The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association hosted a symposium entitled “Situation Analysis of Women’s football in Trinidad and Tobago” at the Home of Football, Ato Boldon Stadium today.
The forum was led by TTFA Technical Director Anton Corneal with National Men’s team head coach Dennis Lawrence, Under 15 National Girls Team and Elite Development head coach Marlon Charles, TTFA Vice President Joanne Salazar and Women’s League President Sharon O’Brien among those present. Coaches attached to local women clubs were also in attendance.
According to Corneal, the forum was a critical step in identifying some of the areas that need addressing as it relates to the development of the women’s game in this country.
“What we did today was a situation analysis of where we are now, where we are planning to be and the implementation of what needs to be done. It’s a really circle to come right back around, to improve the level of the game… to grow the amount of women playing the game. We had a coaches who have coached in women’s football over the years, Vice President Joanne Salazar was here and there was also a representation from WOLF, the Women’s Football League,” Corneal told TTFA Media.
“We touched on different areas such as grassroots and areas we can look at including schools, academies,zones, shorelines, youth football, league systems and other areas All of this will be supported by our coach education programme, There is not enough women in football and not enough competitive women’s football and we are looking to address this,”Corneal added.
Salazar expressed satisfaction with the forum and left with a feeling of optimism regarding the direction the TTFA is taking with regards to women’s football development.
“What happened today is so profound. It actually sets a new benchmark for us in terms of planning and preparation for the development of the women’s game. It highlighted a lot of challenges but it has not highlighted any challenge that we cannot deal with. The most important thing with challenges is knowing that they’re there and being prepared to work around them. Wit the passion, excitement and the commitment that I heard from the people here today I couldn’t help but be moved and also be motivated and moved to action,” Salazar stated.
She commented on the approach that was necessary to enable this country to compete with the rest of Concacaf on the international and regional level.
“First of all you have to get your grassroots and youth correct. When you’ve got that sound, it then builds a momentum… . the girls are accustomed playing together, they are familiar with each other’s play, they are familiar with each other’s challenges and they’ve built the right physical strength. And really, the people we are competing against when we come out of the Caribbean, they are actually playing together four to six months of the year. They are not coming together like we do to prepare for a particular tournament and do our best in the tournament, They have got a psyche that is common amongst them because of the familiarity and frequency at which they play and that is what we need to get to as well,” Salazar added.
The TTFA Vice President mentioned that the FA will look at creative ways to improve funding for the development of women’s football.
“I see us putting things in place. Funding is always a ticklish area. We are going to redouble our efforts to actually identify the particular funding but we are also going to look at creative ways at making it happen. So for instance, there is a vast corporate social responsibility programme that our corporate sector gets involved in and there are some very low cost items that we can encourage them to provide us which will enable games to go ahead. For instance, movable goals, cones, simple items of equipment that makes the difference in having a properly regulated game. So yes, funding is always tricky, yes we are going to double our efforts but we are also going to look at what creative ways are available to us to enable the games to go ahead,” Salazar concluded.