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Justin Latapy-George
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TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Justin Latapy-George has stated his disappointment over the fact that the national women team had to pull-out of the forthcoming Cyprus Women’s Cup, which was slated from February 26 to March 8, due to financial woes.

Latapy-George acknowledged yesterday, “We have informed them via writing (that) this is our position.

We’ll continue to work with them, (but) apologising profusely for being unable to accept the opportunity.

It brings us no satisfaction but we have to face reality of what our situation is, until we are able to improve in terms of our resources.”

T&T have never competed in this event before, and it would have been used as a means of preparation for the women’s squad ahead of their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, which will get going in May.

“It really irks us, being unable to accept the opportunity,” he admitted.

“It’s really disappointing at all levels that, when given the opportunity, unfortunately for us, at this particular point, our resources just could not allow us to really grasp that.”

Asked if the team could not have received assistance from the monthly subvention which the TTFA receive from FIFA subvention, Latapy-George replied, “Those things are more internal operations. It’s usually no things we discuss publicly. That is from our funding agency to us. It’s more an internal thing.”

According to Latapy-George, “Each tournament has its own standard but, in this particular instance, we’re responsible for getting ourselves there.

That really posed a bit of a challenge for us because of the overall cost to get ourselves there to compete.”

It was reported in yesterday’s Newsday that the estimated cost for sending the team to Cyprus, plus expenses, was $750,000.

Concerning the next step for the women football team, Latapy-George said, “It’s up to the technical committee to sit down and review where we are, what competitions we have (in) 2018 and really seek to prioritise that.

The technical committee has the authority, how they choose to pursue and, from their decision, I am guided accordingly.”

RELATED NEWS

Women Soca Warriors withdraw from Cyprus Cup.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868).


“We couldn’t cover expenses!”

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team has withdrawn from the Cyprus Women’s Cup owing to financial issues, a move which is expected to be a blow to the team’s 2019 France World Cup preparations.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

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.

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.

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.”