games, games against clubs? Then when we fall short we are going to say we didn’t have adequate preparation. So there is no forecasting for the year when it comes to budgetary allocations? Our regional neighbours with less resources are able to pull off games with tougher, stronger competition to prepare adequately for tournaments. Let’s pray and hope this situation improves quickly.

  6. The old saying goes
    “ if you fail to plan you plan to fail “.
    Just another disappointment in the long line of faux pas

  7. newsday.co.tt/2018/02/07/ttfa-official-disappointed-over-cyprus-cup-pull-out/

  8. no money wow them can’t fool me nah

  9. And when other countries sponsor them and they represent the sponsoring country. People get upset.

  10. Could someone explain exactly how it takes so long to know if there are enough funds? These are not now for now tournaments, why always so late? Who ever, should decide that no money will be spent for the next 2 or 3 years on sport so that teams will not agree to tournaments or prepare for anything. Stop everything and plan for 2025 to restart sporting activities.

  11. I’m now of the opinion now that there is someone in the background working tirelessly to make all national football teams be the worst they can be whether it’s in the ttfa or otherwise

  12. Smh this is unfair on so many levels.

  13. Lasana Liburd lmaoo not me nah 😂🤦🏽‍♀️

  14. 😂😭😂😭!!! 🤷🏻‍♀️ that’s the only way ppl will read it 😂😭😂

  15. Maylee Johnsonon why my picture deh ‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️

  16. It’s unfortunate that the senior women’s national team wasn’t afforded the opportunity to play in this international tournament. Would have provided the ladies with some invaluable experience. The TTFA, however, should not shoulder all the blame for failing the ladies. These type of development opportunities cost lots of money. Money the TTFA doesn’t have because we the fans don’t support our national teams, especially during the development process. We wait until the product is matured, when the team is successful, then jump on the bandwagon. How many of us go to watch the ladies (or men and youths) play when matches are scheduled locally? How many of us went to watch the recently concluded U20 women’s tournament? The cost was a mere $40 for two matches and the 10,000 seat stadium wasn’t even 25% full. We fail to understand that by attending these matches we are directly contributing to the development of the women’s game from a number of fronts. By showing up we are providing them with much needed support and encouragement. By paying to see these matches we are directly contributing to the TTFA’s budget and by extension allowing for a budget to support the ladies program. And when we take our daughters and sons to national team matches we are helping to encourage and inspire the next generation of footballers. Let’s face it. The TTFA has been operating in the red for many years now. If things continue and new sources of revenues are not identified tough decisions like the one under discussions will have to be made. You can’t spend money that you don’t have. So my bloggers. The next time one of our national teams play locally, buy a few tickets; buy a few jerseys and other football memorabilia. And don’t forget to take your sons and daughters to the game.

    • I would agree if the games were marketed effectively, however, that is not the case. Both casual and hardcore fans have to know about an event to support it. That’s the bottom line.

    • Brian – I don’t think any Wired868 member can use that excuse. I think Lasana does a great job keeping us abreast of national team events.

    • So we are only discussing wired868 members? Thought this was an opinion regarding support in general. Wired 868 is a very small cross section and I am sure the TTFA should be marketing to the wider community, especially kids and families.

    • So, what yuh saying, Wired868 is doing a better job of TTFA job than TTFA? Or…hor!

    • Marketing is one of the biggest problems in all sports in Trinidad and Tobago. I u not directly link 2 it u won’t know about it….

    • Carlos Lee the TTFA does not have a marketing and advertising operation. I talked to people within the TTFA a month before the recent Women’s U20 and no one mentioned the tournament. My brother’s and cousins in TnT have no knowledge of the tournament, I find out from Wired then tell them. The TTFA website did not have information leading up the tournament. The TTFA website does not send email blasts. What is the activity on TTFA Facebook or other social media sites? Football is in competition with all other forms of entertainment, if not properly marketed people will choose other forms of entertainment. There exists a core of football fanatics in TnT but TnT is not a footballing nation, we are a nation that loves entertainment(to be on the scene) therefore if you want people to drive to Couva yuh better come GOOD!

      The cynical side of me believes that the TTFA know they have a bad product so the less people that see it the less criticisms. Thus, the absence of marketing and promotion.

    • I agree that major improvementds are needed in the marketing and advertising space. The recent U20 tournament, for example, could have been pitched to schools and youth football clubs at discounted rates, with transportation provided to students and staff. I like the idea of doing an email blasts ahead of major events. The TTFA should also establish a supporters mailing list.

    • Your recommendations are excellent especially when it comes to schools and football clubs. Have some of those schools or clubs play a 10 minute “all stars” match at half time, give them a reason to come. Unfortunately, the first agenda item always seems to be how we can set up the VIP section. Ignore the VIPs and create an option that if tickets are $40 sell package for $200 per with food and drinks and a fella could take his wife, girlfriend or both to the game because is entertainment.

    • What all yuh expect from an Association let by dinosaurs with cataracts? Modern vision?!

    • Marketing is a tip of the iceberg. We need sales strategies. TTFA would tell you that they advertised the tournament and promoted it through the various media. However, they need to SELL. They need to pong the pavement and get people to buy the tickets. All international sporting organizations do not only have a marketing department… they have a Sales and Marketing department. They sell tickets, corporate boxes, memorabilia etc. Don’t blame the people for not attending. I have a choice to spend my entertainment dollars for what may be more attractive and entertaining. Convince me!

