Wed, Oct

Women footballers face 'Women in Sport issues'

Crit­i­cisms of T&T women's coach Shawn Coop­er on his team se­lec­tion and his coach­ing style dur­ing the CON­CA­CAF Women's Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fi­er for the FI­FA Women's World Cup next year in France did not sur­prise oth­er staff mem­bers, be­cause of whom it came from.

A mem­ber of the tech­ni­cal staff who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty be­lieves Ken­nya 'Yaya' Cord­ner's ac­count of the is­sues faced over the past two weeks was her own and not the per­spec­tive of the oth­er play­ers or mem­bers of staff. The staff mem­ber be­lieves Cord­ner did not even high­light the true is­sues faced by the play­ers which hinged more on them be­ing 'women in sport,' in a male-dom­i­nat­ed world.

The source told Guardian Me­dia Sports that al­though the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion re­ceived a cheque for $430,000 from the Min­istry of Sports and Youth Af­fairs on the eve of the team's de­par­ture for the Qual­i­fiers in the Unit­ed States, the play­ers have not re­ceived a sin­gle cent as yet. Min­is­ter of Sports Sham­fa Cud­joe made it clear that the monies were to be used to pay play­ers' salaries and cov­er oth­er ex­pens­es dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

"We have not heard any­thing about pay­ment as yet. I think as women in sports we are not giv­en the re­spect we de­serve. We do not get pay, we hard­ly re­ceive mon­ey for prepa­ra­tion, etc. The cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion of the T&TFA start­ed well by in­tro­duc­ing the women's pro­gramme and of­fer­ing con­tracts to play­ers, but it could not fol­low through on it," the source said.

The T&T women were beat­en in all three qual­i­fy­ing match­es, first go­ing down to Pana­ma 3-0, Mex­i­co 4-1 and then the USA 7-0 at the Sahlen's Sta­di­um in Cary, North Car­oli­na, USA.

The source dis­missed crit­i­cisms that coach Coop­er did not se­lect his best squad of play­ers for the tour­na­ment, as well as for the group stage, say­ing the staff, which in­clud­ed T&TFA tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor An­ton Corneal, worked close­ly with Coop­er to se­lect the play­ers to go to the tour­na­ment and for each match, as they re­al­ized the coach was new to women foot­ball and need­ed their in­put.

The staff mem­ber said the se­lec­tion of the play­ers was based on who was avail­able to the team and who was pre­pared. The tech­ni­cal staff was chal­lenged by play­ers' in­abil­i­ty to get time from school in the US and time from work, to their fit­ness and readi­ness.

"Cord­ner ac­cept­ed the op­por­tu­ni­ty to play for the team, know­ing the is­sues they were faced with. And for the match­es, there were a num­ber of play­ers with in­juries, in­clud­ing Lau­ryn Hutchinson and Arin King, both of whom could not play in the fi­nal match. In fact, Hutchinson was ap­proached about her in­juries and she too agreed she could not play," the source ex­plained.

The source said every­one is await­ing word from man­ag­er Jinelle James for an up­date on a date for pay­ment but ad­mit­ted that no one could say if any of the play­ers are con­tem­plat­ing with­hold­ing their ser­vices from rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try un­til pay­ment is made.

Mean­while, Rus­sell Lat­apy, the coach of the Un­der-17 and 20 teams, is yet to con­duct a train­ing ses­sion with his teams due to his un­paid salaries.

Con­tact­ed, a dis­ap­point­ed Coop­er said he will soon pro­vide a re­port to the me­dia on every­thing re­lat­ing to the women foot­ball team.

Ef­forts by Guardian Me­dia Sports to con­tact T&TFA pres­i­dent David John-Williams yes­ter­day proved fu­tile.