Trinidad and Tobago women’s senior football team finds itself in another tailspin after American interim coach Constantine Konstin resigned on Monday and was replaced by former Soca Warriors skipper Kenwyne Jones, also in an interim position.
In this regard, we wish Jones, a former member of the 2006 Germany World Cup squad, the best in his endeavours, since he has a huge task ahead of him. The women’s team is preparing for the Concacaf World Cup and Gold Cup Qualifiers in February and Jones’ initial stint will involve two friendlies against Panama on October 21 and 25. He may thus be able to convince the TTFA, still managed by the Robert Hadad-led FIFA Normalisation Committee, that he has the wherewithal to take the team further.
Still, nothing seems certain with the Hadad-led committee and many football stakeholders will argue it is they who have brought the women’s team and general operation of football to another sad state. Indeed, reports suggest Konstin was forced out by the fortitude of the players and coaching staff rebelling over the Normalisation Committee’s decision to appoint him in the first place.
Konstin was a Futsal expert with no experience outside that realm and under his tenure, the T&T Futsal team lost all four games at the 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championships in May, scoring eight goals while conceding 25. The Unified Football Coaches of T&T and Women’s League of Football (WoLF) had voiced concern over his appointment and the lack of consultation by the committee before selecting him. This was not the first time the committee’s modus operandi in hiring technical staff was questioned either. Albeit Konstin, himself a surprise replacement after Welshman James Thomas stunningly quit earlier this month, resigned after one day, it may now actually force the committee to engage in a more rigorous recruitment process that involves all stakeholders.
On that note, we turn to the FIFA Normalisation Committee’s approach since being given the responsibility to rejuvenate T&T’s football. Appointed for a two-year period last March by FIFA to implement a debt repayment plan for the TTFA, there is no evidence that Mr Hadad’s team is anywhere close to clearing that debt, last estimated at $98.5 million. In fact, some debtors have complained about the tactics of the committee as they seek to recoup the monies owed to them. It is worthy to note here that when FIFA appointed Hadad’s team to replace the dissolved William Wallace-led TTFA, the debt was estimated at $50 million.
There is also growing evidence that the committee’s relationship with the sport’s stakeholders is growing further apart as they all seek to put T&T back on a steady football footing. This is because stakeholders have argued that the committee operates outside of its financial remit by influencing decisions in the technical and other areas of the TTFA’s affairs which are, in turn, hurting the attempts to revive the T&TFA. This latest fiasco with the women’s team is one such example.
Needless to say, if Hadad and his team are unable to do the job they were appointed to do efficiently and effectively, they should do the honourable thing, like Konstin, and pass the ball on now.