SAYING that women’s football in this country has been treated like “the bastard child of the TTFA” (T&T Football Association), former women’s national team manager Kenrick Hoyte says there must be a push for greater equality in local football.
Hoyte is the interim president of the &TT Women’s League Football (WoLF) after replacing Susan Joseph-Warrick who resigned from the position on September 25.
Hoyte was WoLF first vice-president under Warrick, who replaced Sharon O’Brien as president after the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 25, 2019.
Speaking with Newsday on Sunday afternoon, he said while the talent is “certainly there,” the resources for women’s football are significantly less than that for men.
“So now, we have to try to get the women to a level where – just like the men’s team – they have adequate sponsorship, government funding, that kind of thing, and a proper executive to run women’s football so there is consistency. We need a proper board structure.”
In 2014, the senior women’s national team was denied a spot in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup after a late goal by Ecuador. T&T needed only one point to advance.
Hoyte said it seems that after that, “everything just stopped right there - no funding, no nothing. It just went right back (to the same thing).”
He added, “We need funding to have matches off World Cup season. You can’t just have players playing football for World Cup qualifiers if you really want to qualify.
“If you don’t keep them at that level and keep them occupied, you would expect too much - and we are not giving them much to work with. They have the ability but what are we doing for them?”
He said the disparity between the prize money for men’s competitions as opposed to women’s competitions is also troubling.
“We have to push for equality. It’s exactly that. Isn’t the price to go on a flight to play a match in another country the same for a woman and a man? How can we encourage these players when there is this lack of support?” Asked if he sees his new responsibilities as a challenge, he said, “If there’s no challenge, what are we in this for then?”
He said he is hoping FIFA lifts its suspension of the TTFA soon so “the girls can get to play again and get to play in the qualifiers next year.” No official date has been set for this year’s AGM yet, at which a new, official executive will be elected.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday