Dear Editor: Our World Cup dreams are just delusions; we aren’t prepared to qualify

Gems at Lajoya

“[…] We changed coaches regularly and settled on a largely inexperienced group who were learning by trial and error… Yet we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

We struggled in the preliminary qualifiers, failing to even beat Guyana. That didn’t even seem to wake us up one bit…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team was submitted to Wired868 by Marlon Jones:

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Team pose before kickoff against Costa Rica in 2022 Concacaf W Championship action on 11 July 2022.
(via Concacaf)

Another failed World Cup qualifier has been added to our record. Another opportunity to shine has just been missed. Another year of zero achievement in progress. And yet we have not learned from the mistakes in the past. We simply repeated them because we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

We went into the Concacaf W Championship poorly prepared. Four friendlies in 2021—zero in this entire year. 

Meanwhile Canada were preparing for this tournament since the end of the last Women’s World Cup. Yet we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

We had no football, male or female, being played on these shores for the last two years. Canada, USA, Costa Rica and Mexico restarted their programs despite the pandemic. Last year, Jamaica restarted their program and even sent their ladies to train in the USA. Yet we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Kenwyne Jones talks to his players during practice at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 20 October 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

We changed coaches regularly and settled on a largely inexperienced group who were learning by trial and error. Those guys erred so much that players who were still eligible to represent T&T weren’t even called to training. Yet we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

We struggled in the preliminary qualifiers, failing to even beat Guyana. That didn’t even seem to wake us up one bit. We gave up six goals against Canada and four against Costa Rica. 

Still, we were under the delusion that we would qualify.

Now that we could not defeat Panama, we know for certain that we are out of the World Cup. Guess who would be getting the blame for that? The players who have no say in administrative matters or in the politics of football. 

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Chelsi Jadoo (right) tussles with Panama flanker Schiandra Gonzales during Concacaf W Championship action at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás, Mexico on 11 July 2022.
(via Concacaf)

The players are expected to work miracles and compensate for incompetent leadership. That has always been our philosophy and although it has never worked, we continue to employ it.

We will now be forced to watch the Women’s World Cup from home and regret another failed campaign. Unless we agree to take our women’s programme seriously that’s always going to be the end result. 

We will always enter a competition underprepared. And we will always be under the delusion that we would qualify.

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  1. Everything fell down from the start. The coach was arrogant and inexperienced. There was no flow from one stage to the other. We struggled in every game. The players were school girls so maybe that’s a plus for the future but there must be follow up and continuity. With all due respect we really don’t have any local coach with any high standard for any age or group. All of them are assistant coaches. The Ministry needs to stop wasting money on overseas travel for teams and invest more on infrastructure and preparation. The Ministry must stop being an ATM and start being pro active. While overseas takes 4 – 8 years to prepare a team in this banana republic at least give us two. I salute the ladies for their effort.

    • Not even two years; often times months. Sometimes the team begins training training, then stop for some time and only restart a couple months before the tournament. I don’t know how we expect to qualify when we can’t even keep a team together consistently.

  2. This Cornwall situation is awful, coach should have taken the high road with his response at the news conference on the question presented by Mr Liburd.

    There was never mention about the roster’s average age was 23, or the amount of college players selected before the team left for Mexico. But for some reason, that discussion started to come up after the Costa Rica loss, and amplified after the Panama lost. Coach selected that 25 woman roster, which he reduced to 23 to start the tournament. Now why he took 4 keepers is a whole other story, even though he ended up cutting 1 to get to the 23.

    Coach is now talking about getting pro players on board, but I’m not sure where he is getting those players from. The US has a huge talent pool at the college level, but he somehow chose players who play in programs which are not the best or even competitive in their division.

    I’m sorry to point out individuals, but there is no way his left back is ready for this level of competition, and so is his rookie forward who started the Costa Rica game. I don’t think coach understands the dynamics of female football, as the whole training, culture, etc dynamic is different to men.

  3. From the start of this campaign I knew we would not qualify and it seems that the juniors team are not well trained because they suffer the same faith. Further, other men and women team suffer the same faith but men senior team still manage to keep competitive. Over all the juniors don’t understand basics fundamentals in football technical skills because simply to clear a ball out from danger is difficult for ladies to do.
    Further, the women are weak on aerial battles and proper defensive skills is woefully. TTFA needs and educational program in the football schools and academy so as to engrain the fundamentals and then we would start to see results. further Jones and his team failed to see the underlying shortcomings of his team and was naive that feelings and motivational team talk would pedal them through the qualifiers. how could you qualify for a tournament when more than half the goals conceded came from breakage on the wings and wingbacks lack abilities to stop the penetration whether recovery run, tackling AND tracking. Jones still employed too much rotation and had no clear notion of tactics to employed.

  4. You are on point, Marlon Jones! *applause*

  5. I agree, it is delusional. To think you have put nothing developmental in place to equip these players to go out and win games let alone compete against players who have been groomed/trained all their lives for these specific occasions is nothing short of crazy. This is the case for every category of soccer in this country. The resulting facts are that our national teams look woefully under prepared and over-matched against the top tier teams and this is quickly becoming the case even among those teams considered to be ‘below our standard (Guyana, Grenada, St Vincent etc). We need a comprehensive plan for soccer which must see coaches (starting at the grassroots level) being properly equipped and guided in everything they do to properly/holistically develop our young talent. This will go a long way in making the lives of the Jones and Eve a lot easier.

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