Jamal Shabazz is the new St Lucia, football coach. He follows in the footsteps of his compatriot Russell Latapy who gave up coaching in T&T to pick up a more lucrative offer in Barbados recently.
Shabazz was coach of the T&T's Women's teams, but he stepped down to return to his club team Morvant Caledonia United in the T&T Pro League. Yesterday however word spread that Shabazz, a former Guyana National team coach, had signed on the dotted line on a two-year deal.
Contacted Shabazz confirmed the appointment, saying he is excited to take up the new challenge, given his coaching stints with Guyana and T&T.
"It's a new project with the St Lucia people and certainly something I look forward to," Shabazz said. He added, "As a devout Muslim this new opportunity is even more significant for me, as it comes during the holy month of Ramadan." Shabazz is scheduled to begin work on the national team later this week.
According to Shabazz, "Since Calypsonian Stalin sang the song Caribbean Man, I have always shared that view, and football is an opportunity for me to express myself in that way ideologically."
Since accepting the coaching job, Shabazz has been warming up with the country's Elite Women's Programme. He said he has been out of touch with coaching so he decided to get his feet wet once again before going to St Lucia.
He replaces Francis “Panko” Mc Donald who managed the St Lucian team, during the Windward Islands Senior Football Tournament and the early stages of the Nation’s League.
President of the St Lucia Football Association Lyndon Cooper made the announcement of Shabazz's appointment and said the T&T coach will bring with him a wealth of technical experience. Cooper meanwhile is set to be given a new mandate by League affiliates on the island and that he plans to take football to higher heights.