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Skeene: TTFA did not follow ideal procedure in hiring Williams as U-20 coach

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) did not follow the ideal procedure in hiring Brian Williams as the National Under-20 Team coach, according to TTFA technical committee chairman, Dexter Skeene.

Photo: New Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: New Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Williams, who last coached a national youth team in 2006, was unveiled yesterday as the TTFA’s second coaching appointment and the man charged with leading the junior national team to the Korea Republic 2017 World Under-20 Championship.

Williams is the current under-16 coach at the W Connection football club, which is owned by TTFA president David John-Williams.

However, Skeene, who is also the Pro League CEO, said the technical committee never interviewed coaches for the job or created a shortlist.

Instead, technical committee member Muhammad Isa, according to Skeene, proposed Williams while the committee was told that, due to financial constraints and the timing of the Caribbean Under-20 Championship, there was no time to consider anyone else.

And that was that.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (far right) holds court with (from left) TTFA interim general secretary Azaad Khan, president David John-Williams, former technical advisor Muhammad Isa and TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis in December 2015. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (far right) holds court with (from left) TTFA interim general secretary Azaad Khan, president David John-Williams, former technical advisor Muhammad Isa and TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis in December 2015.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“At present, there are severe financial constrains that the TTFA are working under,” Skeene told Wired868. “So they say they have no money to pay coaches and they are looking at people who can be seconded from their jobs, so we won’t have to pay them.

“Added to that, the committee was told there was no time (to interview other coaches) because the tournament was in June and it is a short term appointment.”

Williams has been seconded from his job at Petrotrin while his assistant coach, Kerry Jamerson, is a soldier in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. The current National Under-17 Team coach Ken Elie is a retired soldier.

Apart from Williams and Jamerson, the only other coaching appointment of the John-Williams era, Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Richard Hood, is a sergeant in the Guard and Emergency Branch unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

The TTFA hired Hood to replace outgoing coach Randy Waldrum on 13 January 2016, which was before the just-appointed technical committee had even met.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women's National Senior Team and Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team and Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

John-Williams said, at the time, that Hood’s appointment was rushed in the best interest of the “Women Soca Warriors”, who were preparing for their Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying campaign.

“We are doing it in the best interest of the team,” said John-Williams, when Hood was appointed three months ago. “It was a unanimous selection with the executive at the time because the technical committee was not set up and we had to take a decision.

“It sort of went against what I had preached (about leaving committees to do their jobs) but the circumstances demanded that we took a decision.”

The TTFA technical committee comprises: Dexter Skeene (chairman), Dr Alvin Henderson (deputy chairman), Bertille St Clair, Errol Lovell, Jinelle James, Stuart Charles-Fevrier and Muhammad Isa.

Fevrier is the current W Connection head coach.

Photo: DIRECTV W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (standing) points the way for his troops. At his side is current Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams.
Photo: DIRECTV W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (standing) points the way for his troops.
At his side is current Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams.

Yesterday, John-Williams told the TTFA Media that Williams’ appointment was different as it was “approved” by the technical committee.

“We are pleased with the appointments,” said John-Williams. “(…) The good thing about this administration so far is that the technical committee approved the appointments.

“They were given certain guidelines and we have the support of the technical committee and I am happy to make the announcement on behalf of the technical committee.”

Skeene, a former Trinidad and Tobago international with the famous “Strike Squad” team, said he did not think “approved” best described what actually happened.

“I don’t know that I will use that word,” said the Pro League CEO. “In the short term, this guy is willing to do the job for free. But by no means can we go forward like this.”

Photo: Central FC star Ataulla Guerra (centre) takes the 2014/15 Pro League trophy from Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC star Ataulla Guerra (centre) takes the 2014/15 Pro League trophy from Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

He explained that the technical committee has an advisory role in implementing programmes to improve the quality of coaches and recommending coaches for national appointments. But, at present, there was still no procedure in place for this.

“You must put proper procedures in place (because) football is not one person’s own and we have to make it transparent,” said Skeene. “When it comes to the selection of coaches, ideally this must be advertised both locally and overseas, so we can get the best coaches possible with everything being done in a transparent manner…

“(Even if the TTFA cannot pay coaches), we are supposed to get everyone who is willing to work for free and then look at who is the best that is willing to work for free.”

Skeene stressed that Williams was in no way culpable for the issues surrounding his appointment. And he said the technical committee is anxious that a more efficient model is implemented soon.

