BRIAN LONDON, coach of the Coca Cola National Girls Intercol champions Pleasantville, is urging corporate T&T and other stakeholders to invest in women’s football from a grassroots level.
London, who has coached at Pleasantville and won multiple league, zonal and Intercol titles there since 2014, believes the only way T&T can return to being a formidable force on the global circuit is by reintroducing the sport into communities. Having failed to qualify for the France 2018 Women’s Under-20 World Cup and the 2019 World Cup, London is determined to do his part in relaying the foundation of local women’s football.
“I’m actually having conversations with people currently to host a women’s league in February next year,” he said. “Our intention is to take women’s football back to the communities. We won’t ask for use of the big sporting facilities because we intend to use community recreation grounds for our matches. Let’s return to where we started, in communities. This is how women’s football will get a greater recognition from the relevant people.”
Following a successful defence of his team’s national title earlier this month, London was elated. He however, was a bit concerned for a few of his players who will be leaving the school, as they will be forced to weigh their career options moving forward.
Deeply intent on rejuvenating the sport on a national scale, London called on big and small businesses alike, to extend a helping hand to women’s football development. The experienced coach admitted though, that it would take years of hard work and commitment by the local governing body, staff and players to ensure the sport grows consistently.
London also reflected on T&T’s performance back in 2014 when the local team needed just a draw against Ecuador to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Although T&T did not secure the final spot, the Pleasantville instructor remains optimistic that World Cup qualification for the women’s outfit, lies on the horizon.
“I will do my part, but the T&T Football Association and other stakeholders have to do theirs as well to get women’s football to a respectable level. We need to go back to grassroots and developmental stages. I’m not afraid to say it, but there are players on the national team who still can’t properly control a ball. More ground work must be done so we can get the younger ones up to a level where we can be a reckoning force. It may take some years but we have proven that there in talent here,” he said.
On his team’s successes over the past few years, London credited the squad’s never-say-die attitude and held in high regard those who came to the forefront when the experienced players were injured.
“Our programme at Pleasantville is working and it’s nice to reap the rewards of our hard work throughout the season. Kudos to the girls. A simple thing like players coming out on time for training and giving their all were big factors for us. When players got injured during the season, it was good to see the younger players stepping up to the mantle,” he concluded.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday