THE TTFA (Trinidad and Tobago Football Association)/NLCB Elite Girls Development programme is into high gear as the FA continues to focus on the development of its youngest group of players currently being prepared for future engagements.
Marlon Charles, who was the assistant coach of the Under-20 Women’s national team and is also a TTFA coaching instructor, is currently overseeing the Girls Elite programme with veteran player Ahkeela Mollon serving as assistant coach.
The Under-13 girls training up to three times per week at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva and will form the next national Under-15 team. Simultaneously, the Elite Under 14 Boys programme is ongoing with similar sessions during the week at the Home of Football under Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
“This programme comes out of Zonal screening held in the zones in which we selected the players for the current pool. We have been working on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays trying to get the players up to point technically. There is a lot of work to be done. A lot of times we think that these girls comes with a lot which is a not always the case but we’re working on getting them up to satisfactory level,” Charles said.
“We are trying to improve their passing and controlling of the ball, getting them to be comfortable, be able to run properly, handle the ball well. We are working on their coordination skills,” he said.
“Football is four components – technique, tactical, fitness and mental.”
Pointing out to the amount of work that needs be done on player development prior to players coming into the national programme, Charles said this was “being addressed with the coach education programme where the TTFA is now developing coaches through its licensed coaching courses.”
Charles credited the TTFA for starting the process at this Under-13 age group level with a consistent development programme where just under 40 players are in training.
“We have to start somewhere. I think the FA has to take a lot of credit for this. You just don’t blame the national teams or the FA but there is a lot of work that the coaching schools and academies need to do with players in the early stages.
“Everything is time. We want to get into the nutritional part of it, proper fitness, the psychological side of things and how to the body should recover, all crucial elements and step by step we are introducing this to the players,” Charles added.