A menace on the football field, known for her speed, agility and scoring ability, Kennya Cordner, more commonly known as “Yaya,” has described her 2019 season as tough, however, she says 2020 is loading for the unleash of the #Yayamonsta2.0.
Cordner was recently presented with the golden boot as the top scorer in Norway for her new club, IL Sandviken, in just her second season there. Cordner’s exploits in the Toppserien – Norway’s top flight – did not go unnoticed and she was nominated for Player of the Year. Although not winning the big award on December 2, Cordner’s season was no fluke and the result of hard work and perseverance.
“I’ve been working a lot this year on my finishing and to accomplish such a goal. It’s really an overwhelming feeling because I did put my mind to something this year, hence the reason why I went out on Tuesdays when we had individual practice, to work on my finishing and it did pay off. So, to see that it paid off and I accomplished 17 goals in 22 matches... it’s an overwhelming feeling,” she told Newsday in an interview at the Gulf City Mall in Lowlands on Wednesday.
The experienced 31-year-old dedicated the award to her aunt Penny, who died in 2018 but was extremely close to her.
“I did it for her, she was my number one supporter... she’s been there for me my entire life. I lived with her for most of my life, pretty much, and she’s been there from day one, supporting me, going and coming, and to lose her...
“The day I got the news that she died, I just dropped everything and screamed out in the entire stadium full of people and from that day, it’s just like I lost a big part of my life, knowing that I can’t just pick up the phone and say, ‘Aunty look, look what your niece did.’
“It still hurts but she wouldn’t want me to be sad.”
Cordner described her 2019 season as one of mixed emotions and revealed she wanted to quit during the season but convinced herself to stick it out. “It’s been both up and down for me because in the middle of the season I wanted to leave the club, basically because I didn’t like how things were going. I said to myself, you know what, you’re already there for the long haul so just stay and stick it out, continue to pray because you know your faith is always first, so anything you ask God for He will fulfil it, and just continue to do your best.”
Cordner said after chatting with her mother she was able to refocus and put in her best performances.
“I spoke to my mum (Cheryl Johnson) and she was like... ‘Stay and stick it out.’ From the first half of the season and when the second half started, I just blocked out everything and just focused on what I have to do on the field and it turned over for me pretty much and it went well from July straight into November.”
Cordner, who has played in Sweden, Australia, Paraguay and the US, is currently home spending time with her family and friends. She is expected to leave on December 29 to head back to Norway.
The uncertainty and unhappiness from last season is now a thing of the past and Cordner is itching to get back on the field in Norway.
“I’m leaving to go back to play with my team in Norway, IL Sandviken to go and do big things again,” she said.
Questioned if she would ever reconsider playing for TT again, Cordner, a two-time TT footballer of the year, said, “At the end of the day, I won’t mind playing for my country but if they don’t have things in place, I would never set foot back on field to play for them.
“I’ve been doing this for how many years, and they didn’t really take care of me...Me coming from Tobago and practising, training hard and going out on the field and doing everything and they didn’t put anything in place for us, the Tobagonians, it was unfair. Hence the reason why I had to walk away in 2017 and no one knew the reason why, it was because the TTFA then made it seem like I was disrespectful to the coach (Carolina Morace), when it was never about that.”
She added, “If things are put in place and things are right, definitely I would represent the red, white and black again.”