Sidebar

04
Mon, Jul

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner will not feature in next month’s Concacaf W Championship qualifiers. (via TTFA Media)
Typography

Experienced senior women’s football duo Maylee Attin-Johnson and Turkey-based Kennya “Yaya” Cordner will play no part in this country’s Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifiers which kicks off next month for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The local women team, coached by former national senior men’s captain Kenwyne Jones, is set to open their campaign against Nicaragua on February 17 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo in Group F of the qualifiers.

Three days later, T&T takes on Dominica in Guyana while they also play  Guyana, and the Turks and Caicos Islands in pool play.

However, speaking following a training scrimmage against the Under-20 women’s team coach by Jason Spence at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Saturday, Jones confirmed the omission of both veteran players as well as the departure of assistant coach Charlie Mitchell from the technical staff.

Both players were last part of the senior women’s team for a two-match tour of the Dominican Republic last November, both facing the media yesterday, Jones, a former English Premier League striker with Stoke City said confirmed their omissions.

With regards to the departure of assistant coach Mitchell who has left to take up the head coaching of the Sheffield United U-23s and head of another department.

Jones said, “Mitchell has been a terrific asset to us here in T&T and unfortunately I guess his contractual situation didn’t give him more permanence and he decided to take on this opportunity it’s unfortunate for us but we are working very quickly to fill the gap and that will be done pretty soon.

Pressed about the absence of 35-year-old Attin-Johnson who made her senior debut back in 2002 and was part of three of the recent warm-up matches, Jones while not explaining reasons for her omission from the squad, replied, "She has been a fantastic servant for T&T and she should be rewarded in that regard as she has done a lot for the women’s game and I personally do wish her well.

"Hopefully, she can reintegrate herself in some capacity in the future but as for now, the programme is going in a different direction.

With regards to her axing, Jones made it clear that it was a coaching decision and it was within his remit along with his coaching staff to be able to make decisions on what is best for the programme.

He added, "Like I said she has been a fantastic servant and we do respect that but we also have to think about the entire program  not only where we are today and where we want to be next week, but also for the next ten years.”

“I do thank her for her will and commitment but at this point in time we are going to go in a different direction

Questioned about 33-year-old Cordner who made her senior national debut in 2006 and has netted 46 goals for T&T. She is also the reigning senior women's "Footballer of the Year".

Jones stated that the Tobago-born Cordner who plies her trade with Fenerbache in the Turkish Women’s Football League has stated that she will not be in the team.

"Apparently she has stated such, but nothing was done to Ms Cordner by us, and again this is T&T national team and we are going to continue to work for and to work hard to represent T&T national team and there is an opportunity for us to find gems and develop gems for the future so again even with her we wish her well, she has been a fantastic servant and maybe in the future, she will be honoured by the association as well because we do have to respect our players and athletes in that manner and hopefully as well for her they will find a way to reintegrate and give herself back to T&T football."

Asked if there are any regrets over the two players being omitted Jones said absolutely not.

He added, “At the end of the day, you have to have a squad to qualify for tournaments and it is not going to be one player or ten players only so it gives the opportunity for other players to come to the foe and to be the future of T&T football.

“At the end of the day, I think a lot of things when I came on board needed to change and that took some time, did some analysis and hopefully going forward for today and for the World Cup qualification process the programmes of women’s football and how we continue to build and recycle and regurgitate talent that in itself we have to think about.

"For far too long, we have never thought about succession planning and how we are going to develop talent and bring in or introduce the younger talent." 

Happy with work of players in training

With T&T set to play its first match next month, Jones said the World Cup qualifiers are here and they have been working pretty well with the group that is here locally.

“We were trying to have a camp this January so we would have a couple of games, but unfortunately that didn’t come off so we had to make some improvisations and this morning (Saturday) we had a little scrimmage with the U-20 women which went pretty well.

“So, so far with the ladies that are here we have been working pretty well and we are just waiting until the qualifiers to get everybody else in." 

With respect to the warm-up against the U-20s, Jones said he honestly believes that these scrimmages are mainly to test the ability of the players to carry out a specific task that is set out for them to do.

“And we got it coming probably 15 minutes into the first third of the match (30 minutes periods), but more than enough I am trying to see us control games and be able to control the possession and tempo of the games which I thought we got better at.”

“This morning (Saturday), we all know that the sun was pretty hot so the tempo of the game varied at times but I am satisfied with what I saw this morning from this group."