As is often the case, a shortage of funds is a concern. And Skeene pointed to the pending appointment of Anthony Moore as marketing committee chairman, as key to the football body’s future.

Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with "Soca Warriors" fans after his double set a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with “Soca Warriors” fans after his double set a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“Going forward, if there is no finance we are in a Catch 22 situation where we are looking for people to volunteer,” said Skeene, “and you can’t get the best people that way.

“We have to look at getting the best people in the right places by getting their resumes and going through them and so on.

“It is not about Brian (Williams) really. It is the scenario (and) the whole procedure and operation of the organisation that has to be improved.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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115 comments

  1. Been saying this from the beginning…

  2. It is a fact that football has been and remains in ICU (under the former advisor and now more so the MSYA/Sportt) at the behest of it’s leadership. The mirage of other people’s money in the federation account (if it ever reached in there) is the harsh reality these people can’t come to terms with and admit. From one life support to the next. Football has to be bionic to go thru so much life support and still have a pulse. Even if it’s a faint one. So the positive side is that it is somehow managing to stay alive. If the so called Pro League clubs and the League Administration can bawl out for mercy with the cut in subventions from Sportt that alone speaks volumes. What have they been really doing to be self sufficient over all these years? And unfortunately, it’s these same individuals who are charting the way forward for our footballing future. I’m sorry, but I’m a realist. We need a new crop of visionaries, pioneers, and upwardly mobile individuals to take us over this threshold.

  3. Yup. I was one of those Dion. Ah think ah bounce meh head on that one. Crap – how many years before the next elections?

  4. I do understand that the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) doesn’t plan tournament dates properly but essentially springs them on you.
    At the same time, we know when the various World Cups are carded for and can plan accordingly so as not to be surprised.
    Clearly some planning went into selecting Brian Williams. Because they would have needed to wait for word from Petrotrin that they would second him.
    So that makes the whole time issue seem weak.
    I like Brian and I commend him for his patriotism and hope he does a good job.
    But I’m not happy with the process here.

    • I knew of the June 15th date months ago because I contacted the CFU and asked the Secretary and she told me the U17 and U20 dates. This date was not sprung on anyone. All my contacts in the Jamaica Federation also knew because they have had three U20 camps this year already. These camps included overseas players.

  5. I have been saying this long before the man get hired that he is a dictator with a agenda but everybody saying give the man a chance and they so hasty 2. get rid of Timkee

  6. Lasana Liburd and Keith Clement i want two of u both to come up with some feasible suggestion and plans to run a bankcrupt ttfa!! Right now all i am getting from wired is nake negativity with no solutions plantation style!!!

    • What does inviting people to apply for a job have to do with money Gordon?
      You have got to be joking. People pretend that money is the be all and end all. There is common sense, respect and courtesy before you even reach for your wallet.

    • There were several suggestions in the thread that didn’t involve money. Look closer.

    • my brother all that is crap from ppl that run nothing far least a bankcrupt ttfa check d files all who use to say they doing it for free is millions they claiming now from drivers go up!! So if u have a method to get a competent yet ecomonically viable solution in d short term so b it!! To much negativity in d football give me an update on d cricket board president narine comments give an update on the head less basketball assoication donot kill football please!! For d youths sake if not our own!!

    • Gordon Pierre Curious to know if you think the process to hire new youth coach was within stated TTFA guidelines? Do you think the TTFA president should have open press conferences with various members of the media when making major announcements like this?? Just curious.

    • Gordon, I think you’re talking nonsense here. What does money have to do whether it is good practice to ask people to apply for a job or not?
      The TTFA could have said: All people who don’t mind working for free, please send in your CVs.
      You come in just to disrupt the conversation or what? Lol.
      This has little to do with money. Don’t act as if we have DJW a blank cheque that there would be no problems. That doesn’t make sense.
      Most of the issues so far are not down to money.

    • Brian Jordan d media part i agree with but thats for his media officer to address bc he must b advise that this old press release is a recipe fot diaster press conferences with crisis communication method is the new way especially with social media so widely used and wired breathing down ur neck!lol but seriously right now i am having a serious problem with the negativity coming from these pages let me hear about cummings return to training, shanon gomez settling in d mls, the way abouts of matthew woo ling

    • K understood. I think if we get small things right, more peeps will swing positive. There will always be negative though. There has been constructive criticism in abundance here for sure, but it starts with the President and the administration here in my humble opinion..

    • Gordon Pierre – feedback (constructive and negative) is a gift. The problem is dictators believe their ideas and their way of doing things is always right. As such they often reject the gifts.

