T&T U-17 Women chase milestone in recycled Capelli kit, TTFA mum on farce

EPL Infrafred Sauna

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-17 Team will be playing for a spot in the Concacaf Under-17 Championship tomorrow, when they tackle El Salvador from 4pm in a qualifying match at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca in Willemstad, Curaçao.

El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago have six points each from two Group A matches so far, with the Central American team enjoying a superior goal difference.

Trinidad and Tobago goal scorer Daneelyah Salandy (#19) is congratulated by teammate Mariah Williams during their 4-0 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship Qualifying match at the Rignaal Jean Francisca stadium, in Willemstad, Curaçao on 28 August 2023.
Photo: Victor Straffon/ Straffon Images/ Concacaf)

Only the group winners move on to the Concacaf Championship, where they will join the United States and Mexico.

Thus far, El Salvador have 19 goals in the qualifying competition without reply. The young Women Soca Warriors have nine goals with none conceded.

Scarborough Secondary forward J’eleisha Alexander, once more, leads the Trinidad and Tobago offence.

In April, Alexander opened her international account with a hattrick against Guadeloupe in the qualifying phase of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship.

And she has five goals already in the ongoing Concacaf U-17 qualifiers, as she followed up on a beavertrick against Curaçao with the opening item in a 4-0 triumph over the Cayman Islands yesterday.

Trinidad and Tobago forward J’Eleisha Alexander (right) holds off Cayman Islands defender Ashley Phinn-Bodden during Concacaf U-20 Championship qualifying action at the Rignaal Jean Francisca Stadium, in Willemstad, Curaçao on 15 April 2023.
(Copyright Miguel Gutierrez/ Straffon Images)

Alexander, the 2022 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Girls Player of the Year, is one of nine survivors from the Trinidad and Tobago’s 2023 Concacaf U-20 campaign, along with: Kaitlyn Darwent, Anastasia O’Brien, Cherina Steele, Orielle Martin, Mariah Williams, Mikael Yearwood, Rashed Archer and Kanika Rodriguez.

The Women’s National Under-17 Team is led by head coach Rajesh Latchoo, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) head of coach education and youth football director.

And Latchoo is assisted in Curaçao by TTFA technical director Anton Corneal.

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National U-17 team pose before kickoff against the Cayman Islands on 28 August 2023.
The young ladies used the same Capelli jerseys won by the Men’s National Senior Team at the June Gold Cup and the Boys’ National U-15s at the August Concacaf Championship.

The Trinidad and Tobago teenagers might have the talent and the tactical nous—but whether they are dressed to impress is another story.

In a space of two months, the TTFA, led by Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and general secretary Amiel Mohammed, has sent three national teams out in the same two Capelli Sport uniforms.

On 22 June 2023, the TTFA announced a “two-year partnership with Capelli Sport” who will now serve as “the official and exclusive supplier of sports apparel and equipment for all categories of the TTFA, including the national teams as they compete in Concacaf and Fifa events”.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (right) and TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed look on from the covered stands as Trinidad and Tobago and Nicaragua clash in a 2022 Concacaf W Championship qualifying fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 17 February 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Inexplicably, two months later, the TTFA still has only one set of home and away kits and training gear. And those outfits are now being recycled for the second time by the Women’s National Under-17 Team.

During Trinidad and Tobago’s clash with the Cayman Islands yesterday, Guatemalan referee Mayary Cartagena twice warned winger Ariana Borneo about rolling up her sleeves to make her jersey more comfortable.

Borneo’s discomfort was understandable though. She stands at barely over five feet. However, the jersey she wore was made to fit six foot one Soca Warriors defender Sheldon Bateau.

Trinidad and Tobago defenders Leland Archer (left) and Sheldon Bateau consider their options during their Gold Cup clash with USA on 2 July 2023.
Photo: TTFA Media

The Boys National Under-15 players faced even more embarrassment on their return to Trinidad from the Concacaf Under-15 Championship, when a national football official made them strip off their tops at the Piarco International Airport!

One parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recounted the bewildering scene to Wired868.

“My son told me to walk with an extra jersey for him at the airport, which I did,” said the parent. “But when I saw him, I saw he already had a jersey and I thought he looked so nice in it. But then as soon as they came out with their luggage, they had to take it off right there in the airport!

The Trinidad and Tobago Boys’ National Under-15 team pose in their Capelli Sport jerseys before their trip home.
Team captain Sheridan McNish (back row, centre, black jersey) was the only player due to take a separate flight to the United States.
He was not given a red jersey to pose with in the team photo.

“They didn’t even go in the bathroom. Boys were stripping right there in the airport. It was amazing.”

