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Non-payment of salaries by TTFA...Morace and staff hit the exit.

T&T’s Italian head coach of women’s football Carolina Morace is abandoning the once-promising local women’s programme, reportedly over three and a half month’s unpaid wages.

Reports are that Morace’s contract and those of her entire staff were “terminated by just cause,” and a letter with indication of that was sent to the T&T Football Association (TTFA) some time late last week. Morace broke the news to her players and local staff on Friday.

When contacted yesterday, TTFA communications manager Shaun Fuentes told Guardian Media Sports that the association’s president David John Williams has declined comment on the matter until he has been properly advised and met with the FA’s board of directors. Fuentes said an official statement would be made within the coming week.

The highly-qualified Morace was brought into the position with much fanfare along with a cadre of her own hand-picked coaches on December 7, 2016, including fellow Italians Manuela Tessa who has also since walked away from the job as head coach of the under 17 team and Elisabetta Bavagnoli. Morace also employed Englishwoman Nicola Williams as her senior team assistant and under 20 head coach. The quartet of coaches officially started duties in February of this year.

Williams (N) told Guardian Media Sports yesterday: “It was not something that we wanted to do, but rather something that we had to do.”

“We kept on giving them notice of the non-payment of salaries until we decided to give the TTFA a period of 15 days to pay, but they still did not respond, so we did what we had to do. It is sad.” Williams explained.

She made it clear however that their decision will now be followed by legal actions to recover the monies owed to them.

John Williams, when asked in March, told the media that monies to pay for the Women’s programme would come from the CONCACAF subvention and boasted of his administration’s prudent management of funds received from the world governing body for football—FIFA.

One source close to the women’s programme, speaking to Guardian Media Sports under the condition of strict anonimity hoped that there is an alternative resolution, saying: “At this time it is (beyond reconciliation) and I don’t know if the authorities could or if they want to reconcile.

“ I think Carolina is very open because it is not something that they want to do but because of circumstances, they are forced to.”

The departure of the overseas-based coaches has thrown the women’s programme into disarray with the T&T U-17s due to kick off their campaign in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Qualifiers at the end of August and the country to host the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifiers in January.

The Guardian Media Sports source added: “When they told the team, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room including them. That is to tell you how hard it was to make the decision. She does not want to leave.”

Morace is a former Italy international player and coached Canada’s senior women’s team at the 2011 World Cup and also holds a law degree.

Her previous job before coming to T&T was as Technical Director Men’s National Premier League Club Floreat Athena FC in Western Australia.


Carolina Morace is out, Jamaal Shabazz is in! TTFA appoints new women’s boss.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868).

Trinidad and Tobago National Youth Football Coordinator and Morvant Caledonia United head coach Jamaal Shabazz was today effectively appointed as technical director of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) women’s programme.

Shabazz’s new portfolio appears to mirror that of outgoing Italian coach Carolina Morace as he will serve as head coach of the Women’s National Senior Team and Under-20 Team and also oversee the Under-17 programme.

A TTFA statement said the decision was made today by its Board of Directors.

“Consistent with the contract terms of his engagement with the TTFA (Head of Programmes), the Board of the Association has appointed Mr Jamaal Shabazz to oversee the Women’s programme with immediate effect,” stated the TTFA, “and he will take charge of the Senior Women’s programme from tomorrow as well as the Under-20 Women’s programme.

“Mr Shabazz will also oversee the Under-17 Women’s programme with the assistance of coaches Joanne Daniel and Desiree Serjeant, who were understudies to Miss Morace and Miss Williams. The TTFA will appoint a full-time head coach of the Under-17 Team immediately following the Caribbean First Round of qualifiers to be played in Trinidad in August.”

The TTFA decision draws a line under the tenure of Morace and her team of Nicola Williams, Elisabetta Bavagnoli and Manuela Tesse. Morace tendered her resignation last Friday, claiming that her contract had been “terminated for just cause.”