    • You want me to forget about selecting a national coach with no tender and talk about the whereabouts of Matthew Woo Ling?
      You have to be joking yes.
      It isn’t my job to give out back rubs or look the other way. You will always be disappointed if that is what you hope to get from me Gordon.

    • i just thought that d progress and good goverance of sport was d mission but i guess good rum shop talk is d real vision

    • Rum shop talk is saying that you have a better chance of getting the best coach for the job if you ask everyone to tender?
      You not serious today yes Gordon. Even the technical committee chairman said that is what should be happening.

    • Gordon Pierre you sound as if you’re listing the duties of the TTFA media officer bro lol

    • Gordon saying things not even DJW would dare say. Lol. Write on Matthew Woo Ling’s whereabouts instead of the way a national coach is selected?! Hahaha.

    • James Saunders and Lasana Liburd i can not remember Shawn Cooper Mike Mc Commie, Matarana,phsiter and the list go one tendering just using examples of postive things that happening in football that could b highlighted but negativity sells so put d dead body on the front page!!

    • You are absolutely wrong again Gordon. Pfister’s job came after a tender that also include the likes of Erwin Koeman. Pellerud also got his job by tender. And he did well didn’t he?
      And that is not to say we should keep doing the wrong thing, if we know it to be the wrong thing.
      But keep digging…

  7. Mr Gibbons …..to fix sports all sports and good governance are important…that lobby Group must comprise persons from all sports or at least a cross section of T&T;’s sporting landscape……I like your idea..

  8. I think Dexter is just being honest rather than making excuses. Also congratulations to Brian as a patriot I hope he excels in the position. I however cannot accept the TTFA’s statement about limited time to follow the proper procedure as they would have been aware of this tournament months in advance and even if they for some reason could only now make a decision, it only takes one meeting of the committee or emails to hash out recommendations for the post and a day to interview the candidates in this modern society in which we live.
    Further to that I am concerned that coach Hart has no input in the technical committee or in the hiring and appointment of national coaches, after all aren’t the youth teams a feeder to the senior national team? Perhaps if time was critical in selecting a candidate, why wasn’t Assistant coach Derek King or Hutson Charles summoned (No disrespect to Williams) it would seem more logical.

  9. I think Dexter is just being honest rather than making excuses. Also congratulations to Brian as a patriot I hope he excels in the position. I however cannot accept the TTFA’s statement about limited time to follow the proper procedure as they would have been aware of this tournament months in advance and even if they for some reason could only now make a decision, it only takes one meeting of the committee or emails to hash out recommendations for the post and a day to interview the candidates in this modern society in which we live.
    Further to that I am concerned that coach Hart has no input in the technical committee or in the hiring and appointment of national coaches, after all aren’t the youth teams a feeder to the senior national team? Perhaps if time was critical in selecting a candidate, why wasn’t Assistant coach Derek King or Hutson Charles summoned (No disrespect to Williams) it would seem more logical.

  10. Nuff said Earl …cause in the professional world they would starve ,even if they kiss cheeks

  11. Wasn’t Brian Williams an excellent defender in the Strike Squad?

  12. It seems like alyuh doesn’t be listening to me or what eh, well let me say it for the last time eh, we have alot of bootleg coaches in our sweet country especially the names Mr. Live Wire mentioned eh, because we don’t have a real professional league with plenty crowd supporters where our bootleg coaches are in the trenches every time the same like in the America and other real professional leagues abroad to really prove themselves, not even Gally Cummings who alyuh thought was a really great coach cudda get a job outside of our sweet country eh, after he got fired by the corrupted Jack Warner and the only reason why my foreign base Coach Stephen Hart is so successful so far it is because he came from a real football country Canada and also traveled to other parts of the World while pursuing his passion and coaching career, and as I speak we also have some other foreign base Trini coaches like Dennis Lawrence, Brian Haynes, Kurtwyn Baird, Earl Carter, Russell Latapy – The Little Magician all who will be following in the foot- steps of my foreign base Trini Coach Stephen Hart once they all continue on the right track and continue proving themselves and I done talk. Them really good yes.

  13. In my humble opinion it’s high time some people in this chat start a lobby group similar to “Fixing T&T”, maybe “Fixing Football”, because quite frankly we are constantly making backward steps in moving forward. Opportunists are constantly being elected at all levels due to a lack of quality substantiative opposition for whatever reason. We need to address the real issues.