In the case of at least one player, his parents forgot to bring an extra jersey for him. So, at 2am, the 15-year-old national player had to take off his Capelli jersey and walk bareback through the airport and across the parking lot to be driven home.

Neither Hadad nor Mohammed, as usual, responded to requests for comment on the clothing farce, or on the reason that national teams have been short on equipment.

Trinidad and Tobago Girls’ National Under-14 player Mia Lee Chong tries to initiate an attack for her team during the August 2023 CFU Series.
The National Girls wore Bol kits for the competition.
Photo: TTFA

For the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Girls’ Under-14 competition, Trinidad and Tobago played in old kits from their previous sponsor, Bol.

Wired868 understands that the TTFA was asked to give Capelli Sport at least a month’s notice for gear. However, we were unable to confirm whether requests were made too late to be actioned for the national youth teams.

It is uncertain why the normalisation committee, which includes Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez, did not purchase Capelli outfits at a sport store to spare the embarrassment and discomfort of its national youth players.

Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad addresses the audience during the launch of the TT Premier Football League at the Hyatt Regency on 6 February 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Hadad, according to Fifa’s structure for normalisation committee members, pockets US$6,500 (TT$44,000) per month, while his colleagues take home US$4,000 (TT$27,000) per month.

After 42 months at the helm, Hadad should have banked US$273,000 (TT$1.85 mil) for his TTFA stint so far with Romano due US$168,000 (TT$1.14 mil).

It would have cost roughly TT$10,000 (US$1,472) to give two new outfits to each national youth team to use, as they represented Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Stephen Ollivierie (centre) advances with the ball during Concacaf U-15 Championship action against Puerto Rico in Santo Domingo on 8 August 2023.
His teammate Riquelme Phillip (left) has tape over the back of his jersey to hide the name: Neveal Hackshaw.
Hackshaw used the kit at the June 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
(via TTFA Media)

Hopefully, the Women’s National Under-17 Team will get the job done in spite of the slight.

(Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team)

Goalkeepers: 18.Mikaela Yearwood, 1.Maya Figgener, 21.Janike Ramoutar

Defenders: 2.Kaitlyn Darwent, 5.Anastasia O’Brien (captain), 3.Jasmine McNish, 15.Kanika Rodriguez, 20.Kimora Mitchell, 14.Cherine Steele,

Midfielders: 6.Cherina Steele, 7.Rasheda Archer, 10.Orielle Martin, 8.Madison Campbell, 16.Ty’Kaiya Dennis, 4.Ariana Borneo,

Forwards: 13.Sonia Lamarre, 17.Natalia Gosine, 19.Daneelyah Salandy, 12.Nikita Gosine, 9.J’eleisha Alexander, 11.Mariah Williams.

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Rasheda Archer (right) tries to keep the ball from Curacao opponent Zyanne Barriento during Concacaf Women’s U-17 Qualifying action at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca stadium in Willemstad, Curacao on 26 August 2023.
Photo: Victor Straffon/ Straffon Images/ Concacaf)

Concacaf Women’s Under-17 qualifying tournament

(Monday 28 August)

Trinidad and Tobago 4 (J’eleisha Alexander 12, Nikita Gosine 60, Cherina Steele 88, Daneelyah Salandy 90+1), Cayman Islands 0

El Salvador 7 (Genesis Carpio 9, Jasmine Diaz 45+2, 77, Giselle Marquez 72, Keila Lino 81, Alyssa Jurado 90+2, Janelle Torres 90+5), Curaçao 0

Trinidad and Tobago defender Jasmine McNish (left) tries to close down Curacao attacker Ruwenna Cristina during Concacaf Women’s U-17 Qualifying action at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca stadium in Willemstad, Curacao on 26 August 2023.
Photo: Victor Straffon/ Straffon Images/ Concacaf)

(Saturday 26 August)

Trinidad and Tobago 5 (J’eleisha Alexander 4, 17, 32, 47, Nikita Gosine 36), Curaçao 0

El Salvador 12 (Keila Lino 10, Breanna Medina 13, 49, 88, Alyssa Jurado 23, Janelle Torres 33, Camila Brower 33, Giselle Marquez 50, 86, Nahomy Portillo 53, 79, Beatriz Ramos 79), Cayman Islands 0

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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One comment

  1. Please, Mr Editor, will you explain what the $273,000 “banked” by Hadad and the other large sums so far received by NC personnel have to do with representing Trinidad and Tobago?
    You seriously think that is how they see themselves? You seriously think they see those sums as football money in any sense? So Jack Warner thought the earthquake money was for Haiti?
    You have my sympathy.

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