Typography

Ja­maal Shabazz is the new St Lu­cia, foot­ball coach. He fol­lows in the foot­steps of his com­pa­tri­ot Rus­sell Lat­apy who gave up coach­ing in T&T to pick up a more lu­cra­tive of­fer in Bar­ba­dos re­cent­ly.

Shabazz was coach of the T&T's Women's teams, but he stepped down to re­turn to his club team Mor­vant Cale­do­nia Unit­ed in the T&T Pro League. Yes­ter­day how­ev­er word spread that Shabazz, a for­mer Guyana Na­tion­al team coach, had signed on the dot­ted line on a two-year deal.

Con­tact­ed Shabazz con­firmed the ap­point­ment, say­ing he is ex­cit­ed to take up the new chal­lenge, giv­en his coach­ing stints with Guyana and T&T.

"It's a new project with the St Lu­cia peo­ple and cer­tain­ly some­thing I look for­ward to," Shabazz said. He added, "As a de­vout Mus­lim this new op­por­tu­ni­ty is even more sig­nif­i­cant for me, as it comes dur­ing the holy month of Ra­madan." Shabazz is sched­uled to be­gin work on the na­tion­al team lat­er this week.

Ac­cord­ing to Shabazz, "Since Ca­lyp­son­ian Stal­in sang the song Caribbean Man, I have al­ways shared that view, and foot­ball is an op­por­tu­ni­ty for me to ex­press my­self in that way ide­o­log­i­cal­ly."

Since ac­cept­ing the coach­ing job, Shabazz has been warm­ing up with the coun­try's Elite Women's Pro­gramme. He said he has been out of touch with coach­ing so he de­cid­ed to get his feet wet once again be­fore go­ing to St Lu­cia.

He re­places Fran­cis “Panko” Mc Don­ald who man­aged the St Lu­cian team, dur­ing the Wind­ward Is­lands Se­nior Foot­ball Tour­na­ment and the ear­ly stages of the Na­tion’s League.

Pres­i­dent of the St Lu­cia Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Lyn­don Coop­er made the an­nounce­ment of Shabazz's ap­point­ment and said the T&T coach will bring with him a wealth of tech­ni­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. Coop­er mean­while is set to be giv­en a new man­date by League af­fil­i­ates on the is­land and that he plans to take foot­ball to high­er heights.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian

RELATED NEWS

Shabazz welcomes new opportunity.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).


Ex-TT, Guyana coach signs two-year deal with St Lucia…

FORMER T&T and Guyana coach Jamaal Shabazz has signed a two-year deal as the new coach of the St Lucia men’s team, replacing ex-St Lucia footballer Francis McDonald, who was at the helm since October 2018.

According to the 55-year-old Shabazz, the appointment, which was confirmed on Saturday, was effective from May 1.

The St Lucia men’s team are currently 170th in the latest FIFA ranking, as of April 4.

This deal with the St Lucia Football Association comes less than two months after another two-year appointment, to the IFAB (International Football Association Board) Football Advisory Panel (FAP). That panel, along with the Technical Advisory Panel, advises IFP on potential changes to the laws of the game.

During the 2000s, numerous St Lucia players were household names in the TT Pro League, including Earl Jean, Elijah Joseph, Valencius Joseph, Sheldon Emmanuel and Titus Elva. Presently, the only notable St Lucian in the Pro League is experienced left-back Kurt Frederick of W Connection.Shabazz, during an interview yesterday, said, “I’m very impressed with the talent they have.

“I’ve been watching and following the team for the last year. I’ve seen them play three of the Nations League games so I’m very aware of the talent pool. I’m confident that together we can do something.”

Shabazz joins a group of T&T coaches who are involved with national teams in the Caribbean. Other members of that bunch are ex-playmaker and men’s team captain Russell Latapy (Barbados), former women’s team striker Izler Browne (US Virgin Islands) and Rajesh Latchoo (Dominica). Asked how it feels to see TT coaches expanding their wings in the Caribbean, Shabazz replied, “I think it’s good. Europe has not placed any boundaries on people going across the European community to work. They are the colonial masters. We, as the sons and daughters of ex-slaves, must not put that kind of boundaries and borderline on our people throughout the region.”

Quoting a line from Black Stalin’s 1979 classic Caribbean Man, Shabazz continued, “I am a strong advocate for one Caribbean people ‘making the same trips on the same ship’. Working in St Lucia after working in Guyana and TT is an extension of me pushing that ideology.”

Shabazz’s last major portfolio was with the national women’s team, during their ill-fated campaign for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

He stepped down from that post last August, shortly before the Concacaf Women’s Championship in Jamaica.

About his new appointment, Shabazz said, “It’s another opportunity to get back on the pitch. I’ve been warming up by coaching in the TTFA (TT Football Association) Elite Women Youth Clinic. I’ve been volunteering there for the last three weeks in anticipation (of the St Lucia job).

“It’s a different challenge, a whole new different society from Trinidad and from Guyana,” he added. “The challenge is trying to understand the culture and be able to work with it while trying to get the results on the pitch.”

Shabazz has been involved as a coach and technical director with Morvant Caledonia United for over two decades.

He said, “I would be back and forth, just like when I was at Guyana, because St Lucia is 30 minutes away. Caledonia is in good hands with coach Jerry Moe, and I’ve not actually coached Caledonia for the last four years. I’m the owner so that would always be a part of me, and I would play a role behind the scenes.”

His immediate focus with the St Lucia team is “to prepare the national Under-23 team for the Olympic qualifiers, and then the senior team to the Nations League.” Asked if he will be involved with the St Lucia women’s and youth teams, Shabazz replied, “You go into the country to work and, wherever way I can help, I’ll lend my expertise.”