Dr. Joseph: ‘Perhaps I moved too quickly for the current leadership of the GFF’
- GFF and Women’s team coach part ways after four years
Coach of the Guyana’s Senior National Women’s football team, Dr. Ivan Joseph, has expressed disappointment as his four-year tenure came to end at the weekend, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) announced on Monday.
“The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) extended its gratitude to Dr. Ivan Joseph on Saturday as he concluded a successful four-year tenure in charge of the Senior Women’s National Team,” the GFF said in a press release.
“Joseph, who took up the post on a voluntary basis in 2018, made great strides in moving the women’s programme forward despite significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. His efforts resulted in an impressive 66% win ratio with the senior and U-20 women’s teams in international competitions.”
While the GFF did not explicitly state the reason(s) for the move, the release included a quote by Dr. Joseph that read: “I am disappointed that the GFF has elected to move in a different direction with the leadership of the women’s football programme.”
“However, I am extremely proud of the efforts and performance our Lady Jags have accomplished during our tenure. Coaching the U-20 ladies to the final eight in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and our recent near miss in getting to the final eight of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifiers are results our staff and team are proud of accomplishing,” he added.
“A special thank you to the domestic based players and local coaches who have elevated the women’s game to a significant level in Guyana over a very short time,” he said. “The best is yet to come.”
‘I would have like to continue’
Efforts by local media operatives to get clarity on the reason(s) for the move by GFF to part ways with Dr. Joseph were unsuccessful on Monday.
In response to several queries in the ‘GFF Media’ official WhatsApp group, Keeran Williams of the GFF Communication Department posted: “Don’t have any other details other than what’s in the release at the moment but will query.”
However, News Room Sport reached out to Dr. Joseph following the announcement by the GFF.
He pointed out that while there were “issues and challenges” that needed to be addressed to guarantee a successful programme, he was keen to continue in the role.
“I was disappointed in not being able to continue. I thought the team was building momentum. We brought in several new recruits. We just spent two training camps together tuning player roles and developing an identity as a programme. I would have like to continue in the role, but there were issues and challenges I needed addressed in order for the programme to be successful,” Dr. Joseph explained.
He added: “I respect the Federation’s right to choose the leadership of the programme. I made some requests that I believed the programme needed to have in order to achieve its potential. At the end of the day, my job as a coach is to always set higher expectations for the programme. This sometimes means challenging the status quo. Perhaps I moved too quickly for the current leadership of the GFF.”
The overseas-based coach, who serves as vice-president of student affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, felt the current Women’s programme is now in a better shape than he met it four years ago.
“In the CONCACAF Qualifiers we were undefeated in the six games we played. We came 90 seconds away from making it to the final eight. The U-20 programme went all the way to the quarter-finals and were very successful in advancing out of their pool,” he stated.
“Several new coaches and players were recruited and most importantly, the level of football played by the domestic based players has improved significantly over the past four years. I feel like we left the program better than we found it.
“It has been a great privilege and an honour to serve the programme and I wish the next coach and the GFF all the best as they move forward with the programme,” Dr. Joseph concluded.
‘We must now build’
In the GFF press release, President Wayne Forde outlined that the aim now is to build on the gains made under Dr. Joseph’s tenure.
“We are deeply grateful for the unwavering commitment, professionalism and humility that Dr. Joseph brought to this role,” Forde stated.
“We are delighted with the progress the Lady Jags made during his memorable tenure. His achievements have created the foundations for Guyana to become a true powerhouse of women’s football in the Caribbean region in the coming years.”
“The conclusion of the Lady Jags’ 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification campaign brought an end to a remarkable cycle in the women’s programme. We must now build on this as we plan for a new cycle and a brighter future,” Forde added.
The Lady Jags performed admirably in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship qualification rounds – the first step towards the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – finishing second in a tough qualification group featuring Trinidad and Tobago and Nicaragua.
The Jags were just seconds away from reaching the CONCACAF W Championship in their final qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago before the hosts scored a last-gasp equaliser to snatch the group’s only qualification spot.