Women's football in Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Caribbean was given a tremendous boost when the local Federation announced on Friday that it had signed world renowned coach Even Pellerud on a four-year contract to serve as director of women's football development programme.
Pellerud, a Norwegian, is highly respected worldwide having coached the 1995 Norway Women's World Cup-winning team. Pellerud, who also led Canada's Under-20 women's team to World Cup silver in 2002, sports an impressive resume, including being national women's team coach of Norway (1989-1996) and Canada (2000-2008). He was also director of Canada's national team programme from 2000 to the present time. This was all revealed at at a media conference hosted by the T&T Football Federation at the Crowne Plaza.
During his tenure he led the Norway team to lift the World Cup in 1995, second-place in the 1991 World Cup and bronze at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, while he oversaw Canada to a fourth place finish in the 2003 edition of the World Cup.
Pellerud, the 1995 Norway Coach of the Year, said his main goal would be to make sure the host country makes it out of the preliminary stages of the U17 Women's World Cup next year.
"My aim is to take this team out of the first round and into the quarter-final stages of the competition. That is the main objective and I hope that would be the goal of the staff and players," said the 55-year-Pellerud, who speaks fluent English and was very excited to take on this "new adventure, new challenge".
He had been in Trinidad earlier this year and intends now to ensure that the T&T U-17 team engages in the best possible training scheme before next year’s tournament. He noted that no other overseas personnel will be added to his technical staff.
He will spend the next few weeks here before returning to Canada to tie up some personal business and then return to these shores. Meantime, Jamaal Shabazz was appointed as his assistant while Keith Look Loy was credited with having done the homework on behalf of the TTFF leading to Pelarud’s appointment.
The Norwegian, who was compared favourably to Leo Beenhaker-who took T&T to the 2006 World Cup-by Shabbaz added that the female team would need to gel and increase their skill and tactical knowledge over the next year, as well as play a host of matches locally and overseas to raise their level and attain the goal of a quarter-final appearance.
Pellerud, who only considered taking the job after taking a break following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said the hiring of a full-time female coach "was a major step in the right direction".
TTFF special adviser and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said his organisation "hired the number one and best female coach in the world" and that his four-year tenure was part of the local federation's strategic plan for football nationwide.
"It's part of the whole thrust of development of football of the TTFF," stated the CFU and CONCACAF president, who also revealed that the cost of running all TTFF programmes, excluding the South Africa 2010 World Cup campaign, was approximately $16 million.
Warner also revealed that he and Minister of Sport Gary Hunt held a cordial meeting yesterday morning when they agreed to put their political agendas aside and discuss the way forward for the sport, the Trinidad Express reported.
"I think the Minister finally gave me the respect I deserved and I reciprocated," he said.
Where the site visit is concerned, an eight-member delegation headed by FIFA's Head of Women's Competition, Tatjana Haenni, touch down in Trinidad on February 22. (Jan 16,2008)
T&T Women's U17 Technical Squad--Even Pellerud (head coach), Richard Hood (assistant coach), Jefferson George (goalkeeper coach), Jinelle James (manager), Ricarda Nelson (assistant manager), Nicole Kistow (physiotherapist), Chris Bailey (fitness trainer), Claire George (equipment manager).
T&T Women's U17 short list--Brittany Farah, Gabrielle Jardine, Samantha Kissoon (Providence); Kerchel Torres, Keri Meyers (Holy Faith Convent); Doniscia Marlow, Akilah Sparks, Sherneice Jadoo, Patrice Vincent, Linfa Jones, Kayla Taylor (Debe High School); Khadisha Debesette, Khadidra Debesette (Vessigny); Marlique Asson, Victoria Swift (Miracle Ministries); Sharlette Alexander (Carapichaima); Tonietta Phillip (ASJA); Brittany Prescott (San Juan Girls RC); Rehana Omardeen (International School); Teneisha Cobham (Point Fortin Jr Sec); Akilah Thomas, Akanki Thomas (Fyzabad Anglican); Jonelle Warwick (Bishop's East); Jo Marie Lewis (Mucurapo Sr); Patrice Arden-Campbell, Camille Borneo (El Dorado Secondary); Gabrielle Onischick (St Joseph's Convent); Anika Walker (Maple Leaf).