Trinidad and Tobago senior national women's footballers will twice play the Mexican national women's team in August, while on a 30-day training camp in Houston, Texas, under new national coach, American Randy Waldrum.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips said Waldrum's recruitment is one of several steps the TTFA are making to have the team qualify for next year's FIFA World Cup in Canada.
Phillips also revealed that Waldrum offered to work with the TTFA for free during next month’s Women Caribbean Cup—until a later arrangement can be worked out-- and also that long-serving former national coach Marlon Charles had turned down the post of technical director as well as the first assistant position following Waldrum's recruitment.
"Marlon Charles was first offered the women's technical director position. He turned that down and expressed a desire to be still involved in the coaching," Phillips declared. "We also gave him the opportunity to work with Randy as the first assistant. He accepted that, then several days later, we began hearing that he decided to resign. There was a very real and sincere attempt to retain Marlon in the programme and he decided to resign."
Charles is a pioneer of the women's programme, having joined from its infancy many years ago. He apparently had no problem working with Waldrum, having done so as his assistant on the national under-17 women's team.
However, the Express understands Charles was upset about the manner in which things had been done by the TTFA, having to find out second hand information, including Waldrum's return.
When contacted, Charles said it takes two to make a fight, and he preferred not have a public fight with his former bosses, the TTFA. “Coaches change,” Charles nonchalantly declared, when speaking briefly to the Express. “My time will come.”
Phillips added that as unfortunate as things had developed, Trinidad & Tobago never the less had a unique opportunity to become the first Caribbean women's team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.
The expansion of the competition from 16 to 24 teams could see the North, Central American and Caribbean region having as many as five representatives at the 2015 FIFA World Cup.
Canada comes in as host, while CONCACAF’s qualifying tournament will award three direct tickets to the World Cup and a fourth CONCACAF team will reach a play-off with a South American rival.
“It is believed by many in the CONCACAF region that the present women’s national team is facing its most promising chance to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Canada in August 2015,” the TTFA stated in a release.
"We have a fantastic coach who is willing to come in because he sees this as an adventure to become a part of history," Phillips added. "It is an extraordinary opportunity to become the first Caribbean team to qualify for a women's World Cup. We can't keep doing the same things every time and expect different results. We have made a conscious effort to give the team as much resources as possible to qualify for the World Cup and this is just a part of the process."