Despite his satisfaction with the players in the session, Jones admitted that it was unfortunate that 95 per cent of the squad is out of the country. However, he still praised the players for their commitment saying: “The ladies that are here have been working well and we continue to ask them to work well because it is important that we help grow our base here in Trinidad.

“Notwithstanding the fact that of course if not all most of them can make it into the squad when you have players that are obviously of professional calibre outside and have been constantly playing in college seasons and whatnot of course you are going to have a look.

“So determining the final team for the qualifiers, we will have to do that very shortly, but I’m happy with the overall work.

"We should be getting into camp at the beginning of the international window on the 12th to be prepared for that game on the 17th."

RELATED NEWS

‘We’re going in a different direction’; Kenwyne confirms Maylee exit—along with Cordner and asst coach.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868).


Women’s National Senior Team head coach Kenwyne Jones suggested today that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) should consider recognising and rewarding former Women Soca Warriors captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and star forward Kennya ‘Yaya’ Cordner for their tremendous service to the local game.

Neither player, though, will be rewarded with a place in his team for the upcoming 2022 Concacaf W Championship, which serves as a qualifying competition for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Two weeks ago, a brief flurry of social media posts suggested that all was not right between the head coach and two of his senior players. Today, with a few gracious words for both parties, Jones confirmed a parting of the ways.

He made it clear, though, that it was his call to end the 35-year-old Attin-Johnson’s immediate international career.

“It was a coaching decision,” said Jones. “It is in my remit and our remit to make decisions that are best for the programme. She has been a fantastic servant and we do respect that, but we have to think about the entire programme—not only where we are today and where we want to be next week but also for the next 10 years.

“We do thank her for her will and commitment but at this point in time we are going to go in a different direction.”

Attin-Johnson, a versatile midfielder with an eye for a pass and a tenacious spirit, has not represented the two-island republic in competitive international football since the 2016 Concacaf Championship under then head coach Richard Hood—the Women Warriors finished as defeated semifinalists in the competition.

Since then, Attin-Johnson, a key player in the team’s 2015 Fifa World Cup qualifying adventure, fell out with Italian head coach Carolina Morace, declined an invitation from Morace’s successor, Jamaal Shabazz, and was overlooked by subsequent head coaches Shawn Cooper and Stephan De Four.

However, Attin-Johnson rejoined the national set-up under Welshman James Thomas last year and appeared to still have something to offer on the field, running out under Thomas’ successor, Jones.

In three practice games last year, Jones used Attin-Johnson in the ‘number 10’ role for 267 from a possible 270 minutes. So what changed?

Jones was unwilling to say any more.

“We do thank her for her commitment, for her drive and for what she has done for women’s football,” he said, when asked to explain his decision.

Cordner’s departure appears to have been a response to the fracture between Jones and Attin-Johnson.

Jones, a 2006 World Cup player and former England Premier League forward, said the 33-year-old Cordner had not been dropped but had made herself unavailable.

“Nothing was done to Ms Cordner,” said Jones. “Again, we do wish her well and hope she has all success in the future—but we have to continue.”

Cordner, who plays professionally for Fenerbahçe in the Turkey Women’s Super League, was Trinidad and Tobago’s 2021 Women’s Player of the Year and is one of the country’s all-time top goalscorers. Her 39 international goals are four shy of the record set by her former teammate, Natasha St Louis.

If Cordner has turned down the chance to represent her country because of Attin-Johnson’s omission, there is precedent. In 2018, she refused to play in Trinidad and Tobago’s final group match of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship as a mark of protest against coach Cooper’s sparing use of another teammate, Lauryn Hutchinson.

Cooper denied victimising Hutchinson who, ironically, was   substituted early in the same match, lasting just 33 minutes before hobbling off with an ankle injury.

“This is Trinidad and Tobago’s national team; we are going to continue to work hard to represent Trinidad and Tobago’s national team,” he said. “There is an opportunity for us to find gems and develop gems for the future. So again, even with her, we wish her well.

“She has been a fantastic servant and maybe in the future she should be honoured by the Association as well, because we do have to honour our athletes in that manner. And hopefully she can find a way to reintegrate with Trinidad and Tobago’s football in some capacity.”

Cordner was one of eight players who have started in every game under Jones so far, against Panama and the Dominican Republic (twice each). It means the rookie coach will have to try new combinations in the competition.

“Absolutely not,” said Jones, when asked if he regretted not using more players in their four practice games. “It gives an opportunity [now] for other players to come to the fore and be the future of Trinidad and Tobago football.