    • Sherlan – You and your students should pitch a Marketing and Sales proposal to the TTFA. Maybe you could make it a 2018 class project with the top 3 proposals going before the TTFA for review and consideration.

    • I am presently organizing a sales workshop for sporting organizations. Hopefully, they would attend. UWI continuously organizes lectures with international presenter yet limited NSO attends.

  17. Well let’s see if we can introduce a legislation or even a tax cuts for corporate companies that’s sponsor. We have these billion dollar companies like ansa etc and they refuse to sponsor althletics. How you think US teams do so well and have the finances? the government cannot sponsor the entire trip. But the Sabgas quick too say trini people been good to us after there son say they are the smallest, but most powerful a true statement though. Whatever yes constitution reform and so much more we need too move forward. Unfortunate unfortunate !!!!!

  18. At the rate things going football is the last thing on the management minds

  19. That’s why Trinidad and Tobago women football will never improve, if was the men they would of get the money.. this a a big joke…

  20. Our football is a down right mess and disgrace in this country. Matter of fact not just football, sport on a whole in this country. Is like we just stuck where we are and not moving forward. Everyone is leaving us behind. What a time to be alive!

  21. And yet we build highways we don’t need.

  22. Ttfa yes lol alya vote for that .

  23. Whappen to the subvention from FIFA, DJW seemed to depend on that

  24. Let’s be honest comrades..This is par for the TTFA’s course..Shame?Disappointment? Embarrassment? This is as rare as foreign exchange for some of us at the bank in the Executive corridors…It reveals a lack of vision and development planning. You see Jack would have picked up the phone then or now and that became fiscal policy..The same thing holds/held in track and field..My point is this yet another clarion call for all to move from behind the keyboards , where far too many have grown veeeeerrrry comfortable and to form an activists’ group to save and serve sport..Other than that the commentators are no different from the incumbent administrators…

  25. Disappointing.. A perfect opportunity for the Senior Women’s team wasted.

  26. A budget is supposed to be part of the plan not separate from it

    • I don’t know if they get a budget. I knew that was always a complaint from Stephen Hart. He said he would ask the TTFA to just tell him how much money there was to work with and he would draw up a programme to suit. But he could never get an answer to that question.
      I don’t know if that has changed under DJW.

    • I would think it’s should be the other way around .
      The coach would submit a budget based in the program he/she has designed.
      This would then be discussed with the Administrators and adjustments made if required .
      At this point the Coach would be able to explain what would be the effect of cuts or restrictions .
      This should not be used as an excuse after the event.
      The Coach or as is named Manager has to manage by objectives, these presented before the program begins,reviewed during the program and assessment done based on them .
      Shabazz says his objectives were stability , a foundation and enabling of scholarships, if this was accepted by the Administration then he has to be judged on those criteria
      Though for me foundation and stability at this level is confusing also the educational requirements for scholarships has taken in more importance .

  27. We are getting worse every day.
    Budgets are set in advance. This is getting beyond ridicoulous and we need to know where the money is spent.
    If Wired was not asking these questions then we would have been kept in the dark.

  28. Same old story, they never had a plan and never had a budget. If it costs 750k and you short that, maybe you have 500K so you do have a budget to plan with. I suspect they have zero

  29. 1. When was the invitation to the Cyprus Women’s tournament extended to the TTFA?
    2. When was the invitation accepted?
    3. When did the TTFA figure out how much money was needed to fund the trip?
    4. When did they figure out that they couldn’t afford it?
    5. When was this communicated to the organizers of the tournament?

    Why was our pending participation in the tournament never mentioned by the TTFA? Is it because they were never sure to begin with?

    • Nigel, they ent answer Selby Browne and Keith Look Loy yet and you want to give them more wok?! 😆😆😅

    • All very relevant questions though.

    • Football does not belong to the people so “Football” does not have to answer to de people! All yuh eh realize?!

    • Answer to your fourth question- when the Italians left!!!!!

    • The senior women carry the best chance of success of all Trinidad and Tobago’s teams right now. I thought the hiring of Carolina showed that the TTFA recognized that fact.
      I don’t know if DJW and company changed their minds or if they are just incapable of raising money to fund the programmes and give our teams what they need.

    • While TTFA’s basic budgeting of projected expenditure and projected income (funding, grants, tv rights, sponsorships, gate receipts etc) appears to be non-existent, a major component of any modern-day national sporting organizaton ought to be a dynamic marketing arm.
      TTFA appears to still be operating in the dark ages where that is concerned.
      In fact, the under-par results of the various TT teams, plethora of illogical excuses from national coaches and Mugabesque antics of DJW provide precious little to attract either fans or funds.
      In other words TT football is dying faster than the present admin might be willing to admit.
      The big question is therefore whether the entities which command the votes are prepared to make a radical shift in the interest of revitalizing all aspects of our football when next elections are held?
      Can anyone suggest a better solution?

  30. “Without knowing our budget, it is difficult to plan.”

    Shouldn’t they already know their budget since they have determined that they can’t cover the expenses for the Cyprus tournament?

  31. How is the budget just being discussed. Sounds like basic management practices are not being followed. Short, medium and long term plans and budgets should have already been discussed and understood to be achievable before agreeing to participate in Cyprus. Why does it sound like we are not planning for success. Hope the plan B is better than a fete match side like the lady U20s got. SMH

  32. Hmmm same coach that lost last month is back again? He working for free then? Anybody knows his win lost records?

  33. Maybe Haiti can give us a loan again.

  34. Shabazz is the coach of this team right? I don’t know why I does even bother nah.