    • Agreed. I would go a step further to say “Fixing Sport”

    • ..Such a group could be a lobby voice but ultimately would not resolve the central issues of grassroots democracy and peoper representation within football and sport. It is for the CLUBS – the electorate- to decide what they want for their sport and for themselves. ONLY the clubs could drive football and sport forward. And for that to happen the clubs must adopt a much broader and long term philosophy and vision than they have shown themselves capable of. The old cliche is true. People get the government they deserve. This will change when clubs stop thinking only of coming first and start thinking about football/sport coming first..

    • It must start
      somewhere and no one can predict where such a group’s influence will end up.

    • I think it’s a good start. We can’t continue to complain and do nothing while sport suffers. Someone needs to stand up, gather like-minded ppl together and do something. It may not change instantly but it’s a start

    • Mr. Keith Look Loy you have a valid point also. I agree it starts with proper education and habits at the grassroots and club level that ultimately selects these so called leaders. For too long most of these people/clubs are “selling out” and selling themselves short for a piece of change or some other benefit/reward promised in return for support or it’s their partner running for elections. So let’s start lobbying these clubs and grassroots entities to strive for quality and excellence in all endeavors. The “parasite syndrome” must end at some point.

  14. Leadership and teamwork need to be an essential part of our educational curricula.

  15. Where have all the good leaders gone? Only dictators, selfish, paranoid, and corrupt officials leading our organizations.

  16. DJW reign is lookin more like a self serving shit show with every passing day

  17. Why these administrators believe that are above the Rules, Laws and Constitution that govern how their sport shall be managed. I believe that they do it because they surround themselves with “YES MEN & DASH BOARD PUPPIES” I applaud Mr Skeene for his observation on the matter….

  18. Glad Dexter Skeene doesn’t appear to be a rubber stamp

  19. What’s “ideal procedure”, is that a Trinidadian term?

    I’ve heard of proper and improper procedures, but never ideal procedures!

  20. Good coaches falling victim to such policies it seems as though it is a strike sauard police that because you was a strike aauard player you must be a national coach example after being replaced as defence force head coach kerry jamerson when last was he envolved in any high level coaching to be a national assistance coach

  21. W-CONNECTION running the football not on the field but from behind the office door …..What a thing….Them really good ….yes…

  22. I had this same conversation with coach Jamal in a similar post where the issue of process was discussed ..the spirit of confusion lurks in this organisation and also i n football as a fraternity we have younger and much more qualified coaches especially from the scientific perspective …search them out cause in Trinidad and Tobago we have no real structure

    • Our sweet country have more qualified coaches than the ones that they are always recycling eh, well I will definitely will like to meet them eh.

    • I think our coaches don’t travel enough and need to see more football off the island.
      We are stuck in a rut. But there are some coaches with ability who haven’t gotten a chance yet.

    • It’s an old boys fraternity of North South zone rivalry in the technical sense of things ..lisana on a global scale ,nobody outside of Stephen Hart in Trinidad would get any typa professional coaching contract in the premeirship la liga bundis etc…we need younger coaches becoming internationally exposed with a scientific background ..Jack pulled his strings in that time ,not again

    • There are a few coaches here who I am convinced would thrive in the right environment.
      Like Angus Eve, Dale Saunders, Anthony Streete, Clayton Morris, etc. The TTFA should be looking for ways to help get exposure just like the players.

    • Lisana it’s my firm belief if it going to be an internationally competitive manager ,or coach ,just as a top players carreer as in Levi dwighf etc you must be exsposed in your formative development to high levels of management .. Let’s face it ,they are good coaches ,but to compete against coaches who come from real structural development and professional environment ,we have more to learn ..Angus should not be coaching at the pro level here

    • Well, since coaches can go on for much longer than players once old dogs are willing to learn new tricks… I think they can move as elder statesmen too. Like Jamaal Shabazz, for instance.
      But they must be willing to travel at some point.

    • True ,when u have to manage a player stock of 200 million dollars of board and fan investment ,winninig is everything ..at the highest level

    • Yeah. You need an environment where you have to find a way to win regardless. And then let the cream rise to the top.
      Although this is for the adult game. The junior game should be more about development.

    • Lisana I rather be a caddy to a real professional or a janitor in a real professional environment ,than to be a head coach in an unprofessional eat ah food culture

    • its the culture here who really knows about being professional a lot of these guys have no clue about what it takes 2 be a professional so how can they translate their caoching to be that way

  23. In the 1980s, there were national teams from under-14 all the way to senior level. And they all travelled and played games.
    And each zone–east, north, south, etc–had all star teams from under-14 go up.
    That is the story of the era that Latapy, Sherwood, Yorke, Dwarika, Nixon, Kelvin, Stern, etc came from.
    That was disbanded under Camps. And it steadily got worse.
    I feel a little sorry for the kids today who don’t have that kind of infrastructure.

