In spite of ongoing concerns with the T&T Football Association, the country's Women's football team will commence its departure today for the Concacaf Women's Championship in the United States which is a qualifier for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France next year.
Guardian Media Sports was informed that the team's management was only awaiting the travelling documents for three players to confirm their travelling arrangements. It is unsure what has been the delay, and who the players are, but one reliable member of the team said they are pinning their hopes that all matters were sorted yesterday.
It was also learnt that the embattled football association, being headed by David John-Williams, has agreed to bring an end to all concerns the players had regarding finances, by next week.
A 20-woman team has already been chosen by coach Shawn Cooper ahead of the tournament and it excludes instrumental players Maylee Attin-Johnson, winger Ahkeela Mollon and utility player Khadisha Debesette, as well as rising talent Shanelle Arjoon, among others. Arjoon was a standout for the country's Under-20 team at the CONCACAF Qualifiers and the senior women's team at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Challenge Series earlier this year.
An official of the team said the women, in spite of the challenges, have turned up for training, averaging at 10 players for each session.
According to the official, "The mood in the camp is not the best given the circumstances but the ladies have been working very hard. And under Cooper, the ladies have adapted very quickly, as they understand the situations."
The T&T team has been grouped with giants the USA, opening their account against Panama on October 4, before meeting Mexico on October 7. They will then complete their group phase against the might of the US women three days later for the rights to be among the top two teams to advance.
The team has struggled to have a proper core of players in training locally, as most of the players are based in the USA, either as students or residents.
Goalkeepers: Kimika Forbes, Saundra Baron;
Defenders: Arin King, Rhea Belgrave, Ayana Russell, Jenelle Cunningham, Jonelle Cato, Lauryn Hutchinson, Patrice Superville, Shadi Stoute;
Midfielders: Janine Francois, Karyn Forbes, Liana Hinds, Naomie Guerra, Natasha St Louis, Tasha St Louis, Shenelle Henry;
Forwards: Kayla Taylor, Kennya Cordner, Mariah Shade.
Women’s team to depart for US tomorrow.
T&T Newsday Reports.
TTFA gets cheque from Sports Ministry:
MEMBERS of T&T’s senior women’s national team, who have not yet departed for the US for the Concacaf Women’s Championships, will leave tomorrow, by the earliest, after the Ministry of Sport yesterday presented the TT Football Association with the requested sum of $429,626 for assistance to the team.
Jinelle James, who was instrumental in involving the ministry, as well as Wayne Cunningham, a board member of the TTFA, represented the association at the Ministry of Sport & Youth Affairs’ head office in St Clair, where the cheque was presented to them.
According to a press release issued by the ministry yesterday, “the Ministry, through the Sport Company of T&T, decided to provide the total sum requested to assist the women’s football team in their participation at the World Cup Qualifiers in North Carolina, USA.
The release noted the failure by the TTFA to pay all outstanding retainer fees owed to members of the women’s team by the promised date.
“Notwithstanding the commitment made by TTFA to pay outstanding retainer fees to the players before their departure, the TTFA has informed the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs that at this time, the female players are still owed retainer fees for the month of August and the TTFA is currently liaising with the Concacaf to provide all outstanding payments to the players. TTFA anticipates that payment will be issued to all relevant players within the next two weeks.”
In the release, Minister Shamfa Cudjoe reminded the TTFA officials of the importance of the players’ welfare.
A source close to the team confirmed that the money was received and the arrangements are being made to have the team leave for the US tomorrow.
“(But) there are issues with that. The initial budget they had, which they used to receive money from the Ministry, included tickets at one price but the tickets have gone up significantly instead, which challenges the budget.”
“They are hoping to leave on Sunday. The thinking is, if they get a cheaper flight on Monday, because of the budgetary constraints, they will take that.”
There is also an issue with the team securing US currency, which is necessary for miscellaneous expenses and emergency funds. The source said the issues are being addressed.