Thu, Jun

FLASHBACK: From left, Strike Squad coach Everald “Gally” Cummings, manager Oliver Camps, centre, and team psychologist Shirley Rudd-Ottley admire the Express Individual of The Year award given to the team in 1989 for its effort in that year’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Coach of the 1989 national football team Everald “Gally” Cummings was yesterday mourning the loss of a key member of his technical team, behavioural psychologist Shirley Rudd-Ottley.

Cummings confirmed that Rudd-Ottley died yesterday.

She was part of the unit that got within one match of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, only to fall short after a now infamous 1-0 defeat to the United States at the National Stadium.

Ottley had also worked with the Trinidad and Tobago team in 1973 when Cummings was a player on a squad that was controversially denied a chance of reaching the 1974 world Cup during a qualifying series in Haiti.

“A lot of the development of the players in 1973 and 1989 was because of her being part of the technical staff,” Cummings said.

He added:”She instilled confidence in the players. She used to have a lot interaction with the players. When players had personal problems in the camp and they went to her, when they came back they were 100 per cent better in spirit. All I had to do was put them on the field,” noted Cummings.

He also spoke further about Rudd-Ottley’s influence on his own work as the Strike Squad coach.

“Before I select my team I would talk with her,” he said.

“She helped me a lot as a coach. That insight helped me. She was always there. If I had a problem she would guide me accordingly. I had a lot of confidence in her.”

He described the psychologist’s professional relationship with the coaching staff as “near perfect.”

Also reacting to Rudd-Ottley’s passing yesterday was Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris.

“The first time I was exposed to psychology was with Shirley Rudd-Ottley,” he said yesterday.

Speaking of the sessions the Strike Squad had with the woman Cummings described as the “mother” of the team, Morris said:”We used to be planning our short medium and long-term goals. She really put the icing on the cake in bringing the practical together with the theory. He described her death as a “big loss.”

“Very, very nice person, very passionate in what she did. A beautiful soul. Wherever we go (Strike Squad players) she is in our heart,” he noted.

SOURCE: T&T Express