  24. Not gonna get into the hiring part etc. Williams is in the same situation he was in years ago. No team, and having to start from scratch 1 year before a WC. The team of 10 years ago had 7 current MNT players, and at least 2 more who have played for the MNT. The problem will never really be the quality of the players, but the preparation (which was supposed to begin a couple years ago). We saw it from the u15 team that played in 2 WC. They were together from u15 level, and played internationals regularly. 10 years ago there were also over 12 players who played in the TTPL on the u20 team. We still did not qualify.

  25. I told u so..but Brian is a patriot and deserves a chance …last chance .same sh#@ different day ..

  26. I doh mean to play devil’s advocate here but if they’re short of money …still owing current coaches then how can they go out and recruit the best coaches? How will they pay them? Brian is not a bad coach ….if they get him some resources and games things are possible. Are they not?

  27. Lasana Liburd – there’s a pattern developing with the good TTFA president. He seems to want to make all hiring decisions within the TTFA. He sets up shell committees and conveniently uses the excuse of time constraints to justify bypassing or side-stepping them. Doesn’t his actions remind you of that special “friend” of yours – the former Special Advisor to the TTFA?

  28. “Ideal procedure?”
    There’s a procedure. It’s either it was followed or it wasn’t. And if you’re really the chair of your committee in a substantive way, you don’t make excuses for why you’re not doing your job in a substantive manner and allowing others to dictate.
    Whether the TTFA has money or not is irrelevant. You advertise the job and tell ppl we really don’t have money to pay and then whoever is the best of those willing to serve for free you hire.
    But this thing about ideal procedure followed by excuses for not doing the job as you should is just PR nonsense intended to nullify any claims that DJW is usurping the authority of the respective committees.
    Why is Issa the one recruiting the W connection U-16 coach? How does he know that Williams would be willing to work for free? What is Issa to DJW? Which coach did Skeene or anybody else on the technical committee approach and ask to work for free? Who decided that the coach would have to work for free? Was that a unilateral or committee decision?
    Always so many questions with these people…

  29. so if I get a piper 2 pay my salary I can coach the national snr team

  30. You think Skeene followed the line? My impression was he just gave an honest account. I really have little idea about TTFA’s finances at the moment. A lot is really being kept under wraps.

  31. Williams don’t study them pick yuh South people eh ???

  32. At least the technical committee chairman has sight of what best case scenario should be. I have to take heart from that yes.

  33. Is the new general secretary working for free too btw? Just curious…

  34. you get what you pay for….. #timkeebrother

  35. Savitri Maharaj and David Gintoki Aguillera alyuh see what I was telling both of you on my post eh, the coaches are coaching for free, hence the reason why the fellas from the Army and Police always getting hired to Coach our National teams eh, and this is the reason why our national youth teams are always loosing when they play against the real foreign base professional coaches eh. Them really good yes.

  36. Can’t help but wonder if this was a planned rebuttal to what was published yesterday…
    Reads like an attempt at damage control to me.

  37. I stayed quiet and patient for someone to blow this decision Brian Williams once held a National youth job and was unsuccessful why isn’t Angus Eve given a chance or Even TTravis Mulraine New blood is needed in Trinidad And Tobago football for youth development Williams holds the position as head coach of the Connection U-16 Team with an amazing roster but they are 5 th in the Youth Pro league season it’s time they spread the jobs around be fair and hire people on qualifications and not who was former players or someone who worked at the President Organization.

  38. ..Brian is my friend. I called him to extend congratulations immediately I learned of his appoinrment. But the excuses trotted out by the technical committee chair are rubbish. Nor is the rest of the committee to be exonerated. They are experienced people. This tournament is scheduled. The new TTFA administration knew or should have known months ago that they needed to appoint a technical staff for the team. Money available or not, if the new heads are to distinguish themselves in office they must pass the litmus test of transparent appointments. They are failing on this and other counts. All of that said, good luck to Brian and his team..

  39. Buh wah trouble is this eh, like the president of the TTFA is really a dictator eh. Them really good yes.

  40. “The good thing about this administration so far is that the technical committee approved the appointments.” But they didn’t. Why would he say that?