Morace, a former Italy international and Canada World Cup coach, had another two years left on her deal with the TTFA but had allegedly gone unpaid for the last three months—supposedly on account of the local football body’s proposed method of payment through a third party, CONCACAF.

The TTFA, which is headed by president David John-Williams, declined comment on the reason for the departure of their much vaunted women’s coaching staff—after just under six months—but claimed that they tried hard to satisfy their former employees.

“No further details will be given at this time since we are under advisement from our attorneys in this regard,” stated the TTFA. “The TTFA, however, wants to go on record and state that every attempt was made (without their co-operation) to resolve whatever issues that may have appeared in the opinion of Miss Morace and Miss Williams that contributed to their departure.”

In their wake, Shabazz has been entrusted with the task of steering Trinidad and Tobago to the France 2019 Women’s Senior World Cup, the France 2018 Women’s Under-20 World Cup and the Colombia 2019 Women’s Under-17 World Cup.

Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to reach TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George and Shabazz for comment.

It is uncertain whether the position was offered to anyone else—Shabazz openly campaigned for John-Williams when he contested the post of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president last year—or if the coach will vacate his other two substantial portfolios to lead the women team’s full-time.

The TTFA is not believed to have a functioning technical committee at present after three members, including chairman Dexter Skeene and vice-chairman Dr Alvin Henderson, quit following the appointment of men’s coach Dennis Lawrence. A fourth member, Bertille St Clair, has not been attending meetings for health reasons, which leaves only Jinelle James and Muhammad Isa as active members.

Isa was appointed as technical director on the recommendation of John-Williams while James also holds a TTFA position as women’s team manager.

Latapy-George promised repeatedly to clarify whether the TTFA does indeed have a technical committee but to date has has failed to do so.

Shabazz, for his part, said he was thrilled to rejoin the women’s programme.

“It’s unbelievable that at this stage in my life, I would be back in the women’s game,” he told the TTFA Media. “Together with the current senior team, we gave our lives for this programme. The opportunity is there for us to complete a journey which we started together in 2000.

“We have a chance to continue to work hard for our country and ensure that this crop finishes their careers on a high note and that women’s football in our country reaches a milestone.”

The 53-year-old Shabazz was head coach of the Women’s National Senior Team between 1998 and 2011 when he stepped down to “make way for a new coach with fresh ideas.”

A Jamaat-al-Muslimeen member, Shabazz was involved in the 1990 insurrection and was once held for 53 days at the Miami Detention Centre after entering the United States with improper travel documents.

However, in matters of football, Shabazz holds a UEFA ‘B’ license and FIFA coach instructor’s license. He steered Caledonia to the Caribbean Championship title in 2012 while, a year earlier, he led Guyana to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semi-final round at the expense of the Soca Warriors.

He worked with several senior members of the current Women’s National Senior Team before, including Maylee Attin-Johnson, Ahkeela Mollon and Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, who all quit the side recently after fall-outs with Morace

TTFA mum on departure of women’s coach Morace.
T&T Newsday Reports.

THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) are remaining mum on a report on local sports website Wired 868, which stated that Italian- born Carolina Morace has left her roles as both coach of the national women’s team and head of the TT Women’s Team Programme.

“There is nothing further to say, so you’ll have to go with whatever you have,” said TTFA director of communications Shaun Fuentes, when contacted for a comment last evening. 

“The TTFA (are) unable to comment on that matter at this time.” According to the report, Morace allegedly informed the TTFA on Friday that she was leaving her post after six months, apparently over a lack of payment of salaries for herself and her assistant, English-born Australian Nicola Williams. 

In January, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, the TTFA announced a new coaching regime for the women’s team, headed by Morace, and including Williams, Elisabetta Bavagnoli and Manuela Tesse. 

However, Bavagnoli and Tesse quit their roles a couple months later, while Morace and Williams have decided to leave their posts. 

TTFA president David John-Williams and general secretary Justin Latapy-George were unavailable for comment yesterday.