“[…] For far too long, we have not thought about succession planning and how we are going to bring in and introduce the younger talent. That is something that we have to do.”

Trinidad and Tobago host Nicaragua in their Group F opener on 17 February before they face Dominica in Guyana on 20 February. They then tackle the Turks and Caicos Islands and Guyana on 9 and 12 April respectively. Only the group winner will advance to the Concacaf W Championship.

There will be at least one more significant absence from the team. Assistant coach and analyst Charlie Mitchell, like his Welsh compatriot, Thomas, has also vacated his TTFA post.

“He has taken up an opportunity to become the head coach of Sheffield United’s Under-23 and the head of another department [there],” said Jones. “He has been a terrific asset for us here in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately I guess his contractual situation didn’t give him more permanence and he decided to take up this opportunity.

“It is unfortunate for us but we are working to fill the gap very quickly and that will be done pretty soon.”

Jones’ team played the Women’s National Under-20 Team, coached by Jason Spence, in a scrimmage today and won by at least a half-dozen goals.

The Senior Women played in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which morphed into a 4-2-1-3 when the full-backs bombed forward and the wide midfielders tucked close to the centre-forward.

Maya Matouk featured upfront for the Women’s Warriors and was among the goals, while former Pleasantville Secondary stand-out Jasandra ‘Mama’ Joseph started alongside captain Karyn ‘Baby’ Forbes in central midfield.

“I am trying to see us control games, control the possession of the game and the tempo of the game, which I thought we got better at,” said Jones. “I am satisfied with what I saw this morning from this group.

“Unfortunately for this squad, 95 percent of the squad, I would think, are out of the country. Most of the [ladies] who are here are working well and we continue to ask them to work well because it is important that we grow our base here in Trinidad.

“[…] I am happy with the overall work.”

Jones hopes that the strength of the group will take the Women Warriors through the Concacaf qualifying phase.

“The strength of our team is going to be our team play,” he said. “Yes, we will have individuals who can do some sort of magic and get us a result. In games, you have a goalkeeper at some point in time making a save, or a defender making a tackle or a midfielder making a final pass or a striker scoring a goal.

“These are moments that you have in a game. But at the end of the day, it is going to be our overall team play—how we work as a team in defence, in offence, in transition, that will determine how well we do and how we go forward.”

Trinidad and Tobago veteran duo part ways with women's team.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).


AFTER rejoining the national women’s senior football team just a few months ago it seems that Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner will not be part of the team in the near future.

Attin-Johnson and Cordner along with other senior players have made themselves available again after a long hiatus. Lauryn Hutchinson is another player who made a return to the squad.

Attin-Johnson returned in September and Cordner followed shortly after. The pair played in a few friendly matches for T&T during recent months.

News has been circulating in recent weeks that there may be issues in the T&T women’s camp with the likes of Attin-Johnson and Cordner at the centre of it.

Speaking to the media following a practice match against the T&T women’s Under-20 team, Jones said, “In terms of Maylee she has been a fantastic servant for T&T (and) she should be rewarded, honoured in that regard. She has done a lot for the women’s game and I personally do wish her well.”

Jones, questioned more about the absence of Attin-Johnson, said, “It was a coaching decision. It is in my remit and our remit to be able to make decisions that is best for the programme. Like I said she has been a fantastic servant and I do respect that, but we also have to think about the entire programme not only where we are today and where we want to be next week but also for the next ten years. Like I say we do thank her for her will, her commitment but at this point in time we are going to go in a different direction.”

Jones did not give any further details when asked if it was a tactical decision why Attin-Johnson is no longer with the squad.

Asked about Cordner’s absence, Jones said, “Nothing was done to Miss Cordner. We do wish her well. I hope that she has all success in the future, but we have to continue. Again, this is T&T’s national team. We are going to continue to work and work hard to represent T&T’s national team and there is an opportunity for us to find gems and develop gems for the future so again even with her we wish her well as well.”

Jones said Cordner should be honoured by the TT Football Association.

He said this will give other players a chance to prove themselves. Attin-Johnson and Cordner are two experienced players who would have been an asset as T&T aim to qualify for the FIFA Women’s 2023 World Cup.

Assistant coach and analyst Charlie Mitchell has also left the T&T women’s set up to accept a job offer with Sheffield Utd in England.

Jones said Mitchell was a “terrific asset” to T&T women’s football.