National Senior Women’s Team player Mariah Shade is backing newly installed head of Women’s Programme Jamaal Shabazz to keep the Senior Team on track in their quest for qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Shade has been part of the senior team pool that worked with now former senior women’s team head coach Carolina Morace but she will renew acquaintances with Shabazz, the first coach she worked under upon her entry into the national programme as a 13-year-old.
“It was very heartbreaking to say the least after hearing that coach Carolina Morace and assistant coach Nicola Williams was leaving us,” Shade admitted on Sunday. “It was very sudden but all I can say is that I know God is in control and I trust his will for us as a team.
“Jamaal was one who was very instrumental in bringing coach Carolina and her assistant Nicola here so because of this, I have great confidence that his mind and heart is in the right place and he indeed has a great plan for the future of this team,” Shade told TTFA Media.
The 25-year-old looked back on her early days as a national team player, a period which she says allowed her to develop under Shabazz.
“I know Coach Jamaal very well. I joined the national programme when I was thirteen and was among the few players in my generation like Karyn Forbes and Rhea Belgrave who started playing with the senior team at first before playing with the youth teams. I remember being in several Senior and Under 20 camps in the US, Caribbean and home, and playing in several CFU and CONCACAF Qualifiers under Jamaal as head coach.
“He has always been a very serious yet no nonsense person who appreciates hard work. I was a youth on both teams and so it was a different atmosphere for me because I was learning and growing and developing as a very young player,” she continued.
“Though he has always been around women’s football, this is the first time as an adult that I would be coached by Jamaal and I feel very positive as we move forward in our preparations. My focus has always been giving my best in training so the game becomes easier and I will continue to by God’s Grace,” Shade stated.
The former France-based pro who now plays for Petrotrin in the TT Women’s League (WoLF) believes that Shabazz will fit right back into the programme because of his past alliance.
“One very positive thing about Jamaal being head coach of the Senior team is the fact that he has known most, if not all of us since we were in our early teens and at some point or another most of us played under him. He knows our ability and has seen our development as players and commitment to the program throughout the years, so he knows what he has to work with.
“I’m expecting that this will make the transition easier and faster so we can get back on track with our preparations for France 2019,” Shade concluded.
The Caribbean phase of the qualifiers is carded to start next year towards the CONCACAF final stage and Shabazz will resume the training sessions within the next few days.
Mariah is set to launch her first book, Tunnel Vision – A Set Apart Life on August 5th, 2017 at the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards. The book is based on a young Christian’s survival guide for spiritual success, empowerment and blessing.