Sun, Sep

Shabazz, the Caribbean man.

Ex-TT coach on FIFA role, Gold Cup, future

JAMAAL Shabazz, the former T&T and Guyana men's head coach, believes he is the epitome of what it means to be a Caribbean man. Shabazz, 55, recently received a two-year appointment to the IFAB (International Football Association Board) Football Advisory Panel (FAP).

The panel, along with the Technical Advisory Panel, advises IFAB on potential changes to the laws of the game.

Speaking to Newsday on Thursday, Shabazz said, “It’s an opportunity to widen my scope and see how I could represent (Concacaf), with the guidance of the technical people, as it relates to what they would like represented at that level.

“The people in Concacaf might want you to put forward their perspective. So, it’s not me on my accord, it’s representing Concacaf and their viewpoints at that level.”

The Morvant Caledonia technical director immediately debunked the idea his future lies in an office, revealing he is currently negotiating for a job that will require him to be on the football field.

“In no way am I prepared to leave the field. I am, at this stage, in negotiations with another country with regards to their national programme. At that stage, I still intend to take the field as a coach,” he said.

Asked where the country is located, Shabazz replied, “In the Caribbean. You know I’m a Caribbean man. The only man who is more Caribbean than me is Black Stalin.”

On his IFAB appointment, Shabazz said, “It was interesting that Concacaf could have chosen me. I felt very humbled. I’m willing to put my best foot forward. It’s not a job. It’s just me being on a committee.”

Shabazz will be required to attend around three FAP meetings per year.

During his lengthy coaching career, Shabazz twice held positions as Guyana men’s team coach, from 2005-2008 and 2011-2012.

In his latter stint with the Golden Jaguars, he famously guided his team to a 2-1 win over the visiting T&T squad, at the Providence Stadium, on November 11, 2011 – a result which ended T&T’s hopes of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

T&T will meet Guyana, Panama and co-hosts United States in Group D of the Concacaf Gold Cup, from June 15 to July 7.

Shabazz has warned the T&T team of underestimating Guyana again.

Shabazz said, “I felt very worried for T&T and one of my best friends (coach) Dennis Lawrence. Why? Because I know the tendency by Trinidad fans to underestimate Guyana.

“But, given the squad that they have now, once they can better organise themselves defensively, I think they would be a formidable opponent.”

T&T are set to face the US for the first time since the October 10, 2017 clash at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, with T&T prevailing 2-1 to end the Americans' chances of progressing to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“It’s really an interesting group for T&T, meeting the USA again – which would certainly be a match that would hold no bars, there would be no love lost in that game,” Shabazz said.

“All and all, I think it’s an exciting group. It should spark the interest of the wider Caribbean and the entire Concacaf.”


Shabazz gets prestigious international appointment, replaces Shaka on IFAB.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz will spend the next two years helping to shape the laws of the world’s most popular sport, as the Morvant Caledonia United co-owner revealed his appointment to the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) football advisory panel.

The IFAB, which comprises of a member each from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and FIFA, is the only body authorised to make changes to the laws of the game and is technically independent from the world governing body—although the latter organisation has a 50 per cent vote on all board matters while a 75 per cent threshold is required from all members to make amendments.

The IFAB describes itself as ‘the independent guardian of the Laws of the Game […] with the goal to improve and develop the game for players, match officials and fans while protecting and strengthening the spirit and simplicity of football’.

Shabazz, who campaigned for Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams at the last general election and for his failed bid for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) presidency, effectively replaces compatriot and former World Cup 2006 goalkeeper Shaka Hislop on the prestigious committee.

Hislop, once the England Premier League’s most expensive goalkeeper and now an analyst for ESPN, saw his two-year term with IFAB end earlier this month. During his tenure, the IFAB implemented the VAR (video assistant referees) system as well as allowed for the use of a fourth substitute and changed the rule for handball.

Hislop served alongside several household football names like former Croatia and AC Milan star midfielder Zvonimir Boban, ex-South Korea stand out Ji Song Park, former World Cup and Champions League champion Christian Karembeu and two former Trinidad and Tobago coaches Francisco Maturana and Carolina Morace.

“It was an honour to serve the game in this capacity and at this level,” said Hislop. “The opportunity has given me a better appreciation of the game’s inner workings and decision making processes.”

It is now Shabazz’s turn at the head table. The former Jamaat Al-Muslimeen insurrectionist who went on to serve his country as coach of an array of national football teams—and with a successful stint in Guyana as well—will travel business class to Europe over the next two years to help decide on the future laws of the game.

Shabazz’s appointment came on the recommendation of Concacaf while his appointment letter said his selection was based on his ‘profound football background, experience and expertise’.

Shabazz, who resigned from the Women Soca Warriors in July, declined comment on his new post.