Lady Sharks in with WoLF.
Central FC will be entering a team into the Japs-sponsored WoLF (Women’s League Football) First Division. The newly formed team will compete against Tobago All Stars, Tunapuna Titans, UWI and Malabar All Stars.
“This is something that was on our business plan from day one,” said Central FC managing director, Brent Sancho. “We stated that we wanted to give opportunities to the young people of Central, and to fulfil our promise, we must include females.”
Sancho said that initially there would not be many players from the central region. “As with the men’s team, we had open trials, but the attendance from local players was very low.
However, through the season we have uncovered some remarkably talented players who hail from the central region and this means next season, our team will be more representative of the region. We expect to follow the same pattern with the ladies. We are already seeing a new crop of talented girls at the Central FC Football Factory coaching school and this will be the route to the women’s team.”
The “Lady Sharks” will be fielding some exciting talent. “We are proud to have recruited some of T&T’s brightest talent,” said team manager Adrian Romain. “Players like 18-year-olds Victoria Swift, Samantha Kissoon and T&T Under-17 captain Anique Walker will be immense role models for the Central female community, and we hope they will encourage more girls to take an interest in football.”
Head coach of the Lady Sharks is former T&T international Ahkeela Mollon, the first female footballer from T&T to earn an overseas football contract, which saw her playing in Sweden and Finland.
“Ahkeela is a valuable member of the Central FC staff,” said Sancho. “At this club, we don’t believe in pigeonholing people. We practise a philosophy that says that if you’re good enough to do a job, then you should do it. Ahkeela was brought on board to coach our boys youth teams.
As she develops her skills, I’d love to see her coaching our reserve team, and then, who knows? We have female physios, match officials and match commissioners in the Pro League, so why not a female coach?” Sancho went on to say “We did not hire Ahkeela to coach the ladies team, however, she obviously has a keen interest in promoting womens football and when she requested the coaching position, of course, we were delighted.”
Operations director Kevin Harrison said: “As you would expect, the Lady Sharks will also be active in our community projects. We see this as an exciting opportunity to inspire young women throughout the central region. Ahkeela is a great role model for young people.”
Harrison said “Places like England still have glass ceilings inside football and you see very few black players making it through into management. In the Pro League, the doors are open to coaches from home and abroad and there is no barrier due to race, creed or colour. The only glass ceiling left to smash in T&T is the belief that women can’t coach men.”
Harrison said Central FC will be embarking on the second stage of their SIS Central Community Challenge on Sunday, when they play Cap Off Youths FC at Jerry Junction Recreational Ground, Carapichaima.
“These games are great for us, because there are no Pro League games until May 3. We beat a full-strength Antigua Barracuda side 6-1 on Wednesday, with Rundell Winchester scoring a hat-trick, and we’re using these community games to give players like Rundell, who has just come back from injury, the chance to regain match fitness.”
The Community Challenge will give the people of Carapichaima and Waterloo the chance to see national players such as Darren Mitchell, Jason Marcano and Marvin Phillip as well as 2006 Soca Warrior, Anthony Wolfe. Meanwhile, Cap Off Youths, coached by Michael Davis, will be fielding local heroes such as Emilio Smith, Wendell Archibald, Neon O’Garro, Kareem Garcia, Jaffet Williams, Garvin Samaroo.
“We field a full strength squad, though, of course, we will rotate some players to give everyone a game,” said Harrison. “We will have a few giveaways and The Sharkettes will be on hand to add some glamour, along with a music truck. Thanks go to Mr Stephen Bartholomew and the Waterloo Institute of Soccer Players for helping to bring professional football into the heart of the community.”
Kick-off at Carapichaima is at 4 pm tomorrow and admission is free.