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Over 75 applicants for T&T women’s head coach, as TTFA contemplates TT$3.4 million windfall.
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Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) women’s director of football Jinelle James said the next Women Soca Warriors head coach should be someone with real passion for the job, as the local football body prepares to fill a key vacancy.

The TTFA opened its door for prospective coaches on Monday. Within 48 hours, applications poured in from as far afield as Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and the United States.

“It has been really extensive,” said James. “We have had over 75 applicants thus far.”

The final decision will be made by the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, which has replaced the TTFA’s Board. The committee, headed by chairman Robert Hadad, should be provided with a shortlist of the best available coaches, although uncertainty remains over the panel charged with whittling down the applicants.

Hadad suggested he has a free hand in the appointment of the local body’s standing committees. However, veteran official Osmond Downer subsequently explained that Hadad’s claim was almost certainly a misinterpretation of the constitution and his mandate.

It is left to be seen whether the normalisation committee respects the four year term of the current technical committee—which was not ended by Fifa—or tries to implement its own.

At present, the technical committee comprises of: Narvin Charles, Dale Toney, Michael Grayson and Ken Elie. Richard Piper, Norris Ferguson and James are adjunct committee members, who do not hold voting rights.

The Women Warriors have had eight different head coaches over the past five years, as American Randy Waldrum was followed by Ross Russell, Richard Hood, Italian Carolina Morace, Jamaal Shabazz, Anton Corneal, Shawn Cooper, and Stephan De Four respectively. (Anthony Creece also served as a stand-in for one international exhibition tournament.)

The new head coach looks set to benefit from more funding than his or her predecessors.

Last September, Fifa promised its member associations additional funding through a new Women’s Development Programme, as well as a US$500,000 (TT$3.4 million) grant as part of its Covid-19 relief package.

James hopes that this windfall can help spark a revival in the fortunes of the Women Warriors.

The Development Programme includes free courses and mentorship programmes for active national coaches as well as ‘B’ and ‘A’ license coaches, uniforms for up to 12 league teams, and grants ranging between US$10,000 (TT$68,000) and US$50,000 (TT$340,000) per year for marketing, workshops, club licensing, and operating costs for a league competition.

James told the TTFA Media that the new funding should make it more realistic for the governing body to ‘introduce proper programmes’ for the women’s game.

At the helm, she hopes, will be a coach who will help push the Women Warriors in the right direction.

“Currently we are 65th in the Fifa ranking which is the lowest we have ever been in our history thus far,” said James, who is a former national player. “So we have to look at rebuilding and re-establishing ourselves as a powerhouse in the region. This coach has to have that passion, that drive that will be infectious to the women’s players and overall the women’s programme.

“And willing to work under some different circumstances but […] to push through…”

Trinidad and Tobago’s highest ever Fifa women’s ranking—since the introduction of the women’s ranking system in 2003—was 39th, which they occupied between 2004 and 2006. The Women Warriors were generally ranked between 40 and 48 ever since.

However, they plummeted to 72nd under the David John-Williams-led administration, before moving to 65th during the short-lived term of his successor, William Wallace.

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The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), which is being managed by a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee at present, has opened its door for applicants for the position of Women’s National Senior Team head coach.

Applicants are asked to submit their resume, contact information and a copy of all related documents by email to technical.ttfa@gmail.com, or send submissions to the TTFA’s headquarters at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva on or before Tuesday 19 January 2021. There was no minimum license or coaching experience provided by the local football body.

Coaches may contact 364-0489 for further information.

The Women Soca Warriors famously came within one result of a berth at the 2015 Canada Women’s World Cup. Since then, they have had eight coaches, as American Randy Waldrum was followed by Ross Russell, Richard Hood, Carolina Morace, Jamaal Shabazz, Anton Corneal, Shawn Cooper, and Stephan De Four respectively. (Anthony Creece also served as a stand-in for one international exhibition tournament.)

De Four steered the Women Warriors in the Olympic qualifying series in 2019, when Trinidad and Tobago were eliminated on home soil by St Kitts and Nevis at the Caribbean stage.

Hood, who is also the head coach of Pro League outfit Police FC, took the Women’s Under-20 Team to the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Concacaf Championship, while he got the senior women into the semifinal stage of the 2016 Concacaf Olympic qualifying series.

It is uncertain who would examine the coaching submissions since the normalisation committee, headed by chairman Robert Hadad, has so far not acknowledged the TTFA’s technical committee.

At present, the technical committee comprises of: Narvin Charles, Dale Toney, Michael Grayson and Ken Elie. Richard Piper, Jinelle James and Norris Ferguson are adjunct committee members who do not hold voting rights.

(Normalisation committee requirements for Women’s National Senior Team head coach)

Applicants for the position of head coach must be able to: lead training sessions, provide motivation and advice during gameplay, develop game plans, attend tryouts, schedule team meetings, and should be able to identify the individual abilities of each player.

They should be able to:

1. Be a member of the Association’s technical department;

2. Lead and manage a national team, including its player personnel and technical staff;

3. Aid in the selection of the player personnel of said national team;

4. Develop and implement the training programme of said national team and submit said programme to the Association’s technical director;

5. Report on the implementation of said programme to the Association’s technical director and technical committee, including the performance of player personnel and technical staff;

6. Assist in the training of programmes of other national teams and perform other technical assignments, as recommended by the Association’s technical director and technical committee.