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.