Retainers coming for women footballers

During a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva yesterday, which served to launch the TT women’s football team programme, John-Williams revealed, “the Association is looking at contracting women players so that they’ll be full-time in the game and we can make a serious push for qualification at the Under-20 World Cup and the (Women’s) World Cup.

“The opportunity presents itself now for Trinidad and Tobago to really support the women’s programme.

But more important, Carolina’s stay goes beyond the national team. She’s going to be involved in grassroots programmes, she’s going to be involved in coaching education for the women’s programme.

It’s going to be a holistic approach.” Asked about the contracting process, John-Williams replied, “Carolina is evaluating the players right now and she’ll shortlist (some) players. As soon as we get that shortlist, we’ll put things in motion for that.” The TT FA has been under fire for their financial shortcomings within the past decade. But John-Williams noted, “it’s all part of our budget exercise. The TT FA, it’s no secret, is in a lot of debt but there are certain revenues that are available to the TT FA.” He pointed out, “I’m happy to say Government hasn’t given the TT FA any monies for the past five months and that is because of prudent management, fund-raising exercises, getting back our FIFA grants and channelling our monies in a proper way.” The 52-year-old Morace, who has a record of 105 goals in 150 internationals between 1978-1997, has coached both her native Italy and Canada. Her previous job was as technical director of Australian Men’s Premier League Club Floreat Athena.

A holder of a law degree, she was the first woman to be inducted in the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Other members of her technical staff include Nicola Williams, a 34-year-old England-born Australian midfielder who will be the Under-20 coach and women’s team assistant; and Elisabetta Bavagnoli, a 53-year-old former Italy defender/ midfielder who also worked with Morace with the Italy and Canada teams. Bavagnoli will be the assistant for both Women’s and Under-20 teams.

Morace noted that John-Williams convinced her to leave Australia to take up her new role.

“He presented a good project, he showed me that he wants to develop the women’s programme and he believe in the women’s programme,” Morace said. “We’ve started our first camp. The process was, first of all, to select (the) players.

The selection of the national team is always open.” Stating she has a group of 32-33 players, Morace noted, “we started with a physical test because we want to see where the players are at this moment. From that, we want to start our physical programme.

In this country there is a lot of potential.

“There are many who are fit and that’s really important in football.

We finished the test for the senior team. We are surprised because some of them are already at a very good level so they can just improve on where they are.” She continued, “this year we would not have any official competition so it will force us to get experience, to organise a lot of friendly matches, and to participate in some tournaments.” With regards to the friendly games, John-Williams suggested, “FIFA does not allow a friendly in a World Cup qualifier. It’s our intention to play Ecuador after the World Cup qualifying game against Mexico. I’ve spoke to Carolina about it and she said that’s enough time to prepare a team. As I said FIFA does not allow a curtain- raiser and we still have to get permission to see if we can play a double-header on that day. If we do get the permission from FIFA, it will be a bumper match.” Morace lauded the attitude of the TT players. “I have their attention, they want to learn (and) they learn quick. That has excited me in a positive way. They have to work a lot but they are ready (physically).” She insisted that her stay will be a useful one. “I’m not here on holiday.

I came from one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

From Italy I moved to Australia. It is another beautiful country. They have beaches too.

“We really didn’t have the time to go around. Before we go to relax we need to do some jobs. One of our jobs is to go to Tobago because we need to (see) players,” she ended.


"Retainers coming for women footballers"

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