THE TT Football Association (TTFA) is set to make another short-term coaching appointment for the national women’s team, as they continue their quest for qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The TT women’s squad will participate in the eight-team CONCACAF Women’s Championship in the United States from October 4-17.
TT have been drawn in Group A, alongside hosts United States, Mexico and Panama, with Canada, Cuba, Jamaica and Panama listed in Group B.
The finalists, and the third-placed finishers, will advance to the World Cup, with the fourth-placed team progressing to a home-and-away playoff with the third-placed South American (CONMEBOL) team.
Richard Quan Chan, head of the TTFA technical department, said in an interview yesterday, a decision about the coaching position was made during a meeting last Wednesday involving president David John-Williams, general secretary Justin Latapy-George and technical director Anton Corneal — who coached the team during the recent CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers (final round group) in Kingston, Jamaica. “We have not yet informed the person we have selected,” said Quan Chan. “I prefer that we tell him first and (the media) after.”
Quan Chan pointed out, “It is an appointment up till the end of the qualifiers. After that we’ll have to sit with the entire group and look at what is going to happen, based on qualification. And, (depending on) what happened in the tournament, we might then look for a long-term coach to prepare for the next sets of tournaments.”
The TTFA technical department head stressed that it may be too tough a task for a new coach to get acclimatised with the players, with less than a month before the start of the CONCACAF Championship.
“At this point, to bring in a coach with three weeks till the start of the tournament, somebody who is totally new, is not always the best thing,” he said. “I don’t know how well somebody can acquaint themselves with the group, as it exists.
“We prefer if it’s somebody who is acquainted or who knows them,” he added. “After (the CONCACAF qualifiers), he would be in line for any appointment we’ll make.”
Corneal and Shawn Cooper, who served as his assistant in Jamaica, are the potential candidates for the TT women’s team coaching role. Corneal, the former national striker and Under-17 men’s team coach, admitted this issue may have an effect on the players’ morale.
“It could affect the team,” Corneal said yesterday. “How strong do you want the girls to really be? I’m sure this is probably not the only issue that they have to deal with.”
Cooper conducted a session with the team yesterday morning, and Corneal noted, “He has experience, so I trust him that he’ll have a good idea.
Of course, we do consult each other as fellow coaches.”
However, Corneal, the former men’s team assistant coach, lamented the fact that no practice games have yet been arranged for the team ahead of their next stage of World Cup qualifiers.
Corneal, who admitted recently he has been unpaid by the TTFA for the past few months, is still performing his duties as the technical director. “I’m doing it,” he said, regarding his portfolio as technical director. “Whatever is requested of me, I have to do it, in the capacity of what I can do.
“I’m not in a position to travel around, but if the (general secretary) would need any information, I’m happy to reply to anything that I can help with. I don’t go down to (the) office, if they need any information, they would call me.” He stressed, “I work from home. I want to give them time to rectify my situation.”